This was the moment everybody knew was going to happen eventually, but dreaded. The time to say goodbye to our batchmates, once again. "Talofa" to all.
After four days of amazing and nostalgic moments catching up with our batchmates, some of whom we hadn't seen in more than 17 years and walking down memory lane with them, it was finally time to get back to our jobs, our wives, our lives.
There was this somber atmosphere as we all walked in to have our last breakfast at the resort. On the bright side, the food was excellent as usual, offering a vast variety of options.
Above, you can see the "chicken curry" that I was talking about in my Reunion - Day 3 post. :D
Decided to have South Indian for the last breakfast.
And then we all headed back to our cottages to pack. The resort bellboys turned up to carry our luggage up to the reception, which was quite a relief because the entire resort was on a steep incline, and our particular cottage was way at the bottom.
I bid farewell to the little fishes as well :)
I have already shared many photos of our resort in my earlier posts, but I will say it here again - If ever you go to Yercaud for a weekend break and especially if you are in a large group, do give "Living Art Resort – La' Four Seasons" a try. Here are their TripAdvisor and MMT pages.
Though I must admit, the name is grammatically wrong :P It cannot be "La' Four Seasons" because a hotel is masculine in French, so it should be "Le", and even if it's taking the English name of the hotel literally, it should still be "Le". Secondly, the apostrophe should not be used because "F" is not a vowel, and neither is "Seasons". And thirdly, even if it is a vowel and the apostrophe is used (for example, the "h" in hotel is treated as a vowel), then the correct usage is L' and not Le' or La'. Ahhh… FINALLY, I have put to good use the French I studied in Montfort for 6 damn years. I was wondering when I would do that :D :P
All silliness aside, the place was a wonderful paradise - secluded and quiet. The only negative point about it was that there were no cell-phone receptions except BSNL (which could actually be a good thing if what you're looking for is a peaceful weekend away from the nagging missus :P )
And special thanks to Kamalesh, Kicha and the others once again for arranging this resort. We booked well in advance, and the cottage costs around 6000 per night but we got it at a good discount because of our advance booking and the fact that we had taken the entire place. Later, many batches offered the management more money, but we had already sealed the deal by then.
Soon, everybody started leaving one by one…
We were the last batch to leave and we took one last selfie together…
After that, we were on our way back to Bangalore. Travelling down the winding Yercaud road was definitely something we were all going to miss so badly… The road to our school that had crafted us and molded us, it was a journey we intended to take over and over again in the next few years.
Once we were back at the Salem-Bangalore Expressway, things started becoming a bit normal…
We stopped on the way to have some fresh coconut water, mainly to detox from the four nights of wild party and binge drinking :D
We saw a horrible road accident on the way, which I don't want to talk about here… All traffic was diverted to the same lane for some time…
We didn't stop on the way for lunch because our dear friend Ujjal was adamant on eating at "Empire", his favorite joint when he was in Bangalore 10+ years ago…
Finally we reached Empire @ Bangalore around 4PM to have a very late lunch :D But of course, the food wasn't disappointing.
We headed to our OYO room after we bid farewell to Nikhil, Vinay and Sriram. Vinay's driver was waiting for us at Bangalore the entire time we were in Yercaud, as he had to drive him back to Coorg. So much thanks to Vinay for the wonderful road-trip. We could have booked a cab or something, but travelling together, just us, made it even more memorable. And bastard refused to accept any payment for fuel for the entire back-and-forth trip. I promised to give him a royal treatment if he ever landed up in Pune. He saw us off till our OYO room.
Great place indeed, and very economical at around 1k per head (though one must book in advance to avail of the good discounts and offers. I booked this room around 2 days earlier through their mobile app).
After that, it was just Ujjal and me. Ujjal's bro Lakhana who was supposed to join us, was with his own batchmates and so we went to meet my dear friend Cherrie who had invited us over for dinner.
Though Cherrie and I had been friends for a long time, I never got an opportunity to meet her husband or her new daughter, and I was really looking forward to meeting them both. Turned out, the hubby was a Coimbatore Engineer graduate just like me, and we hit off so well the moment we met.
And of course it was wonderful meeting the ever lovely Faith. Last year, she had beaten all contestants, including my niece, at a local TV channel competition and I was floored by her awesome talent.
I sent our pics to our Mizo Bloggers whatsapp group, and in a way this was also like another reunion because it had been a really long time since we last met. Cherrie blogs at Daydreambeliever, so do give her blog some love.
We spoke about various topics ranging from our experience during the reunion to cultural identities and traditional clashes, you know, typical stuff bloggers talk about when they meet :D
The dinner was awesome, and Ujjal really enjoyed the authentic Mizo dish as well.
It was a little bit difficult finding a cab at 1:30 in the morning… 1:30 might seem late, but thankfully, Cherrie and her hubby were going through the pangs of having a new born baby, the incessant late night wake up calls and stuff :D
Anyway, we managed to reach our OYO room, and Lakhana was already there, sleeping.
The next morning, we had the complimentary breakfast provided by OYO, and then packed and left for the airport. I had booked a flight to Pune around the same time Ujjal and Lakhana's flight was to depart from Bangalore, so that we could all travel to the airport together.
Once we were through security check-in, we decided to have lunch at "Alta Vita", a renowned Italian restaurant. The food was great, though quite expensive.
Once we were done with our lunch, it was time for Ujjal and Lakhana to head back to Arunachal Pradesh. We bid each other farewell, and then I proceeded towards my Pune flight terminal.
During my flight back to Pune, I read Lovekush's novel that I bought at the Centenary Sports Day. Lovekush Singhania is an alumnus of Montfort from the 2004 batch, and he had recently published a novel based on his life in Montfort, entitled "From Nobody To Best Buddy".
He even personally signed the copy I bought, as he recognized me immediately :)
Well… to be frank… urrrmmmm… I read half the novel during my short flight back to Pune, and I must confess… it was a good and entertaining read, but I'm not sure how well it would do… I mean if you like Chetan Bhagat's novels, then yeah, this will be a book you'll enjoy reading. But to me, personally, I think it lacked a certain depth. By that, I don't mean I was expecting a Leo Tolstoy or a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie book. As a Monfortian, I really liked the colloquial expressions used, like for example, "what man, waste fellow. We are seniors da." as it brought back a lot of memories, but I'm not sure how others who have never used such lingo may feel about it.
And I liked the way some names were changed (maybe because of copyright issues), like Montfort school became Beaumont school, Yercaud became Ooty, and the three houses - Montfort, Partrick and Garbriel became Beaumont, Parker and Gregory. But in the first few chapters, I felt too many characters were being introduced simultaneously all at once. It was a bit hard trying to keep up with all the different characters. And we weren't given much background information and build-up to some characters, especially the important ones like Ram (suddenly, out of nowhere, they became close friends). Small things like that.
I know, in a residential boarding school, it's going to be hard to write only about a few characters, because in reality we all mixed with everybody. But take for example books like the Malory Towers series. Very simple and clear, and we all loved such novels back when we were kids. (In Lovekush's defense, it would be fair to note that each Malory Towers book was one term only, whereas in his book, Lovekush covered all terms from class 5 to 12, hence the reason why some might find the book moving a bit too fast).
Haha, ok I think I am nitpicking here. All in all, "From Nobody To Best Buddy" is a great novel, and you'll love it, especially if you were brought up in a residential boarding school. Here are the links on Amazon and Flipkart, do give it a try. My best wishes to Lovekush and congratulating him once more for publishing a novel, something that most of us are unable to do. Hoping to read such novels from him in the future.
Soon, I was back in Pune… *sigh*
Another book I bought during our Reunion slash Centenary Sports Day was this awesome research publication entitled "The Magnificent Shevaroys". It is compiled and written by Kamalesh's uncle, and it contains extremely rare old photos of the Shevaroy Hills and history of the first European settlers and how they started setting up schools like SHY and Montfort etc.
Cost a cool 1500 bucks, but it is definitely worth it.
And with that, my entire Reunion saga ended. Six days of extreme fun and emotional joyrides.
Though I had been thanking a lot of my batchmates for the wonderful experience, I would also like to thank my organization for this. Nobody knows this, but when I left for the reunion, we were RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of a game launch! We were just about to release Salman Khan's official game "Being SalMan" (which has just been launched now) and nobody was allowed to take a leave the past 1 month, and many of us worked overnight as well. And being the Game Designer, it looked like it would be impossible for me to attend the reunion. But my Product Manager and the higher authorities knew how much I had been planning and looking forward to the reunion, and so that was how I could make it for the reunion.
So, big hugs and thanx to them.
Will post more about our game in the next blog post. Until then, cheers everyone, and Happy Independence Day! :)