By – Anita Jhunjhunwala Mukerjee, AANA Silicon Valley
Baylands Park on 14th July, 2013 was unrecognizable. The sprawling green fields were dotted with tents – not 10 or 20 but more than 100 of them in a mammoth semi-circle. On one such tent hung the large IISc AANA banner. Several of us, tired after the long walkathon, were hanging around relaxing, catching up when someone walked up to us and asked, “Is this IISc Bangalore association”? “Yes it is. Are you an Alumni?”. “No but my 91 year old father is”. Stunned, one of us mouthed, “Where is he”? “At home”? “In India”? “No, he lives with us here”, replied the gentleman. “Wow!” was the spontaneous response. “Can he come to our events”? “Sure, he would love to”. Not believing our good luck (yes, finally here was the proof why we had to participate in an event like Sevathon).
Five months later on Dec 15, keeping his promise, Satish brought his father, Mr. Nagraj Bhargava, a nonagenarian, to our potluck. The veteran IIScian enthralled us with stories of pre- independence IISc. His hearing was not so good and Satish acted as the interpreter reiterating our questions to him. It was heartening to hear how Bhargava learned to write by using his finger on sand (yes, blackboards or slates were not available — forget about paper). This was certainly a reality check for our spoiled generation. That Indians were celebrating 26th Jan as the Republic day during his time in the Institute (1944-47) long before the actual day in 1950 came as a big surprise! And all the efforts in planning and executing the event became worthwhile when Nagraj shared, “Special thanks from me and my son Satish for honouring an old IIScian. I’ll cherish the memory”.

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