Wow, We Did it!
The first kodi meeting in Dallas went very well, attended by about 28 alumni from 76 batch to 92 batch, on the main day and couple of more people found out about it and joined the next day.
Kodi spirit was at it's high tide. It was amazing the way people came together and contributed to the success of this event.
* Hazarath Naidu spent several hours preparing a slide show with a large number of pictures and was taking us back in time to the days of school.
* Tej, Sridhar, Ramnath and Vivek brought everything needed for the event and timely. T-Shirts came in two boxes and Vivek brought those heavy boxes in.
* Siva was solving problem at kodi speed - Well, we did not have a power and speaker in the room. Hazrath and Siva went to a contact Hazarath had and Siva knew what he needed. They both carried a really heavy speaker from one end of the convention center to the other (quite far). Siva also brought wireless microphones and equipment needed.
* Many folks including Rajasekhar, Venki, Chakrapani and others (thanks to every one who pitched in - even though, my memory is bad and unable to list everyones name) in putting up the signs, t-shirt folded and finding creative solutions to make it look better.
* Thanks to Mohan for Video, Sridhar, Siva and many others who took pictures and posted them online.
* Though the only Female student from our school, Meera wore a saree of our uniform color and joined our meeting.
* I will leave the details of the meeting as it's clear by viewing the video. Most of the video is captured except for a minor portion of Siva Prasad's talk.
* The one person I wanted to meet but missed is Jayasimha - he was busy with the Nata Event. Oh well, may be we are destinted to meet next time.
* My travel was pretty eventful - I went to New york two days prior to the kodi meeting. I met with Venkat Sreeram (he could not join us as he was celebrating his 25th anniversary in NJ), two of my classmates Reddeppa and Guna Sekhar. It was good to catch up with them after a very long time.
* The first day
So, the story line (from my perspective... I would love to hear from others)
While preparing for the meeting I had a good feeling and was anticipating about 50 alumni joining. When I came to know of Hanumantha Reddy sir, I felt really good that we are going to have a teacher on site.
I had to go to New York on Wednesday and Thursday and it kind of worked very well for me to leave New york early in the morning on Friday. My flight though bumpy on the way, it was on time (or a bit early). Got the hotel and was able to early check in at 10:00 - couldn't believe they allowed it. The earliest I ever was able to check in, was about 12:00 noon, that too when I had the gold level frequent stay rewards memberships.
On the way was catching up on the messages and was wondering if technology is a boon or curse now. I was juggling between Phone calls, Whatsapp calls, whatsapp messages (in more than one channel), regular texts and finally emails, and was attempting to answer as many questions as possible or connect them with other Alumni. Then, I thought I will spend some time on my presentation - I had briefly worked on it earlier but I know it's too rough. While I was spending my time trying to do that, Anand Dasari (91) came by and took me to Lunch. Siva Prasad (1978) arrived just about that time and we three went out for lunch that was actually meant for volunteers of NATA. (Thanks NATA).
It was quite a walk from the convention center to the hotel although, it was all connected. After a couple of minor miscommunications and misdirections found the room we were supposed to meet. Vivek (Principal Narayana Reddy sir's son) came and joined us along with his cousine ( Srinath, I believe) and brought T-shirts - Man as lean as he looks, he is strong to bring them in (He may have had as much will power as his dad.) I walked back to hotel room and found Giri, Mallik, Benarji and Ramesh (all 1983). Then Hazarath Naidu (1981) joined and after a sometime Anand M (1982) joined. Both of them had their families join the Nata convention. So, one after another more people came in. Though Hari kalla was headed to go to China just the next day, he took the time to join us. Then, came mohan reddy (1982), Sridhar Sidda (1984), Ratnakar (1981) and we all had good time catching up while Hazarath naidu presented a picture slide show showing a number of pictures and provided commentary and we all spent quite a bit of time recollecting our memories about our teachers and so many fond moments we have had during the school years. After spending some time, we all thought we will go out for Dinner - though we debated a bit about calling a pizza, or indian food, or drive to a restaurant a 30 minute drive, it was finally decided that we will go out and eat at an indian restaurant about 30 minutes away. Now, the problem - do we have enough cars to get there or should we call cabs. We used our young kodi brains and found enough cars that we all can take. Once we got to the lobby of the hotel (a 20 minutes walk from convention center), We met Kishore and Hanumantha reddy sir in the lobby and also met Madhusudhan reddy (1985), Ramesh (1982). Thanks to the patience of Hazarath's family until then, that there was nothing for them to do, and we were busy with sharing our nostalgic moments. Anand's family and Hazarath family got connected. The age groups of the children were reasonably close, so they bonded right away and the girls even decided to hang out and stay in the hotel itself. Once we got to the restaurant (in different cars and a few minutes apart), some people were getting hungry - it was almost 9:00 pm by then. In between, I missed letting Teja (1989) know that we were headed for the restaurant. Teja lives somewhat close to the restaurant and he called me from the hotel and had to drive back for another 30 minutes patiently. Raj gorla (1989) drove from Houston and came directly to the restaurant. Although the food was OK, the company we had was outstanding. So, we had good time. After the dinner we headed back to the hotel.
Next morning, I and Mohan wore our first APRSK Alumni t-shirts and headed to the convention center. We found the room and left the boxes and such there. Mohan was busy selling the convention tickets we received from Phalgun, though we were only able to sell less than half of what we ordered. Our order was based on the number of people coming in. But some of them had their tickets obtained from elsewhere. By about lunch time, we were feeling good and a number of people have arrived. After lunch, I realized the power points in the room are different and our regular power cables would not work. I was frantically making calls to Phalgun and other NATA convention guys to ge the power cable there. Hazarath and Siva found alternative solution to be effective and got what's needed. A number of alumni members began putting together the signs on the walls and helped setup.
Ramnath brough flowers just in time. We all began signing the globe (with all our names and batches on it with permanent marker.) The presentation started off well at 3:00 pm as planned. Though we made a change in the agenda, I think that was a good move for everyone to express their gratitude towards the school.
We were enjoying the talks so much, we did not mind waiting until about 5 minutes before dinner closing time. We just made into the dining hall just before they were getting ready to close it. We all sat at couple of tables and caught up for a little longer.
After dinner, we went to listen to music program at Nata. The singers were very good and headed back to the hotel.
The next day, we met again at the room and had the privilige of meeting Vinod yadav ( a harvard graduate who decided to drop his wallstreet career to go and assist solving few things in India - including polio, Education for under priviliged etc - Wow - what a courage.)
The afternoon was productive with a good discussion with the alumni and particularly the younger generation. A number of points came out and Giri took great notes and posted it online.
Everyone shared the oneness of kodi feeling they all have in them. Overall, in my opinion it was a great first meeting in USA. My flight out of Dallas was at 6:00 am, so I woke up at about 3:30 am and left for the airport. On the way, there was a car stopped on the road and my cab driver stopped and wanted to check if everything was ok with the other car. The goodness was just flowing there I guess.
On my way back, I tried to spend time to test my memory and recall all names and batches. Looks like I got good marks with names, although, I did not fare as well with batches.
I felt very good meeting all my kodi brothers and I am sure we have the ability to take up challenges and make this world a better place.
By the way, the t-shirts were designed and ordered by Giri (1983) and came out extremely well. We ordered about 100 t-shirts and we have a bunch of them left in various sizes. If anyone wants them, please mail a check to me - Check made out to "APRSK Alumni Foundation" and mailed to "C/O Kiran Ramineni, 1960 Cobblebrook ln, Naperville, IL-60565". The cost of the T-shirt is $11 and expected postage of about $5.00. If you live in Dallas, you can pick them up and avoid the $5.00 postage.