Alumni parties have two kinds of people generally milling around: the first kind is on caffeine – frisky, excited and talkative and the other seems to be on valium – somnolent, quiet and bewildered. These are the Alumni and their Spouses.
Now, who doesn’t look forward to meeting old friends, and classmates and reliving memories? The prospect of an alumni party sends one’s soul tingling with excitement. However, for the spouse, the general feeling is located near the spine and can be loosely defined as ‘shivers’.
I don’t mean to be mean though I often come across that! Let me illustrate through some vignettes on how things unfold.
Vignette 1 : Boy and the Laughing Fit
Alumni and Spouse walk in. Friend is sighted soon. Alumni whispers in Spouse’s ears, giggling with excitement:
“This Boy was the class Romeo. In Std 11, he was dating one girl from Std 10 and another from Std 12… at the same time”
Spouse searches for Boy. Boy is finally sighted, patting his bald head and struggling to button his coat over his belly.
Two more alumni join in and more anecdotes about Boy are shared. It is carefully ensured that the anecdotes are not revealed in totality, lest there be some major national security breach.
“Remember, the neem tree….(uncontrollable laughter)….and that stick (hysterical laughter)………… Oh no, how stupid he was…..(leaning-against-the-table-to-remain-standing-while choking-with laughter)….and then that flower…….(one-of-them-is-now-on-the-floor-with laughter)”
On seeing the Spouse not joining in, usually, one of them stops laughing, wipes his tears and says,
‘Sorry, you must be feeling left out, but this was so funny. Has he NEVER told you about it…???’
Spouse feels inadequate and almost guilty…’Yes, he did mention a neem tree once…’, she tries to fit in.
Vignette 2 : Sensitive Spouse Shares Stories
Alumni and Spouse are enjoying the party. Spouse shares a lot of stories. In these stories, the protagonists are the building, classrooms, classmate, science lab, water tap, sports day and so on.
The stories are shared in great detail, with several names, and key dates interspersed appropriately. Often, few days or weeks or months after the sentimental storytelling, there is a short quiz which lasts shorter than it was intended to. It often contributes towards shortening the marriage itself.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love alumni meets. In fact, I wonder why I have not had one of my own till now. Is it because that all those girls I went to school with have settled in various distant corners of the world? There are some unconfirmed reports that Tasneem is in Greenland.
I met some of my school-friends on Facebook recently. And, I don’t feel like meeting them in person because they all look the same as they did in school! So, either they have morphed their faces on shrunken bodies downloaded from Google in their Facebook photos, like I have, or the worst that I am fearing is true….
C’mon SMC…how about an alumni meet?