Post from Vijay Gupta

Most of you on this thread are very young and may not know me.  I was at IIT Bombay H7 from 1980-1985, in the last 5-year batch, played hockey all 5 years, and served as captain and secretary as well.  I have very fond memories of Appaji and I wondered if something through Skype could be arranged in case there is a party for him.

I was from Delhi and was from the last 5 years batch but could not get into IIT Delhi first time around so came to IIT Bombay.  Next year IIT changed to 4-year program and I gave JEE again and could have got anything at IIT Delhi.  I remember Appaji sending then our Hockey Golie Satish Rahi also from Delhi to my IIT Delhi counseling and making sure that I did not fill out any choices as he did not want me to leave the IIT Bombay hockey team.  It is amazing that against everyone’s wishes, including my parents (as my home was literally 5 minutes waking distance from IIT Delhi), this actually happened in that I had to turn in a blank ranking form!  Rest is history.  This was probably the best decision I have made in life thanks to Appaji.  Living in a place where I did not anybody and with no cell phones and internet connect those days made my personality evolve in a fairly significant way.  I think that aspect has carried through more than any technical IIT education in my life.  He taught us discipline and value of being a complete human.

There are way too many stories from our IIT meets some of which I can tell you will be hard to beat, including one, where the night before our first game at the IIT Kharagpur meet, half of the team went to Calcutta.  Missing the last local train and then hitch-hiking an express train by sitting in the guard compartment after generously bribing him to arrive at the Kharagpur station at 3 AM and literally giving Appaji a heart attack was something that cannot go out of my system.  Most amazing was how Appaji handled all of us in a calm and gentle way knowing we had a game in few hours.  This taught a very valuable life lesson but displayed the enormity of Appaji’s personality.

Anyway I can go on and on.  All I can say is that you all look very sharp in the photos.

All the best,

Vijay Gupta