Search for a Needle in a Haystack. It is an common axiom, but how do you experience that?
Copyrights acknowledged for above C&H stripMy father (now retired) was a Professor in Agricultural Economics at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) at Coimbatore. There were international students studying there and he had one such student studying/working under him from Nepal doing his Masters. He had come with his wife as well. I recollect faintly that they used to come to our house in the University staff quarters on some occasion or the other. Around 20 years later, after the student had moved back to Nepal after his studies, my parents went on a North India tour of religious places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Varanasi, Prayag etc. This was a few years back. As a part of the tour, there was a visit to Nepal (Kathmandu).
When they were there, my father thought he will check out if he could find his student. All that he knew was the name and that he would be working as an economist. There was no idea of whether he worked for the University there, or the Government or in any other body. With just basic information, he did a name search across directories, called up people, talked to different departments he could have been in and traced him out. The student was so happy on getting to know that my parents were there in Nepal, immediately came down to the place where my parents stayed, along with his wife and children, spent a long time with my parents, got some home made food as well. They gave a gift to my parents before they took leave.
I cannot even imagine doing like what my Appa did there. He did that without the resources that we are all used to like Google blind searches, Names database etc and relied on plain old people networking. When I go out driving to some new location, I don't ask for directions even if we think we are off-way :-), but take a gut-feel route and then try to 'recover'. Though I have a few of my Masters' classmates in Bengaluru, I rarely talk to them and at times feel bad about it. Early this year when I had to go to my company HQ in Sunnyvale, got hold of a few classmates who were around there, met and talked old times. All of us are settled in our own ways and in our own cocoons.
Appa goes every year with Amma to the University Pensioners Association meeting that is held yearly where it is a kind of re-union and they get to network again with people they knew well for lots of years. This year, they went there a couple or so months back and there are large portrait photographs as memories in front of the landmark building at Coimbatore, with those who had come in there with their spouses.
Hats off for an attitude and network like that and to Appa and Amma for all the wonderful memories.