IHM Mumbai’s Platinum Jubilee Through My Eyes

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IHM Mumbai’s Platinum Jubilee Through My Eyes

The Platinum Jubilee celebration of IHM Mumbai on February 17, 2024, was not just a commemorative event; it was a deeply personal and nostalgic journey for me. Having embarked on my hospitality education in 1994 and graduating in 1997, IHM Mumbai holds a special place in my heart, and this celebration was a cherished opportunity to relive the magic of those formative years.

As I entered the hall, the air was buzzing with excitement. It was more than a celebration; it was a reunion with professors, college staff, batchmates, seniors, juniors, and even students whom I once had the privilege of teaching from 2001 to 2007. Each face held a story, a shared memory, and the joy of reconnection was palpable.

The celebration was a testament to the enduring legacy. IHM Mumbai organised a memorable event, bringing together generations of students who have walked the halls of what we affectionately called the ‘Dadar Catering College’. The hall at the NESCO exhibition centre, echoed with laughter, hugs, and the exchanging of stories. The camaraderie among the alumni was heartwarming, making the years in between feel like a fleeting moment. Our alma mater had not only equipped us with knowledge and skills but had also built bonds that time couldn’t erase. Seventy years of graduates, scattered globally, converged at this celebration, each contributing to the hospitality industry in their unique way. As the evening unfolded, it became evident that IHM Mumbai was not just an alma mater; it was a family, a community, an emotion – connected by a shared commitment to excellence. With our college song in our hearts,’ Enter to learn go forth to serve’.

Looking back at my journey, I couldn’t help but express gratitude to my parents, who stood by my decision to pursue hotel management back then. I felt blessed to have them and my friend Meera Nair with me.The felicitation with the ‘Achiever’s Award’ was an unexpected honour, acknowledging the twists and turns of my career and the passion that led me to this industry. Throughout the evening, I felt a deep appreciation for the mentors who guided me over the years and the institution that shaped my professional journey. I realised that life unfolded naturally, and the recognition from my alma mater was a humbling acknowledgment of the path I’ve taken professionally.

With the award in my hand gratitude filled my heart towards my organisation and its management for their unwavering support. Standing amidst the jubilant crowd, I felt a renewed sense of responsibility and a desire to give back to the fraternity that had played such a vital role in shaping my journey. IWH was created with the vision to amplify the platform for Indian women working in the hospitality industry globally to reach their fullest potential by sharing knowledge and mentoring future leaders.

The evening unfolded with great arrangements, thanks to the efforts of Principal Dr. Nisheeth Srivastava and his dedicated team, including professors, admin staff, and students. The atmosphere was vibrant, filled with laughter and the warmth of shared experiences. The food, drinks, and entertainment were top-notch, creating an unforgettable setting for the celebration. The chief guest at the event was Mr. Amitabh Kant, Sherpa for G-20, Mrs. Jai Shree Bhoj, IAS. The guest of honour for the evening was Mr. Nakul Anand, Executive Director of ITC Hotels. Their distinguished presence added a layer of significance to the Platinum Jubilee celebration, underscoring the event’s prestige and recognition within the industry. Alumni were represented well by Sameer Sud and Nitin Nagrale, who contributed towards the event. Abhijeet Sawant, the winner of Indian Idol, and his band made it truly an entertaining evening.

My batchmates, Amita Karve Godbole, a Bharatanatyam danseuse, and Piyal Barua, a singer, brought that touch of glamour and talent to the event. Amita’s mesmerising Bharatanatyam performances transported us to a world of grace and tradition, while Piyal’s renditions of Hindi Bollywood melodies brought back memories of our times at IHM Mumbai. The camaraderie among my batchmates was on full display as we took the stage, joining Piyal is his finale song; creating moments that will be etched in our memories forever. It was a joyous moment where talent, nostalgia, and celebration converged to make the Platinum Jubilee an exceptional event.

It was a mini reunion for our batch the class of 1997, It brought back so many memories; Terence Lewis, a celebrity today, was once my college table partner for Food Production practicals back in college. We excelled in that subject, an ironic twist as I never set foot in the kitchen, and he never pursued a career in the hotel industry. Fast forward 26 years to 2024, and we met at our college’s Platinum Jubilee to receive the ‘Achievers Award.’ The juxtaposition of our journeys was evident – I earned my Doctorate in Hospitality Management, while Terence received an Honorary Doctorate in Performing Arts, holding a Guinness World Record in dance.  Witnessing Terence pursue his passion with such success is a joy, we batchmates couldn’t be prouder. It’s a testament to the diverse paths our batch has taken, and reconnecting with everyone at this event was truly heartwarming.

Archana and Vishal Bhandari flew in from the US for the function, adding an international touch to the batch reunion. My roommate Snehal and her husband Nitin Welde, along with another hostel mate Amita and her husband Sachin Godbole, as well as Saurabh Anand who made the journey from Pune. Piyal Barua joined us from Hyderabad, while the Delhi boys, Vineet Mishra and Rishi Raj Singh, brought their energetic spirit. Alok and his wife Ruchi Kaul, Ajesh, Siddharth Sathe, Prachi Mayekar, Kunal Kanera, Nilesh, and Arati Fedane represented our Mumbai contingent. This was truly a fun and memorable gathering of friends from across the globe and different corners of India. The time was hardly enough to catch up but I am sure there will be a reunion coming up soon, since the nostalgia just got refreshed!

Conversations with professors, catching up with seniors and juniors, and witnessing the progress of the students I once taught was truly rewarding. I also received a thoughtful and heartwarming gift—a laughing Buddha—from one of my former students Manoj Kamble of the 2003 batch, which I will treasure; and it sits on my office table among other such tokens I received over the years. This batch also had two celebrities Karan Singh Grover and Nandish Singh Sandhu, could see them as one among their batchmates and Karan had his usual sense of humour on display. It was wonderful catching up. In fact, I remember every student I taught over the years as they were in college… I am pleasantly surprised by my memory!

The event was not confined to the physical space; it transcended borders as alumni around the globe joined in through live streams and local get-togethers. The shared nostalgia reverberated through WhatsApp groups, creating a global landscape of IHM Mumbai memories.

The Platinum Jubilee was more than an event; it was a celebration of shared memories, enduring friendships, and the profound impact of Dadar Catering on each alumnus’s life. As we bid farewell, the bonds created within the walls of our alma mater were rekindled, leaving an everlasting spirit that will inspire generations to come. It was also a promise of a vibrant future shaped by the collective spirit of its alumni.

Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A multiple award winning hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development are close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, online platforms and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website, www.theiwh.com

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