The city in which they studied in was lush, vibrant, and culturally sound, with buildings that held fond memories and enticed nostalgia. At the golden jubilee celebrations for the 1969 batch of Loyola College, alumni shared their memories of the city they studied in, and how it has changed over the years.
For former justice of the Madras High Court, V Kanagaraj, those years were the golden years for the city. “It was in 1967, when we were students, when C Annadurai was elected as Chief Minister. He was an intellectual in all ways of the word, and it is sad to note that none of the Chief Ministers in TN today match his legacy,” he said.
At the reunion, Thanaraj reunited with a few of his close friends from the time. He shared that during their first year, they cycled down to Mahabalipuram through the OMR, which was rustic and barren at the time. “The number of vehicles on the road has increased. At the time, we would see maybe 10 or 15 cars in total. We would walk or cycle everywhere,” he said.
Some of their favourite after-college haunts were the restaurants and movie theatres that dotted the city, most of which have shut shop over the years. “Even for a cup of tea, we would have to walk a long distance. At the time, Choolaimedu was not developed, and there was no subway system in the city,” said Thanaraj.
The green cover in the city has reduced, according to Thanaraj. He recalled a dairy farm and piggery near Loyola premises which have vanished now. “Marina Beach was abound with nature in those days. Now, the beach has been made commercial,” said Kanagaraj.
Education, too, has evolved over the years. “We had only one engineering college those days, the College of Engineering, Guindy. Students these days seem more stressed. Nowadays, only marks matter, and students fight for their survival. We only knew our grade, not our marks, and perhaps that’s why we were less anxious,” said Thanaraj.