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It was a historic event for the Thunderbird Alumni in India. A pan India reunion was planned & organized in the picturesque and world famous exotic destination, Goa, India, recently, from July 31 to August 3, 2015. The not so active Indian chapters, for most part, showed great enthusiasm and for the first time, T-birds from all over the country and even from countries like Dubai & England, attended the reunion. The total turnaround was 25 with 22 T-birds and three guests / family members.

A national reunion of Thunderbird with only 25 participants may sound less encouraging; nonetheless it was perfect for such a first time event, as everyone got to know and interact well with one another. The diversity was awe inspiring with alumni ranging from as old as the class of 1978 to as recent as the class of 2012. The spirit of Thunderbird was evident by the fact that the attendees were driven by the motto “Age & Status No Bar, Fun & Bonding at Par”.  The strength of the group was also highlighted in their ability to accept and share almost instantly as if everybody knew each other since forever. The incredibly pleasant monsoon weather, multi-cuisine lunches at shacks facing the Arabian Sea, and long group walks on the beach only added to the already high spirits of T-birds.

It was a three day affair, Lemon Tree Amarante Beach Resort was chosen as the venue and everyone stayed at the same place. Well, the reunion (read party) actually started even before anyone reached the resort; and that really played a vital role in breaking the ice and setting the tone for what was to happen in the following two to three days. It was decided that if there were multiple people reaching Goa airport around the same time then they could coordinate and share the ride to the resort. It turned out to be a good idea not just to pool cabs; but essentially to get acquainted with fellow T-birds in a small, personalized setting. As people started landing at the airport, exchanging messages to coordinate and sharing pictures for identification purposes on the Thunderbird India Reunion Whatsapp group actually started a furor that was infectious indeed.
 
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On the first evening, i.e. on July 31, a formal kickoff dinner was planned for meet & greet, which certainly was a delight; however, the pre & post dinner events were even more delightful. Remembering & reminiscing the poolside evenings in scorching Arizona heat, some of the early arrivers decided to jump into the swimming pool at the resort and there started the pre-dinner bash. Rounds of introduction as more T-birds kept coming in; jokes, T-bird stories, pleasantries were exchanged. 
 
And, since everyone had hit it off very well, the dinner was followed by an impromptu night out at the most happening Friday night party place in Goa, called Cavala. As Goa is an exotic destination, Cavala was full of Bollywood celebrities too.

The second day, August 1, was planned with various activities throughout the day. Highlight of the day was the lunch at Palms & Sands, a shack facing the Arabian Sea. Since all the expected alumni had arrived in Goa by early Saturday morning and were in a mood to relax and exchange notes, this luncheon was special and presented a good networking opportunity.

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The night was again crazy with everybody wanting to party after another formal dinner. It so happened that yet another time the bunch of T-birds chose the best Saturday night party place in Goa, called Cabana. Guess what! The gang wasn’t allowed to enter the club, because there were 19 boys and only 1 T-bird girl!! Stags were not allowed! So, lesson learnt; Thunderbird needs more female alumni from and / or in India.

Although the reunion was planned until the 3rd of August, most alumni had booked their return on August 2, Sunday, and people started leaving by noon. Thunderbird souvenirs were distributed among all T-bird alumni as a return gift.
 
Those who were leaving late Sunday evening or on Monday, the 3rd of August, enjoyed another jam session at Palms & Sands and bid adieu to each other.

Amidst all the fun & frolic, there happened some good discussions about improving the alumni participation across Thunderbird chapters in India. Since some of the alumni were highly accomplished & great achievers while others are on their way, several new ideas were floated for continuing discussions about how to contribute towards helping each other and creating sustainable prosperity. So, all in all this reunion was enriching & productive too.

To sum it up, the reunion was fun, raised to the power infinity, and quite fulfilling in its purpose. Hopefully, India will host many more such national and in fact even Global Thunderbird Reunions in the days to come.

Rrahul Dalmia
MBA, Class of 2010