CHENNAI: As they slip behind the age-battered benches and grab a seat in the old Anatomy block of the Madras Medical College (MMC), most of the batch of ‘74 believe that they may never get to do this again. In a college that has metamorphosed yet remained unchanged in the four decades since they earned their medical stripes, all their classrooms are now being turned into clinics and OP wards. “It was a real delight to take a look around these old buildings again and see the classrooms where we spent six years of our life,” explained Dr S Rajan, Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Madras Medical Mission and convenor of this reunion. “But it is a little saddening to see that these aged British-era classrooms are being converted,” he added.
Most of the 80-odd alumni who have flown in from the US, UK, Malaysia, Oman and various other parts of the world shared the sentiment, as they took a walk down memory lane. “Back in those days, we used to call this building (pointing at the Anatomy block) the Red Fort,” said Dr Thilak Chander, who flew in from the US for the reunion. “I hear that it has been made a heritage building, but I hope they preserve it. It will be a pity if that doesn’t happen,” he added. An internist from the town of Sault Saint Marie, he said that the infrastructure despite being old, was still pretty good and just needed maintenance.
The 179-year-old teaching hospital had been functioning on its campus opposite Chennai Central Railway Station, till their new campus was deemed ready for occupation this January. Since then, most of the first years and paramedical courses have shifted there and the vacant space has been used for new clinics and OP services.
After looking around a few more old buildings and classrooms, the group was delighted to peek into the dissection room where they “first caught sight of a human body being opened.” Once their tour of the campus concluded, the reunion group, chattering 19 to the dozen, boarded two buses and headed to a resort in Mamallapuram — as the reunion unwinds over the weekend. In a bid to give back to their alma mater, the group is setting up a Trust to provide awards and grants to deserving students and provide equipment for the college.