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Sunaina Suneja Class of 1975

July 24, 2008

Sunaina with Jacquie Singh
Sunaina with Jacquie Singh in Chandigarh.

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Jacquie Singh yesterday in Chandigarh all in the line of duty. I'm working on an embroidery project - an income generation program for women in a village of Punjab - and Jaquie mentioned in an email to me in May that she had a 100 year old shawl with this embroidery technique (PHULKARI) and I should plan on visiting her and seeing it at the same time. So off I went yesterday, by road from Patiala to Chandigarh, a short distance of one and a half hours. It was fun meeting her in her very peaceful home in Chandigarh and sharing time and reminisces with her and her husband.

Mrs Singh [who taught English at AIS in the 1960s and 1970s] has quite a repertory of stories to tell about some of our famous alumni and some infamous ones too! She keeps in constant touch with a lot of them so she's pretty up to date on their lives. We spent a few hours together chatting about the good ol' days at AIS and soon it was time for me to leave. Thank you, Mrs Singh!

May 13, 2008

I've been back three weeks now from my latest trip to the US and again I was struck by the wonderful network we have created thanks to the AIS/AES website. A network which is wonderful not only because it gives us an opportunity to meet , but the caring and sharing ways that we discover in each other. And not necessarily from alumni whom we may have known through our days at the school but those who we chance to meet thanks to this network!

Sunaina with Paige Grant
Sunaina with Paige Grant in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I am most grateful and ever so appreciative to Paige Grant who rushed to my help on at least two occasions while I was in Santa Fe in April! I discovered Paige when I was there last year and she was on the spot again this year, without hesitation without a question, just there, lending a helping hand, welcoming me to her beautiful home for dinner and to meet her husband, and coming to my rescue when i was stranded with time to spare nowhere to go and without transport! What a jewel she has proved to be! Thank you Paige!

Aki Rahman
Sunaina with Aki Rahman and family in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In Scottsdale, I met Aki Rahman, [long time AIS art teacher] Dorothy Rahman's younger son. I missed John by just a few days. Aki was leaving for the airport but in the half hour he had to spare in the morning before departure he picked me up after my morning walk and took me to his fabulous home so i could meet his wife and kids and dropped me off as well.......all that in a half hour. It was great meeting him after quite a few years and an opportunity to catch up on each other's lives since we last met.

I spent my three days in Boston with Ashok Nimgade who was kind enough to come pick me up at the airport and take me home pointing out the sights and sounds of Boston as we drove. This was my first trip to Boston and I was so looking forward to it. I had to visit 2 museums, in Lowel and Salem so i could dedicate just one day to sightseeing there. But before the sightseeing, Ashok organized a 'regional reunion' at his home. it was a fun evening, meeting old friends and making new ones. Mary Flanagan Williamson, the intrepid soul that she is, drove up for this special occasion and I convinced her to stay an extra night so that we could sightsee the following day and thereby spend quality time together after 30 plus years. [Read more about the 'regional reunion' from Mary Williamson.]

Boston dinner
'Regional Renuion' in Boston, Massachusetts. Back row, left to right: Ove and Donna Bjerregaard (parents); Ashok Nimgade '76. Front row, left to right: Urvashi Bhatia '65; Mary (Flanagan) Williamson '74; Sunaina Suneja '75; (unidentified guest)

Between my insistence on seeing everything Boston had to show in 12 hours , Ashok's excellent sightseeing tour and Mary's perserversance that we walk only, we really did see everything in 12 hours and only once did we take any public transport, from MIT to Harvard to be at the latter before dark. What a great day! I finally saw those two revered institutions and Ashok came up with the quote of the trip as I boasted that I had by then been to Princeton, Trenton, Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and now MIT and Harvard.....he advised me to "put it on my resume: it would look really good!" So there you have it folks, it's now there to stay on my resume!

Post Harvard, Ashok picked us up and took us to see Boston by night and Mary and I would like to believe that he was very impressed that we had walked so much and seen most of the areas he was driving us through. We went up to one of Boston's tallest buildings to see the night lights and by then I was exhausted and ready to put my feet up. To Ashok as well, a very big thank you!

I have suggested he patent his Boston tour, it was excellent.

I was all tired out by the time I reached DC but did manage to meet Lisa Romankiw. I tried to connect with Malcolm Garg but telephone communications played havoc with our plans. My apologies to KC Siebert whom I was supposed to get in touch with but I just stayed and rested for four days at my friend's. Next time I will make sure I am not tired before I leave!

I think that next time will be a while from now, I'm quite happy to being back home and savoring the heat and dust as well! How terrible can summer be when there are mangoes all around?

My best wishes to all,


Read an earlier letter from Sunaina.

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