Monday, 7 April 2014

Class of 2014

The graduation day is always a special occasion. It is special not only for the graduates whose success this ceremony celebrates but it is also special for all those who contributed to this success - parents, professors, administrators and friends. This ceremony is also a great thank you to all of them. Family, friends, colleagues and well wishers celebrate the big day and pay tribute to the hard work and efforts of the graduates.

As a professor at the institute, it is a part of my portfolio to be the Master of the Ceremony and host the event. Its an honour to be there and lead the big day in the life of the graduating batch as well as for us at the institute. The day is high on energy and for me its definitely high on emotions. It is the time to say goodbye  to a  batch of students  who were welcomed  as young girls and boys when they join the institute and then turn into young ladies and gentlemen. The parents see the change and somewhere they give us the credit, but its always a team effort, as their professors we are their mentors, guides, facilitators of knowledge. That's certainly a lot of responsibility that every faculty member carries with him or her.
The event requires a lot of planning. It starts at least a month in advance; activities involve deciding on the venue, the invitees, the menu and a couple of rehearsals of the parade of the graduating batch in their robes. Its a sight to behold!

Institute profile
The  Apeejay  Institute  of  Hospitality  located at CBD Belapur  shares its premises  with  The  Park  Navi  Mumbai. It is an initiative of the Apeejay Surrendra  Park  Hotels Ltd. that  operates its collection of  Luxury  Boutique hotels in India. The  institute  offers  a 3 years   Bachelor’s  Degree programme in Hospitality Studies (BSc-HS)affiliated to the University of Mumbai & YCMO University and  is recognized by the  University Grants Commission.AIH is also the center for learning of  Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels.The group's Management Training Programme, Professional Development programmes as well as consultancy projects for  the hospitality industry are some of its  additional core activities. Not  only  academics  but  extra curricular activities are also given equal impetus. Students have the  advantage  of  getting  hands-on operational training at The Park, Navi Mumbai, doing their industrial
training from any of the Park properties  or associated organizations and take up careers with the Park Hotels as well as other hotels.

The Ceremony

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk ,and by not quite knowing what you're doing, but what you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.
~Alan Alda

The 5th batch graduated from the portals of the AIH on 30th of March 2014 in a spectacular ceremony held at the Park Navi Mumbai. Mrs. Shirin Paul, Chairperson Emeritus, Apeejay Surrendra group was the Guest Of Honour and the Chief Guest for the function was Ms. Priya Paul, Chairperson,  Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd. Also present was Mr. Swarup Datta, GM The Park, Navi Mumbai and Mr. Lotlikar from the Apeejay House. The invitees were parents of final year students, AIH alumni, principals of Hotel Management colleges in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai, media, Hotel General Managers of hotels and recruiters.

The function that started at 12 noon went on for a little over an hour. It began with the graduation march lead by Mrs. and Ms. Paul in full academic regalia. Laxmi Todiwan, was the Master of Ceremony. She welcomed all the guests and thanked everyone present for joining AIH on its special day in celebrating the graduates. She also expressed her appreciation to all those who had supported them – professors, administrators, parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and close friends.

Principal Mr. GM Bhuvan presented the annual report; 

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Final year student representative Ms. Aishwarya Sathe, shared her experiences of the journey at AIH and it was received with cheer and applause. Then Ms. Priya Paul, chief guest of the function addressed the audience. Apart from the inspiring speech to the graduating students she shared her own ambition of studying hospitality at a premium university in the US, she ended by studying economics but later was invited to the same university to be the keynote speaker. She also spoke about the Park Management Training Programme being contemporary and trying to do something different and out of the box. It tries to expose young minds to various aspects of lifestyle elements, be it lifestyle products, destinations, music etc. into the curriculum, moving on from the hospitality of the 90s and giving the guests something different to experience.

Guest of honour for the function Mrs. Shirin Paul, then addressed the audience. She was very happy to be a part of this momentous occasion and expressed her appreciation of the institute and the graduating batch. She then conferred the Gold medals to the winner.
Jit Paul Gold medal which is instituted in fond memory of Mr. Jit Paul, is awarded to the passing out student who is an all rounder with the best attitude and values. The winner of this award was Ms. Kriti Srikanth. She  was also  the winner of the The Surrendra Paul Gold medal, instituted in the memory of our founder, awarded to the student for academic excellence.

Mrs. Paul then distributed the course completion certificates to the graduating batch. The passing out batch took the oath lead by the Master of Ceremony; this was in full academic regalia, students wearing their graduation robes and hats, holding the candles lit by their faculty members signifying the transference of knowledge.

The message to the graduating batch

As it is said that if one can dream it , he can do it. Take the time to dream big, as dreams help you to do great things. Continue to learn, be curious, be open to others whose interests differ from yours. Read and learn something new every day.  Be resilient, learn from your mistakes and celebrate your accomplishments.
As you sit together, as a class for the very last time, I encourage you to focus on what you have learned and accomplished in and outside of AIH.  And then use this experience and learnings to your advantage!

Gratitude opens the door to a great, fulfilling and enriching life. Finally today, more than any other day, remember to be grateful.  Express your gratitude to everyone who contributed to bring you here on this threshold today, your parents, professors and fellow students.

Wishing you the very best.
May you make wise decisions and have great success.

The programme concluded with the national anthem sung by all present. The faculty and students then joined the guests for some sumptuous lunch, the Park Hotel kitchen team laid an elaborate buffet.
The function will certainly go as a red letter day in the history of the institute and will be cherished by the graduating batch.

An Auction - that carries a million emotions! ....Vandeemaataram!

I sit here checking my emails and updates.....and there's something that attracts my attention an Auction!!
The word brings out all kinds of emotions. We wonder what is being auctioned and why.... secondly, we also know that for being auctioned the possession has to be worthy of being auctioned, I would say something that's been priceless for someone. That priceless thing at the moment is heart breaking!
It is this feeling that makes me write this post.

My grand mother used to tell us stories, stories of kings and queens. She would say that the  kings had huge empires and the wealth of the state. I used to ask her how did they manage to do that and she would say by asking every household in the kingdom to contribute. That's how a part of the produce from every farmer would go to the kingdom. Similarly a part of every trader's goods would go to the king. The king in return would protect all the people and help the kingdom flourish. Simple story and simple logic.

Why do I think of this story and my late grandma today?

Vande maataram takes me to these thoughts. For whose who haven't heard of it yet...

Vande Maataram

It was the largest movement that united all the people of India before Independence. And it is now going to unite all the youth of the nation to come forward and vote
The bikers of the country are uniting to undertake the largest ever biker movement to help build a bright future of this great nation. The movement is spearheaded by Bharadwaj Dayala, the first Indian to go around the world on his motorcycle.

The ride
The ride started from Mumbai on 15th March 2014, the core team of riders ride to each and every state capital, meeting and energizing the youth all along the way. They are not supported by anyone but the people of this country. No politics, no parties, no persons. It’s just the Call of duty! with the largest number of bikers coming to support the core team. The rally ends at New Delhi with the largest ever gathering of bikers in the world (the event will feature in the Guinness book of World Records).

The team is in Kolkata at the moment, the riders are on their own. 

Message from Bharadwaj Dayala

"Good morning buddies. You know that Vande Maataram movement is not supported by any sponsors. All the riders are doing it at their own expense and for the cause of better India. Hence I have decided to auction my WORLD TOUR bike and support the Vande Maataram movement. All the riders will be fully funded from the proceeds of this bike sale. 

I know everyone will be angry with me. But support me to support this cause.

( more details will follow soon)"

A noble idea for sure but for raising funds for the ride you can't be doing this. The planning of Vande Maataram was just a couple of days...  Bharadwaj Dayala felt before his DreamLive project where he goes around the world on his motorcycle, he had to do something for his country- urge youngsters to vote. The event is going on as planned and beautifully. Vandemaataram has more than 15000 people who support the cause. The support and interest generated in less than a month, I see it as a huge achievement and in the right direction.

This time of the year companies take a bit of their time to allocate funds from the new budget for their organisations, so sponsorship is discussed and debated. I know the sponsorship will come eventually but the need is now. Probably that prompted Dayala to auction his pride possession. That clearly shows the passion that the man has and how he wants his bit to be done for the country.

I strongly feel that the people who support Vandemaataram must give a solution and a way out. Bikers ride from their heart and for their passion, must certainly show that heart and passion now. How, what and when... I don't know but the ride must be supported and believe me when it is accomplished, the satisfaction can be unimaginable. Truly rewarding and enriching yourself!

Give your thoughts on this would love to hear from you all.

Where there's a will there's always a way! .... that's the way forward..... believe in it today and forever!

PS: the team is in Assam now.

Details of the mission Vandemaataram: