Stephen Cohen
If Day 1 was the appetizer, Day 2 was the main course. The day dawns sweetly on the IITM campus, with flora and fauna casting their charms. By 9 am, the crowds start converging at SAC. The day started with Stephen Cohen holding forth on security issues surrounding India and the U.S. A Kashmiri native was later heard remarking that Stephen had got it exactly right on the Kashmir question. Bob McDonald came up next, pacing the stage like a caged lion and holding the masses in thrall. By noon, the whisper started doing the rounds.... "Vishy, Vishy"

Viswanathan Anand
If Hema and Kumble held center stage on Day 1, the brightest star on Day 2 was definitely Viswanathan Anand. He took on all comers (well, at least 14 of them), and beat them all like a drum (well, at least 12 out of 14). The thematic tracks and the Research Symposium resumed at noon, and again all venues were packed. Possibly for the first time in PanIIT Event history, people had to be turned way from technical sessions. As on Day 1, the passion and energy were stunning. Panel discussions were lively, sometimes heated. Delegates continued to make the trek to Research Park. The lunch break between the two sessions was only one hour, which tested everyone's power-eating and power-walking skills.

Mr. Ramadorai with Delegates and Students
SAC action resumed at 4:30 with a panel focused on establishing global leadership of IIT's in education, research and technology. The panel moderated by Dr. Vijay Kumar from MIT proved to be an admirable warm-up act for the high-power panel that followed involving CK Prahlad in conversation with three Tata CEO's-Ravi Kant, Muthuraman and Ramdorai. In the meantime, the Family Program rolled on with hugely-popular outings to Kalakshetra, Dakshinchitra and Go-Kart. The buses returned to the campus late in the evening, with all minds trained on fuly imbibing the spirit of PanIIT in a networking session at Chennai Trade Center. 40 buses lined up in front of OAT to ferry delegates there and back.

Mr. Santhanam
Session Chairs were, however, mute witness to the proceedings, as they had more work to do. They got together in a working-session with Santhanam and PanIIT reps (Ashok Kalbag, Ashank, Arjun Malhotra) to lay out specific PanIIT-actionable items to be presented to a plenary audience on the morning of Dec 21. As the midnight oil was burnt, PanIIT imperatives emerged out of the collective consciousness, ensuring that the journey would continue beyond the Event.

Session in Progress at SAC hall
The scene around the campus remained breath-taking through the day. Student Volunteers buzzed like bees, nattily attired in uniform coats. Delegates wandered hither and thither, wallowing in nostalgia. Security made frowning faces, but were seen to be increasingly lenient as the day wore on. The Press descended like a swarm whenever they spotted a familiar face. The Business Plan Conclave and the Expo continued to draw crowds. Networking sessions linked aspiring writers, and other like-minded alumni. Directors and Deans wandered around chummily, greeting alumni like long-lost cousins (with deep pockets!).

If the last day were to maintain the high standards set on Days 1 & 2, that would indeed be a very, very good thing.

© 2008, Pan IIT 2008 Action Group   
A Rage site