Who could have imagined a book club at the IIT Alumni Centre in Chennai? Who knew that engineers were fond of reading? What kind of books did they read?

I was lucky to get my first teaching job in India as guest faculty at IIT-Madras in 2009 when I returned to Chennai after working in different cities for two decades. Around the same time, a group of IIT-M alumni got together to discuss how they could create a space to meet, socialise, and reconnect with old friends. The vision was to create a world-class alumni centre for IITians, akin to clubs at universities like Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. And so, the IIT Alumni Club was created in 2009.

Within a couple of years, the members realised that more than just a club, they had a greater interest in creating an institution that would foster social, business, and technology networking amongst IIT alumni, faculty, and industry. It was decided that the name should reflect those interests, and it was called the IIT Alumni Industry Interaction Centre.

My brother, one of the alumni who had joined early on, asked me to become a member as well. Not only was I unwilling – I was not an alumnus...

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