At the crossroads we were caught,
We weren’t sure if we were just students again…
Childish adults we were, united by a
Joyous warmth that made us smile…
After a good 8-9 months separated, we were all brought together thanks to our university scheduling our graduation day ceremony well after we had all started working. In this not so short time period, some of us had grown really long hair, some among us had changed a little perhaps due to the difference in our environments, but mostly I should say the experience away from each other served two purposes. It contributed to an enlargement of our ‘experience’ bank and drew us closer for the yearning to feel the various things that bound us together were still lingering fresh in our memories waiting for chances to break open.
The atmosphere at CEG was festive. It is easy to imagine that if one can visualize nearly 3000 young adults in yellow robes eagerly and excitedly trying to catch up on lost time. Most of our conversations were short for we were meeting a lot of people in the flesh after a seemingly long time. They were centered around how each of us was (the universal conversation opener, ‘How are you?’ will never lose favor even if it almost always doesn’t get a completely accurate answer!!) in new settings, how we are finding our work environment and how the new place that we have all moved into feels like…
That apart, the usual gossip and rumor mills churned overtime in the name of pulling each other’s legs. It was also an occasion where cameras of every hue and color were pulled out and used to their maximum potential. I was in a dream like state, listening faintly and lost in dreams of another time when we from MIT used to come to this campus for our placement. Those are memories wrapped in gold, whenever I think of those days, it seems as if all of them happened only yesterday and by a strange stroke of misfortune, I find myself far removed from them now. Time is a cunning worker, it lures us into believing illusions, it comforts us at times by transporting us to golden periods of our lives, yet the very same time when it jolts us back into reality wrecks devastation. It leaves us feeling like fools.
To me, memories of days spent at MIT are like this:
“I have just seen an interesting cricket match in the hostel. I have Mani and somebody else from my class close by my side. I see the afternoon sunlight filtered through the tall trees lining the stretch to the lecture hall from the hostel and lighting up the features of a beautiful girl walking towards us. The light filters through her hair and casts a thin glow in whose foreground the girl’s face gets poised in a seemingly eternal beauty.”
“I enter the gates of the college a little late and in the aftermath of the hurried running, my breaths are short and I gasp a little for proper air. Thinking of the lecturer’s face receiving my late entry, my legs shake a little as I run, but nevertheless I continue. I avoid any face during all this, some times a class mate from the hostel takes the same route to the lecture hall and I heave a little sigh of relief…”
“Two of my friends are walking just a little ahead of me very close together with one hand on another’s shoulder in filmi style. I am trying to walk along with them, but they always make me feel a little aloof and separated from the group. To join the conversation, I make a remark, it is sometimes acknowledged and responded to and at other times not, in typical fashion again. We are discussing things, about which we’d prefer to go on and on, but soon we reach either our classrooms or the veg mess where we prefer a drink of water even if we are not always thirsty!!”
CEG was like a stranger till the placement days but then it also became our pointless hangout post tests. A little seriously discussing the paper or hopelessly looking forward to the next company on the radar, the days were relatively event less if only there weren’t the CEG and AC tech girls always hanging about near the canteen.
Months later, these memories remain fresh… friends and classmates – I saw them again, said only “hi” to some, talked at length with some others, but the day in itself offered a different respite with its occasion and meaning. We graduated at last!!