As I sit here, downloading as much of DC as I can carry in my HD, packing out of IIT-B for the last time, saying my final farewells to everyone who has been a part of my life; I look back and the cached memories come rushing back to me.
I still remember the day I first set foot in this place; the experience was ruinous to all my dreams and expectations about IIT with a dull welcome at the un-boastful entrance and unassuming Convocation Hall, and the modest habitat that were our hostel rooms. I was devastated to be leaving home, family and my dreams of a career in CS (I had gotten into M.Sc. Chem.), for a few acres of glorified land that had established itself as a brand. Yet, the prospect of being a part of this famed institute was so attractive; I was ready to risk anything to realise it.
I believe there are no right or wrong choices. There are only choices, and you live with the ones you make! So have I… And I am glad, almost proud, that I chose to be nourished here, amidst the great and diverse pool of talent; chiselled at the sharp edge of competition; humbled at the hands of hundreds who were better than me at everything I considered my best; befriended by future Einstein’s and Zuckerberg’s, sure to bring glory to our country and Alma Mater!
I came here a scared little girl, untrained in the ways of the world; a frog who had never known an ocean deeper or larger than its own little well. The vast pool of talent to learn from and grow with, myriad genres to satisfy anyone’s passions and opportunities to excel in them, ample number of over-achievers to idealise and be humbled by, company of learned men to gain wisdom from, and the wide, intricate social web to laugh, love and live with; left me awed! This same state of affairs has been my reality for the past four years now, and will be sorely missed hereafter.
The one thing that IITians can boast of is freedom of choice. Be it, freedom to choose one’s career path, one’s attire or the time of the day to wake, eat, get out of rooms for fresh air or shit! Probably, this institute is the sole holy temple of democracy where individual freedom is deified and fundamental rights are absolutely worshipped.
However unconventional your passions may be, IIT has never shied away from supporting excellence in incredibly diverse fields. If you realised that you weren’t meant for the Department you chose, or that you did not belong with Science and Technology, you only need to take a step, and a path will appear for you to trod on; you only need to share a word, and you shall find mentors ready to guide you at every stage.
All of us here, I am sure, have had several mentors, who have volunteered to help and in turn, have made you the person you are. I do not know how I would have fared if that one piece of advice hadn’t arrived to urge me for the post of a Techfest manager, if those feedbacks hadn’t shown me right from wrong, if that one Professor hadn’t offered a project (off his own will) which eventually landed me at ETH Zurich, if the wisdom of so many hadn’t helped me sail through my placements. Such mentors, with whom one can discuss ‘one-self’ and be heard and answered; be they friends, seniors or professors, are a rare and fortunate phenomena. I will surely miss the ones we find waiting at every turn and corner, here at IIT.
Yet, the greatest hole shall be the one left by friends I have made here, the ones I have loved dearly. As the waves of sweet and salty memories wash over me, I recall some of the best moments from the past four years of my life. I see those times Puneet and Anjali embarrassed me with their crazy little acts and my lips curl up into a smile. I laugh when I hear Anjali and I brag about our dates or others calling us a couple. I can almost glimpse Prashi’s scared face at the arrival of simple surprises and feel her joy at hard-earned successes. I remember those long discussions JR and I had about ‘me’ and I hope I am able to return a part of what I owe him. The news of his and Sudesh’s recent feats in typing, languages or SD and Scramble flash into memory and I hit my forehead hard, tired of hearing them brag. I almost feel a wicked satisfaction for having surpassed S(t)udesh’s performance at every guitar lesson. I look upon the time Ankita and I spent, trying to help Aditi; pouring wisdom into things, we ourselves understood little about; and I smile with satisfaction as I sense the unity the tension had brought out in us. As the retrospection session with Vallari flicks through my mind, I find myself grown wiser, all over again. I curse my naivety for having ever tried to urge Akshata to study in our first year. I stretch my hand to hold onto the blissful past, yet the sands of time slip through my fingers.
So here I lay helpless, knowing that I shall yearn for the long conversations about almost everything with Prashi, the satisfaction of teasing her for no reason at all. I shall miss those night-outs while talking for hours with Anjali, begging for sleep to come, yet never submitting to it. I so badly want all those fun and frolic-some ‘Enthu-Punters’ sessions back! I will miss Alha’s fundae and philosophy of love, life and happiness; she was always so ready to share. I feel sorry for the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. sessions with friends that are lost to me now. Most of all, I will miss the feeling of comfort from knowing that come what may, I have ten stupid friends to share my joys with, to cry my heart out to, to accompany me for a coffee, to share a night-out, to pacify my fears, to understand and support my dreams; to be there by my side whenever I shall have need of them!
As I stand here today, about to leave, I know I’ll look back and feel blessed that IIT happened. I’ll look back and cry hard for it ended. Irrespective of what I take with me and what I leave behind, these shall always have been the best years of my life! Thank you everyone for being there for me! And I hope that the common thread that binds us together is strong enough to hold us against the wills of time and distance!
P.S. 09103011 was my roll no. at my university, IITB, India