Friday, June 11, 2010

Looking back

I was back again at IIT Kharagpur. This time to pack up and leave. My friends had left already. Most of them were already in pursuit of their dreams in distant cities in glass palaces of commerce. My fate still hung in the balance.....more or less certain, but with the correct amount of uncertainty which spices up things. It is in this scenario that I stepped into VS Hall,my IIT-ian abode for the last 2 years. However the first thing I noticed was that things were eerily different.
Let me clarify. VS Hall to me was far from the perfect hostel(btw no hostel is perfect). Yet there was a "zing" to it for the last 2 years. I mean there were bad times and there were good times. But there wasn't a time when VS Hall was a dull place. For me it were the people in the hall, my friends, who made this a rocking place. And of course there was this omnipotent,omniscient LAN(better known as DC++). But this time things were eerily quiet. The dominating sound of the summer evening was made by crickets hidden in the vegetation rather than by boisterous groups making merry in their rooms or by friends raising storms in tea cups. The motley "junta" which laughed, "couch-potato"ed,fought, mugged, "porn"-ed, took loads of tension before exams, played enitre days of computer games after exams and huffed and puffed billions of tobacco whiffs had disappeared. All around there was this sense of vacuum. Perhaps the only semblance to "my days" that still prevailed was the crowd around the TV, but they too were subdued in their leisure. Too quiet to be normal. The Hall itself mourned, the lights of vacant rooms remained switched off, indicating that an era had passed and another one was approaching. An era I would not be part of, and perhaps rightly so.
So this finally led me to ponder on what made life so special in the last 2 years. Or perhaps more appropriately in the last 1 year, which is actually the time when I had some chance to get myself out of study pressure and look around and have fun. I realise that a number of factors weighed in. The excellent facilities, the great administration and superb faculty(ok not all of them were superb......) all added up to the experience. Augment that with the promise of great careers ahead and the adulation that you immediately command(to people who do not know better) as an IIT-ian definitely gives you a high. But the most defining experience of my stay in IIT was the hostel life with friends. The faces, sometimes moist with perspiration, sometimes stone like with tension and sometimes beaming with elation is the very thing that made life so special. The friendly "Hi" on the road, the smile, the sharing of xeroxes ,the reassuring "dont worry yaar", frequent tea breaks and midnight maggi stands, the exam fever, the seminars, the TT matches, the expletives exchanged (in good jest),dinner at LS,visits to the life-saving tech market,trips to big bazaar, excursions in IIT and the occassional tiffs all blend into a happy and fuzzy feeling. Its what I will miss the most. I must also concede that not all memories are positive but that does not sully the overall happiness I felt in this place.

To the many countless generation of IIT-ians to follow I wish them best of luck and I hope they have a blast at IIT.

P.S. : May I add that IIT life brought in my life a number of firsts too........learnt to ride a cycle(My home locale never necessitated I ride was ignorant of the trick), do night outs(that I could give the Low Power Circuits Exam next day is a miracle....I nearly fell asleep during exam) , made a movie freak out of myself(I MISS DC++), found the perfect girl , talked to her(YES dude....I finally managed to talk to a girl i like) and then somehow lost her too(Shit!!!....just me and my luck) and ultimately got into both my dream company and research insti for PhD. From my perspective the last one year has been the watershed year.

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