The convocation, the grand finale, the black coat and hat, the degree, the smiling faces, the proud parents in the front row: this is what dreams made are of, this is the picture that institutions over the years have portrayed to attract students, this is the final culmination of all the “hard work” for the past two decades of “formal education” and this is what we had waited for when we first walked into the campus two years back. The reality was somewhat different, but memorable all the same.
This being the year it is, the moods are sombre, the usual euphoria is missing, so is the monumental pay packages, the entire batch is yet to be placed, and the irony was that on the day of convocation, there was a company on campus for a process. So as we waited to bid our goodbye to the college, some people were still waiting with bated breath for lady luck to finally smile on them. This year, it was only a “commencement ceremony” instead of a full fledged convocation, which is scheduled for December, and given the state of things, the turn out was low (lower than even half the batch), there was no celebrity chief guest to give away the certificates, and yes, the proverbial black coat was also missing. This is more of a gesture rather than a ceremony, but then again, nobody was in a mood to celebrate!
But the college did a good job, the ceremony was short but well organized, Sasmit’s video about the life and times in SCMHRD was moving, the farewell dinner was decent, and so was the DJ even though barely 20 people were on the dance floor. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Subbu’s speech which failed to touch the chord with any of us. The best student award for each Centre of Excellence invited a few pleasant surprises and therefore some really really short speeches. My dad managed to find time from his busy schedule and came down to Pune to be with me and for a moment I felt so grateful to him- I remembered the time when I was working and asked him for one year’s time so that I can crack the MBA entrance exam; he was against it (he never approved of MBA and now that I have been through it, I know why) but he was big enough to let me pursue my dreams instead of forcing his dreams (MA in economics or CA/CFA) on me. I missed my mom though (she didn’t get leave) and remembered her sms-es every Sunday afternoon I wrote my mock exams, her patience when I worked seven days a week and didn’t visit Kolkata for over a year, her support when I screwed up so many GDs/Interviews.
The graduation ceremony, however, wasn’t the highlight; it was barely an excuse to go back to campus, to meet up with friends, to spend the last few days of what had been a glorious two years! So yes, I was back with my adopted family (sans Hemant and Shevaita) and we spent the last couple of days glued to each other. From early morning breakfast at Vaishali, to movies and shopping (you know it’s family when even the guys tag along with you and help you select the perfect bracelet and earrings, when they rummage through tops in the “for sale” category and hold your handbag when you try on the shorts), to lunch at KFC and Mcdonalds, to sitting around and playing pool, to staring at women in the malls (I don’t know if it’s the effect of hanging around with nine guys, but these days I find myself staring at strange women more than men), to switching between Sweet Chariot and German Bakery, to shared auto rides, to buying my fifth pair of Osho chappal from the roadside because Uplaksh’s damned bike ate up my expensive shoes, to landing up at hard Rock Café and savouring your drink for as long as possible because you can’t possibly afford the main course, to standing in the middle of nowhere trying to hitch a ride to godforsaken Hinjewadi in the middle of the night, to eating poha and Maggie at the chowk at one in the morning- it was a last ditch effort to cram in as much activity as possible in 24 hours! And that, was my real graduation, my real convocation…