Things have changed… A nostalgic sojourn

Before I sat down at my work-desk this morning, I had already made a mental list of things to be completed by the end of the day. It was a long list, and I braced myself for the long day ahead. I switched on my system, and as was customary with me opened my gmail and facebook accounts to check for any updates.

Same set of emails from some of the biggest newspapers, magazines and websites in the world. God knows when I subscribe to these! And no matter whatever filter I apply they still continue to dominate my inbox every morning. Sigh! I meticulously checked all of them, and click – Deleted!

I moved to the Facebook tab. ‘This person posted in that group’, ‘that person posted in this group’. Another bunch of spam notifications. I carefully went through them to look for any relevant notification, from friends I have not met for long. Not really any to say. So I went to the home page.

As I was casually browsing through them, I couldn’t help wonder how things have changed in the last 5-6 years for me. I saw the facebook updates of a few old friends and my thought fastened itself unto me for a while as I sat staring at them forgetful of my commitments for the day.  A nostalgic sojourn.

Six years back, I was in one of the grandiose classrooms in the Anna University Chennai, nervously pacing around looking for the sight of at least one familiar face. I was there to appear for the IIT-JEE 2006 exam. For many of those nervous students around me, it was the culmination of two years of their undivided hard work and unworldly existence almost meeting sainthood. The air was filled with our nervousness and there existed a chillness inside that room completely uncharacteristic of Chennai’s weather in April-May.  Some of them were anxiously going through their notes for one last time, not wasting a moment before the all-important exam while several others were meditating with closed eyes and chanting all those good words that they had come across since birth. Some of them were so engrossed in it that I felt that they had begun to radiate an aura of scholarship around them. Phew! I tried hard to concentrate on the piece of paper I was holding. It contained some important formulas that I had written down – my only revision strategy.

After looking around a lot, I finally managed to meet this friend of mine. We were together in IIT classes. (I always believed that I was pushed into it by circumstances around me but this friend, he was very passionate about engineering entrance examination, always working his way through assignments and tests and most importantly raising questions in the class which obviously disturbed the sleeping back-benchers like me. Finding the familiar person in that hall kinda made up for all that he did, such was the direness of my situation. ) He was silently meditating too, with an imperfectly made streak of holy ash on his forehead and a long plain-green shirt with unfolded sleeves, that had become a characteristic feature of his appearance in the two years I had known him.

I went up to him, and waving away all thoughts of disturbing a meditating pseudo-saint, patted on his back with a friendly ‘Hey!’

The goodness and virtuousness that was demanded by the situation perhaps, he was kind enough to not show the displeasure for being interrupted by me. A friendly chat with the regular “You prepared well?” “Ready to go?” Sometimes, I wonder if even soldiers share such empathetic understanding of nervousness before going for a war as we did before an examination, such was the fraternity brought about by academic adversities like these. Anyway, he told me that his mother was waiting outside and I perfunctorily glanced at her (she was also in closed-eye prayers for her son). Very soon, with friendly good wishes, we parted ways to our respective tables as the examiner showed up.

Results of the JEE exam were published, and both of us did not make it! I felt sad for him and several others with us in our IIT class who were genuinely keen on making it into one of those 7 prestigious IITs.  But we moved on and graduated from different colleges. He was enrolled into the same campus of Anna University where we wrote our IIT-JEE test while I was selected at the National Institute of Technology Trichy. Its been two years since we graduated from our respective universities with engineering degrees.

Somewhere down the line, we found each other on facebook. Not that I talk to many of them regularly, I do keep a tab on what my friends have been up to. My work and the commitments it brings with it keep me busy and their’s them.

As I glanced through my feeds today, I saw an update from this friend. It was a photograph of him in a black graduation robe with the same imperfectly made streak of holy ash on his forehead, standing with his proud mother after graduating from a prestigious university in the US.

I was touched. He had pursued and persisted beyond that IIT-JEE exam hall where we last met, and so did his mother. She was there then praying for him and she was here today, basking in the glory of her son’s achievement. Quite a priceless moment, I stood hypnotised by the beauty of it!

Time was frozen, or so I thought. But a shrill sound from my phone brought me back to my senses. It was half past ten. Gosh! And I had a long list of things to be done. But before all those,  I felt that I must blog this moment.

The nostalgic sojourn that it was, the photograph spoke to me of all those wonderful changes that have happened around me in the last few years. I would have loved to put that pic here but it would be a violation of his privacy. The photograph was meant only for his friends, like me, who would be delighted to participate in the happy moments of his life, like this one.

My friend here is only a representative of many of our friends. Friends that we all left behind at some point of time in our journey called life and earnestly long to get back in their company and those hassle-free days of school and college. But we know that things have changed and those are just nostalgic moments from the past worth cherishing till death 🙂


Dedicated to all those wonderful friends I made through my life… Cheers to our bright future and those unforgettable magical days of the past! 🙂