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Sketched in Sand

June 8, 2022
- Keerat Kaur Guliani

Since I first saw a memoir published by Watch Out! I don’t think I ever doubted my plan to write one once I’d graduate. But now that I have graduated, I really don’t know what to write. Especially because sitting at home and trying to pen down how IITR was and how I’d continue to remember it is just not accurate - “feel hi nahi aa rahi”. Definitely should have had a go at it while sitting at the main building or even the library steps one fine night, but well, there’s no going back now.

I think what makes writing this specific piece of article even more confounding is that I know I’ll get only one chance and at-most as many words as my favourite person in the world will have the patience to read. Then do you blame me for being unsure about how to capture the endless thoughts and memories Roorkee has given me, in a page worth of words?

Content - learnings or musings?

Tone - cheery or cheerless?



But regardless of how well I manage to convey it, Roorkee has given me just the right amount of space to become a version of myself I feel fairly content about. The right balance of space and social that made me independent whilst cherishing having the right people around to make it even better. And though COVID did rob us of nearly two years of college life, I believe I have managed to leave that regret behind by making the best of my last nine months on campus.

Strolling through the campus crosses my mind quite often when moving around the park these days. Being a nature lover, my favourite hours of the day to take a walk around were during dawn, dusk and night. While dawn was often not possible, thanks to our messed up sleeping schedules, dusk was both doable and pleasant. I always preferred staying outdoors when the sun threw its orange hood over the rest of the sky, dragging it away slowly as it set. Each tree in the campus looked so beautiful then, that it could be stared at for hours. And the clouds! The naive photographer in me has spent significant amounts of phone storage to try and capture the same. The night walks were a whole different chapter - walking through the quiet night with companion(s) to share your thoughts, sometimes serious, sometimes carefree. Walking till your feet are too tired to walk anymore, or it’s 2 AM and “RKB ki tapri” is finally open. I’m sure though, it wouldn’t always have been fun, if not for the people.


My branch is where I found my first family at IITR. While I could never really relate to most people there, this specific trio somehow felt like the right fit to my jigsaw of emotions, habits and ambitions. It never felt too difficult to find a reason to be happy with this lot, and even simple acts like getting ready for a meal out felt worthy of celebration. Celebration of our friendship. We called this family Charpie - quite literally the “charpai” of my college life. Could rest on it whenever I needed comfort :’)


My next family came from Debsoc.If you think about it, the most frustrating thing about the world around is that it refutes logic for tradition more often than not. If something makes sense, that’s how it should be, right? Well, this room full of people did just that for me - gave me space to build my thoughts and rewarded my (often half-baked?) logic with lots of validation :D


And then when life seemed most desolate during the pandemic, I found another family in VLG. Bonding over rants and frustrations of how life couldn’t be more messed up and venting it out on research shouldn’t be allowed to be as wholesome ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


Watch Out! gave me the chance to meet a lot of new people - some were very different from me, and I learnt to respect those differences. While some others were unexpectedly so, quite similar in their thoughts and that led to cherished friendships.


But these are only the obvious ones - the ones that can be named easily. To all those who I met but simply cannot mention here because you’re too much or too many to write about, I hope I gave you a fraction of the joy you brought me during shared moments <3

From what I’ve made of it, friends are a key factor in how you live your college life, and how much you enjoy it. And how you live your college life decides how you’ll bid farewell to IITR. Everyone does it in their own different way. For me, it meant trying to go on as many night walks as I could with them. It meant squeezing in an overwhelming amount of engagements in very less time because you know you won’t find the same set of people to accompany you the next time. It meant setting aside most of my inhibitions and letting my hair fly free in the winds of Roorkee. And most importantly, it meant stuffing a lot of fried Maggi (“bhaiya bina patta-gobhi ke banana”), ‘cola shikanji’, ‘masala patties’, ‘veg Kurkuri’ and sun-dried pesto pizza, with them.

But of course, no part of life must be so cherry. For then how would we hold dearly onto it?

Roorkee taught me - people can’t appreciate what they don’t relate to - and they bother to relate to mostly things they deem important enough. And so you can’t have everyone’s approval. Maybe sometimes, you won’t have anyone’s approval, except your own. As long as you’re sure, let that be enough :)

Any account of college is literally incomplete without facing the fact that nearly half of our time was spent at home. But though COVID did its damage, I guess one does learn to find a silver lining in hindsight, even in the bad moments. For instance, it wouldn’t have hit me how important it is for me to maintain a balance in everything I do, if I wouldn’t have been compelled to sit at home with work left as practically the only option. It made me realise that unlike many other people around me, ‘work hard, party hard’ wasn’t going to work for me, and I definitely needed to give myself enough time once I had the freedom again to do so.

I guess the lure of the campus, the knowledge (hope?) that we were going to be able to return soon kept us going. When in April 2021 we were given a 48 hour notice to get back home before the second wave hit, we learned to say our goodbyes to Roorkee in the little time we had, thinking this was definitely the last. And yet, time proved us wrong again - a year later, we bid farewell to IITR in the best way imaginable.

Somehow, the 10ft×15ft hostel room seemed to give me more space to be myself, than the rest of the world combined. I really hope to carry these memories with me, for as long as I can. I sometimes laugh at how lucky I got, because I never really meant to come to Roorkee.