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My letter to Roorkee

June 2, 2022
- Kshitij Srikant

Roorkee? Where exactly is that again?” was probably the first thing that came to my mind when I heard of you. This, and “Wahan non-veg toh milega na?” In my defense, what else do you expect from an eighteen-year-old with next to zero geography exposure in the past two years? But the more I researched on you, the more I appreciated how difficult it must have been for you to stand out among big names like Bombay, Delhi, and Madras. I could already start getting a glimpse of my life in the next four years, maybe even beyond. It was going to be analogous to yours. You would teach me how to stand out among a batch of more than a thousand students and how sometimes it’s okay if I don’t. You would teach me how to stay humble when things go my way and remain strong when they don’t.

My first semester with you was full of excitement and surprises. I found good friends in people I used to spend my time with. More often than not, primarily just for the fun of it, we would spend our nights playing mafia near the main building or exploring the dark passages of old KB (I would often need emotional assistance for the latter). Towards the end of the semester, there was the added joy of a branch-change offer I had received. Life was good, or as you preferred it, “Load nahi tha.

The second semester was mostly spent planning multiple trips, most of which were limited to the boundaries of either Rishikesh or Dehradun. Plus, a new branch meant making acquaintances and giving introductions all over again. There were a few hiccups here and there, but mostly it went pretty easy for me.


Rajendra Bhawan Day 2018

Autumn of the second year was when things started to get serious, and that “undergrad” feel slowly began to sink in. For a core-centric guy, the syllabus started to get intensive and concentrated, and the joy of attending classes began dwindling. Playing counter-strike became a daily escape, and hanging out at Georgia between classes became a common practice. This was also the time when Zomato and Swiggy came to town. Needless to say, my friend and I left no stones unturned to explore the vast cuisine you had to offer. He and I would examine menus for hours before settling for Lick-a-chick’s amazing chicken burgers almost every time. That year would also host the last campus fest I would be a part of, and boy, did I enjoy it like one.

For the readers who expect a happy ending to this love story, I suggest they cherish that last bit as much as possible. I do the same. Because, like any other cliche relationship that Bollywood has ever presented, this one was also gonna experience that big blow. The Big Upset, as future kids are gonna call it. The long-distance relationship.

The pandemic was unexpected, harsh, and disturbing. The lockdown was such a surprise that many of us went home unprepared. This was to the extent that some of my friends at Govind Bhawan didn’t even bother taking their laptops with them during that “one-week” mid-sem break. To add to the mental stress of the pandemic, there was also a constant load of online classes and quizzes, something which neither you nor I had experienced before.

But there was some relief throughout. I found myself on a video call for hours with my friends almost every night. Watch parties became a weekly thing, and Zomato chapos were twice as frequent. The intern season went smoothly, and the joy of receiving a PPO soon followed. The only thing missing throughout was you. That’s when the big news broke. We were being called back.

Returning to campus as a senior was, in all sense, a joyful experience. Unlike my seniors, I got the opportunity to spend the last six months of my college life at the place where it all started. I spent that time reuniting with old friends and still making new ones. A few trips to Rustic House reignited that food critique in me.


The morning after New Year’s Day was the first time it hit me that I had very little time left with you and had to make the most out of it. What followed was the creation of a fifteen-point bucket list of things I had to get done before I left. A friend and I set out to complete almost everything there. Watching a Formula 1 race on a projector, eating Ice Paan outside the Century Gate, and going to Mussoorie, were some things on the list. Needless to say, I was able to tick off most of the realizable items.

Everyone who exits IITR, good or bad, is a different person than how they entered. I am not the same Kshitij who arrived in Rajendra Bhawan four years ago. I never will be again.


That is where your beauty lies. It’s not just because of the Main Building lawn, the inspiring Convocation Hall, or the colorful ECE tower that people adore you. It’s what you teach every one of us in the limited time we spend with you. It’s how you make us all feel unique and give us that achieving feel. It was tough reaching you, and it was painful leaving you. This is what made it worth it.

Thank you, Roorkee. Thank you for the most memorable four years of my life.

Yours always,