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Until I Found You

June 14, 2022
- Nishant Mittal


It’s 1 am at night, it’s raining slightly outside and I am listening to Until I found you by Stephen Sanchez. The petrichor makes me reminiscent of the Roorkee rains, and the clear blue skies, the kind you don’t witness much growing up in Delhi. God how I miss college.

Today is supposedly the last day to submit this memoir which I on my own volunteered to write and have been procrastinating ever since. I decide it’s too much, I must start. The beginning is always the hardest, but after all, how hard can it really be?

I have used enough Instagram for the day and am now sitting with my laptop staring at the empty screen, I start by writing what’s happening right now. Let’s do it. (proceeds to take a quick 20-min break)

Chapter 1

I still vividly remember my first day at college, carrying the evident disappointment from my branch which my father (himself a civil engineer) clearly recommended against. Unlike people from Kota who literally had gang loads of friends right from their coachings, I knew absolutely no one at R. The introverted me really didn’t have much fun during the first week or so. I went to the mess mostly alone and hardly participated in the fresher’s ice-breaking activities. The fast IITR LAN (circa pre-Cisco) was probably the only solace to my otherwise mundane schedule. I made it my absolute goal to get my branch changed and this further eliminated any remaining need I had left to socialize for the rest of the semester.

Thomso was nice though, I recall a final yearite telling me once that “the first and last Thomso are always the most special.” Alas, we were robbed of our last, but the memories of my first Thomso will always remain very close to my heart. Probably the first family I found at R was in my batchmates and that too mostly during Thomso. I still have no idea when and how I became the batch representative, but “representing my batch” (read as getting tutorials canceled and practicals postponed) gave me the first few friends I had here and a confidence shot much-needed at the time.


M3 batch party ft. happy faces of my batchmates

Enter end sems, I bombed the exams and it became quite evident that I would be struck with Civil for life. It wasn’t exactly a happy realization, but I learned there are times when you can only control your inputs, the outcome is hardly ever in your control. The important thing this time was that unlike JEE, where I always regret to this day of not giving my 100%, I didn’t have any regrets of not making it this time. I realized failure doesn’t taste so bad after all when you can look yourself in the eye and be sure that you gave your 100%.

The only other remarkable event of my first year was getting into two (campus) life defining groups- Cognizance and Finance Club. I have enough stories about my journey in these two groups to fill another memoir but suffice to say that these groups were, are and will always be the highlight of my campus life. I have got my best seniors, friends and juniors from these two groups and have cultivated bonds I know are enough for a lifetime. Probably it was the best thing that happened to me in my first year as looking back I can’t even begin to imagine what a monotonous and directionless life I would have had, had I not been a part of Cognizance and Finance Club.



A picture speaks a thousand words, well in this case I have two. My journey in Cogni and FC from first year all the way to the last.

Chapter 2

Before you know it, the good’ol days of the first year are over. The internship season of my senior year had started and the stress and anxiety on the once bubbling faces reminded me of what a hard battle lies ahead. Some of my friends had started preparing for the internship season a year in advance, and I was relatively clueless as to even what field to pursue. I recall one of my closest seniors from the same branch getting into Goldman during the internship season. Funny thing that he sat with a finance profile and was equally confused till just a few days back. At the time, it looked like light at the end of a long tunnel; if he can, then why can’t I? I recall how strongly I manifested getting a good intern from that point on.

It was at this time when I finally decided that I wanted to go into finance. It wasn’t an easy decision considering how hard it was to explain to my parents that there is more to finance than trading stonks on hearsay and giving out loans to random businesses. It was and is still a risky bet, after all very few companies visit R for quant roles and on the other hand there is no shortage of software roles. The idea of a quant intern for a non-circuital student sounded far fetched if not outright ludicrous, but I had made up my mind, and there was hardly any going back now.

My journey in finance has taught me a great many things about the markets and life in general, the most important being that the only alpha (outperformance) in our lives comes from the risks we take. Looking back, the risks and the grind seem to have worked out, Civil probably wasn’t such a bad idea after all!

Chapter 4

This part of my life, this part right here, is called happyness. No amount of words or exquisite vocabulary will ever be able to capture the emotions of the last 7 months of my life. I can even go so far as to say that whenever I will refer to my college life in general, these past 7 months are specifically what I am talking about. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t to say that the rest of my campus life hasn’t been eventful or memorable enough. It’s just that the memories of my final year overshadow anything and everything I have experienced in my life ever before.

Covid stole more than a year worth of our college life to say the least, but I’ll leave that rant to some other day (or some other memoir, who knows?). The only lesson I took from this entire misadventure was that life is short, and unpredictable. Enjoying life must not be left up to tomorrow, for there might not be one. In hindsight, I feel glad I learned this lesson just in time and have no regrets or half wishes left. Although jitna bhi try karlo bunny, kuch na kuch to chootega hi, but I think I got most of my checklist checked off by the time I left.


This picture screams to me "bhai ek baar Pasoori baja de". A place almost synonymous to its name, South Delhi Gurgaon ke clubs ek taraf or Divine ki vibe ek taraf <3

Of course, no version of my memoir will ever be complete without the mention of the Roorkee eateries. Was it the food or the company, I can’t really say yet some of the most delicious memories I have of R are connected to its food and the people I shared it with. Call me a bit old fashioned, but I always found Rustic and Olive a tad too fancy for my liking. Thankfully Roorkee had plenty of street food to offer, from Amritsari ki afghani chaap to that piquant Madrasi dosa, Abbas bhaiya ka gajar ka halwa to Patiala waale ki kullhad lassi, best enjoyed with my legs dipped in the cold waters of Ganga canal, and ofcourse how can I forget the almost daily ritual of Pal bhaiya ki chai with a …ahem ahem, well iykyk.


By far my favourite place in Roorkee, chaos on both sides and peace in between. During my last week or so at R, the single most important goal of my life was to maximise my visits to GC.

From the placement season ki “bhai yr BT chal rhi h” to “haan bhai sort ho gya”, from the instantaneous trips which turned us into professional trespassers to late night jamming to Anuv jain songs, the parties, the hangovers, the afterparties; from the purposeless late-night campus expeditions ending at the Maths department to arguing over which rooftop in IITR is the tallest, from hiding my tears from my friends while loading their luggage as they left to taking the longer route to the main gate on my last day, to catch that one last glimpse of the Main building, small moments, big memories.


Unable to choose one best picture, I found a strange comfort in the solitary winter nights during the Covid Curfew. Apparently Govind Bhawan fences were high, but not high enough.

Looking at my four years at R through a microscope, one thing I am utterly convinced of is that the only reason life gives us bad, nasty and gruesome experiences is so that we can learn to truly appreciate the good ones, and to know their worth, while they last. I will forever be indebted to Roorkee and its people for these magical experiences which I know will always bring a smile to my face, in good times and bad.


Cogni family at Director’s Dinner after pulling off the first offline event in nearly 2 years. More so than a technical festival, Cogni for me will always be about these people.


G117 - G121, inmates of the last rooms of Govind Bhawan and quite literally all of IIT-R. Also my favourite humans of R.


I feel an unmatched degree of satisfaction having finished this memoir. I see a lot of people have added photos to their memoirs. Compelled by peer pressure I have also tried adding some photos only to realize that the gallery is a treacherous place for those who dwell in the past.

Merely days away from my joining date, the pain of losing my freedom looms over the anxiousness as to how I’ll fare in the corporate world. It’s funny how people expect you to know everything once you have graduated even though you’re really just as clueless as you were when you started out. I guess, as with most things you can never really be sure as to when you’re ready; after all, it’s just a leap of faith.

(plays Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh by Lata ji and goes to sleep)