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One last walk through Campus

June 2, 2022
- Urjita Sharma

A memoir about our time at Roorkee? Now that I have started to pen down my thoughts, it’s surreal how I could write a book on campus or suffice it in a sentence of sorts, but writing this memoir got me scrolling through a never-ending gallery of sobs and smiles. I am pleasantly surprised how absolutely antithetic college turned out to be to the nightmares I had been fearing. Roorkee, you have been as pretty as Belle and as fierce as the Beast, and I’m in awe.


On my last night, I decided to go for one last walk through the campus, revisiting all the paths and places that had turned out to be so beautiful over the years. Traipsing down the trails to the main building, I heard someone say “And the city sleeps”. It sounded so familiar that I stopped in my tracks to trace the sound. “Mafias wake up”, and I was taken back to the circle of jejune freshers huddled at the crossroads in front of the Main Building where the “God” was explaining the rules of Mafia. It was the night of our first Thomso on campus. I remember how we were bedazzled by all the shimmers and celebs, realizing for the first time the stage that we were standing on was beyond ordinary. Fests were a wonderment that showed us our place outside the niche of our campus, and it was always prettier! As I walked past Sarojini Bhawan, I remembered my first day, quite poignantly, when a teary-eyed kid bid farewell to her parents and came back to her room thinking that this will be a disaster! How was a child who grew up in a safe cocoon with everything handed to her supposed to navigate these treacherous unfamiliar lands all by herself! I decided to call some people for a get-together in my room (that is so not like me!) and we decided to go for a campus tour, I guess that’s where it all started. We grew up on campus effortlessly, and now that I look back, I see just a chaotic village of kids who have found a way of life for themselves, and somehow it works out in the end! My first year was all about trying out all the different things happening around at campus and trying to excel at everything and then wallowing whenever the tiniest things went off-track. Slowly, things fell into place and I understood that not everything will work out and it’s alright. In retrospect, the young me was a fluffy bunny who wanted to go down every rabbit hole, but I found my wonderland in Kshitij. I still remember my interview on the library steps on a drippy day that I remember vividly, as accurate as one of my favorite descriptions from Clarie-Louise Bennet’s Pond, “Further along there were those very small raindrops, droplets I suppose, which attach themselves with resolute but nonetheless ebullient regularity among the fronds of a beautiful type of delicate crass, appearing, for all the world, like a squandered chandelier dashing headlong down the hillside.” The conversation with those seniors eased me into the group which I remember fondly, even years later. As a fresher, I always looked up to the seniors and it seemed like they had it all figured out. Being a senior myself, I realize it’s more about the confidence of navigating the labyrinth rather than having the actual map. One of the best memories I have with Kshitij is performing in Eunoia! Those never-ending hours of practice flashed before me as I entered SAC and looked at myself staring back at me from the glass wall at which we used to practice. All the apprehensions and fears faded away the moment the spotlight had shone on us in the auditorium, it was exhilarating! SAC housed a lot of memories for me from movie nights and absolutely embarrassing gaming sessions to sneaking up on terraces for hours of stargazing. I walked out and saw the tennis court. I then stood there, remembering how I was more triumphant in flying a drone (which by the way we had crashed and remodeled a million times) on the tennis court than actually being able to hit the tennis ball across the court. I had realized how working together on a project had brought together four very different people. This is one of the most inherent and dare I say, underrated privileges of being in an IIT. As I strolled on, I reached the senate steps. The meetings there had always left me with a pretentious sense of purpose, but only later did I understand it was more about the sense of belonging. After staying there for a while, I entered the library. It was almost empty, unlike the nights before the exams when the floor was strewn with bags. Those were the nights of caffeine-driven all-nighters when only the fear of falling grades and self-bribes of dark chocolate bars kept me awake. All-nighters and night-outs, practically sum up all the happenings on campus! I finally reached the Maths and Humanities department. I walked on those glass-floored skywalk thingies for the last time, thinking that this was a new attraction for us, a new place to visit, but this might be the ECE tower for our juniors. I then sat on the terrace for hours, overlooking the campus. The last few days were just moonlit strolls across campus and watching the sunrise from random rooftops. It was peaceful.


I found some of the most beautiful souls here and I have promised myself to never let them go. It’s funny how for the majority of my life, I didn’t even know they existed, and now, as corny as it may sound, I cannot imagine my life without them. Although now I may be competent in navigating the metaphorical mazes, my hand still reaches out for theirs while crossing roads outside the century gate. I’m resentful about the time for which we were forced apart due to the pandemic, but it somewhere uncloaked opportunities for me to focus on myself. I had always been tempted by the laurels of our seniors and alumni. Hours of scrolling through LinkedIn had me all starry-eyed about the tech giants! Getting an internship, and then being placed at Google reinstated my confidence. The year after was just a crazy whooping frenzy of trips to far-away lands and sitting for hours in the rooms with the same old faces, of swimming in the pool and falling off the raft in Rishikesh, of exploring all the new and hush-hush places on campus and walking down the same road from the main building to CCD for the millionth time, of reliving it all again for one last time and tears of farewells. A part of me will always be at the campus, and a part of campus, always with me.


As I signed off at the gate, I remembered Bernard Russell’s words “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” Roorkee had made me fearless. For one last time as the car drove off, I smiled because I was in love with the moments I spent here and I had fallen for real.