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2022 Wrapped?

December 31, 2022
- Anvita Prasad, Ayan Shree, Astha Jain

Ahoy! I, The James Thomason Building, address this letter to the generation enslaved by steel and plastic. What is this obsession? These Rectangular boxes of steel, covered in uncanny shapes of plastic, you fragile souls call smartphones. Not that I mind the attention when you point them towards me, but it’s a little weird when Rohan from MnC shares my picture to his mere 350 followers on Instagram and says, “The Love of my life.”

Buddy, do you even know how old I am? I could be the love of three of your lives by now, and yours has just started.

Huh, how does the lousy old James Thomson Building know about Instagram?

My brothers, sisters and siblings in Christ, I like to remain well informed and up to date, everything crisp, just like those perfectly starched shirts and suits your predecessors used to wear. This generation has just lost its charm. Roaming around in pyjamas and slippers and calling each other kings and queens, like please, had King Charles II seen you sporting this down-at-heel attire, he might have lent you a dime or two as charity. Our era was the prime of human existence. Since then, everything has gone downhill. We were men of blood and sweat, doing physical labour and hard work. The youngsters of today? Staring at glowing screens all day and then complaining of back ache. But it’s not your fault. COVID created this divide which cut you off from interacting with your seniors. You’ll carve your way out. It’s just been- Oh, time flies so quickly! It seemed like yesterday when you all celebrated the end of a long, challenging year, free from covid and online classes. I distinctly remember everyone dancing, lighting fireworks and trampling my gorgeous lawn, my pride. I cried tears of joy and disappointment.

You wallowed in disappointment only a few days later, as the semester began, with a half-hearted attempt at being offline. Of course, Mr Covid threatened to ruin everything, lurking in the nooks and corners of our beautiful campus. Amidst chilly nights and Bhawan curfews, you somehow survived January.

Then came February. Love was in the air. So was the fake pride with which single people strutted around campus, desperately trying to hide their pain under their kurtas. Oh, don’t worry. I support those who have not been targeted by Cupid. It’s so tiring to see love birds nestled in the depths of my grandeur. It reminds me of that one time I fell in love with old Ms.- Aah! Not revealing names here. You buffoons will go about marking my beautiful white walls with her name. My perfectly white-washed walls are the pride of this institute. Have you seen them experiment with lighting me up in different colours? Every day, a new colour, so bright and vibrant, makes me feel happy. You must have seen the campus light up in all glory for the first time during Cognizance this year. I did appreciate how you attempted to bring back the fests slowly. However, I was slightly disappointed when Mr Gujral did not mention me in his set. But, I would not like to make a scene out of it, unlike most stand-up shows that happen(ed) here on campus. Wait, the second yearites here had their curfews at that time—Sweet Jesus, what a sad welcome. I remember posing for so many photos during that time. It’s so easy to distinguish a fresher from the rest of the crowd. A first yearite always has a gaping mouth and looks at me as if I am the next best thing after the Mona Lisa. I tell you, giving these brats the validation they worked hard for is such a feeling. I’m not an Esper, I tell you, but the naive souls you see would soon be corrupted by the charisma of my nightlife – swinging their dances on my stairs, headed by my fierce lions. I, the James Thomson Building, is their witness meeting point for all their shenanigans of the night. With this new set of people—or, I should better say, my new set of lovers who just set their foot on my glorious ground—there hadn’t been a chance I wouldn’t be surprised by their oh-so-modern thoughts. One fine day, unaware of the ungraceful consequences, I was eavesdropping on these people having deep intellectual conversations in the testimony of my robust, flamboyant pillars. This young kid from CSE here said he fancies me clad in black— these first yearites sure are giving me a tough time catching my breath back, eh? It should have been my greatest nightmare had it been true. The only black I like is when the fourth yearites don black suits and trample my lawn during their farewell photoshoot. It’s a nostalgic moment *sniffs*. All these years, these kids struggled so hard to survive the depressing holocaust these intellectuals call “Academics”. I have seen them cry, wail, get dejected, and give up. But, these kids always stood back up again. Felt just like yesterday when they struggled while their parents clicked their first photo with me, and now, see, How smart? How Confident they look in these suits. I miss them. I’ll miss their sneaking around campus and striking things off their “One last time before I leave Campus” list. Usually, when one batch graduates, a new one joins to fill its place. But, this time, there was a gap.

Anyway, it was so good to witness the fashion show of these Bhawans. I remember Govind coming up to me and saying, “Mr. Thomson, I am going to dress up in “Game of Thrones” theme.” Our cute, old Govind, always running around seats and thrones. There were some adorable themes this year, but the main attraction was always the food and the barter system of coupons. I think Ravindra served the tastiest food this year. Old Lady Kasturba, as always, spent so long getting ready that she did not have enough time to prepare food. But it was good to see things coming back to life.

However, I don’t think you guys were very happy when the offline exams returned. Oh, how the faces dropped when you were asked about your CGPA. Well, most of you abandoned me and flew back to your nests, leaving a bunch of people struggling in the scorching heat of June and me.

As I looked up at the sky, silently begging the clouds to let go, everyone returned, and normalcy was restored. 15th August was such a beautiful day, with people marching up to LBS with caps and refreshments in hand. The performances and the celebrations in lieu of our Independence were great! Of course, all that was nothing compared to my shining tiranga outfit and my newly painted white pillars.

Mid Term exams and Navratri followed soon after. MGCL, my dear old friend, was overflowing. He could not grab any sleep. Sigh, there were hordes of students in every corner with a charging port. Books, Notes, and Laptops lying everywhere. It’s amazing how you guys get the confidence to cover three months’ worth of syllabus in one night. Those Indian guys on youtube playing at 2x, speaking gibberish, heads bent down, scribbling, trying to grasp whatever information an insomniac brain can store. But you all took out that frustration on Garba night(s), revolving around in ghagras and kurtas (not to mention bumping into random strangers) until you fell over, gasping but smiling.

While some of you were busy enjoying and exploring the campus, from roofs to restaurants, others donned their black suits and ties, trying to look their brightest as they attempted to crack their internship/placement interview at PIC. I could sense the tension in the air, with “woh shortlist ho gya, par uska katt gya end mein”, “ab lag gyi intern, chapo kab de rhe ho?” and similar phrases floating all around campus.

But, for both you and me, the highlight of the year was when my dearest friend Thomso came to pay a visit! After three long years, our very own, cultural fest took the campus by storm. Hordes of young blood flowed in and around campus, some judging others, others trying to score a date and roaming around in groups as the vibrant fest assaulted all five senses. A guy who typically looks like a nerd mesmerises all the girls everywhere when he picks up the guitar and starts singing. You call it the Ed Sheeran Effect (shoutout to NHIE fans).

Dear Lord, I could see creativity blooming to its peak in every corner of the campus, from smashing beats to colourful graffiti, from incredible dance performances to a glamorous fashion show.

And of course, the pronites! LBS jam-packed with screaming fans and dancing kids dripping with sweat (How did you kids breathe in that suffocating crowd, I shall never understand). God, I swear I could hear you all shouting and singing along all the way from here, swaying with Sonu Nigam’s beautiful melody, jamming to Sanam’s music or jumping to Darshan Rawal’s upbeat performance! Just talking about it fills me with a rush of adrenaline!

It was a 3-day fiesta, but your Instagram stories lasted much longer. While everyone struggled to get over Thomso, a new batch of young students joined our grand abode. As always, I posed for innumerable pictures and selfies. My external beauty seems to be the only thing I shall be remembered for *sighs deeply*. I don’t mind the kind of craze there was on my 175th birthday. I was beyond flabbergasted. No stone was left unturned to make me feel that I’m an ageing old man with a flowing white beard that I have to dye too. I still don’t understand how they managed to execute that drone show. Even the startup expo had so many High Tech ideas that I couldn’t process. I was chatting with Sir Cautley a while back, and he said, “It would have been so much easier to construct the Ganga Canal today with the technology these kids have!” Kudos!

Oh, I almost forgot. IIT Roorkee just won the General Championship of the Inter IIT Sports meet! Well, Well, Well, We have come a long way, haven’t we? It would have been really nice had you all been here to witness the nail-biting matches and cheer of the team. But still, it was good to hear the “Roorkee! Roorkee!” chants and all those fun couplets you guys made. Also, Mr LBS got an excuse to get a new makeover along with his family. Speaking of makeovers, a quick shoutout to all my new colleagues and friends! The outstanding Maths and HSS Department, the pretty shed in the Architecture Department and the golden trio: Subway, Utopia and Aroma (You IITians can’t survive without good food, eh?).

All in all, 2022 has been a rollercoaster! So thrilling and yet so emotional. Yes, there was that time when I had to tearfully bid farewell to our Honourable Director and welcome a new one. Sigh, change is never easy but to have witnessed the significant events that lit up IIT Roorkee or the small ones between you kids while you took a round of my beautiful lawn, happily gossiping or having serious discussions… truly made me feel young and alive again. My towering pillars may turn yellow with time, but I know the people here will rejuvenate them with a fresh splash of sparkling white and adorn my life with colourful flowers and vibrant conversations. With that hope, I welcome every new year and advise you to do the same, my dear children.

Ah, well, I have blabbered enough. I hope you kids have fun and wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Looking forward to seeing you all tonight! Oh, my poor lawn. I hope it survives.