This post is very easily over 2 months late in appearing, but nevertheless I was finally able to finish and post it.
It was simply put, the 3 best days I have had in a long long time. Exceeding all my expectations and fantasies, I returned from my convo with a big smile on my face. Here I recollect all my memories from those 3 days.
After much delay and speculation, my convo date was finally fixed on Jan 31 2009. The day I was supposed to be bestowed upon with a Bachelor of Technology degree for my 4 years of improvised laziness and unproductivity. But my plans included a lot more than just that. Considering the fact that I had been practically sober for over 5 months, my priorities took shape around appropriate issues. I also had a list of things to do in college which I held close to me during my stay there. So, in decreasing order of priority and importance, here is the list of what all I intended to accomplish:
- Get drunk.
- Get drunk and then get sloshed.
- Go for a midnight inebriated walk around the campus.
- Then get drunk again.
- Meet all my teachers.
- Eat the early morning hot Buns at Thadambail.
- Meet all other relevant people.
- Eat at 3rd Block Night Canteen.
- Visit the beach and eat the egg omlette at the nearby shack.
- Download as much as possible from DC++.
- And not to forget, I was also supposed to collect my degree!
So with these objectives in mind, I set out to my college in a train accompanied by dozens of fellow to-be-graduates. After getting duly blasted by the TC for being over zealous in disturbing co-passengers who were not to-be-graduates, I went to sleep. At around 9:30 AM, I found Sadanand and myself camping in the same junior’s room and I couldn’t help being reminded that we were room mates once again. The junior looked exactly like how anyone would look half an hour prior to committing suicide. But then, that aside, there were a lot of changes worth noticing in and around the campus. The Highway was in impeccable condition, the new hostel blocks were towering at 7 storeys and a few new buildings were already up and running. But alas! One thing had apparently remained the same, as if in defiance to all the changes happening around-there was still no god damn water in the hostel blocks!
And so, at around 11, I finally met my classmates and went to speak to my teachers. It felt really nice to go back to where it all began for me. Met both my Geotech teachers because of whom I have whatever identity I got right now and informed them of my first admit. Needless to say, they were pretty happy as well. Had lunch at the newly opened “Suraj International” thinking there would be alcohol as well, but alas, they didn’t serve drinks. And soon after, I found myself in Mangalore watching Luck By Chance at Bharath Mall and I have to say, the movie was good. But the best part of the day was yet to come.
Tul was conducting a quiz (unfortunately under sober conditions) and though I didn’t take part in it, it was anyway an informal affair with a lot of nice questions. Practically the entire quizzing gang had turned up for the quiz and stuck together to get drunk at the one and only Garuda Bar as well. Choukkar, the alcoholic had apparently been sloshed the entire day but didn’t mind remaining that way for much longer. And as far as I was concerned, I was getting drunk with fellow alcoholics after more than 7 months-and thats all I cared about. And I was duly joined by my room mate alcoholic Sadanand who had, in the meantime, gone to Mangalore on a mission of utmost importance and almost succeeded completely! In spite of his failure, he had still gone one up on my To-do list! And so as he joined the drinking party already drunk, it became very evident that he was enjoying it! And to add to the shady atmosphere, some old melodious Kannada songs started blaring in the Bar speakers and sounded real awesome! After most of the gang had left, we decided to call it quits at around 12:30 in the night with Gayru who had come all the way from IIM Kolkata and it was nice catching up and belting our very own Karadi. Finally, we ended up in one of our Junior-Harish’s-room nice and high, with plans of watching a movie. Those plans drastically changed 2 minutes into the movie when Sadanand just crashed and went off to sleep. So soon, even I left to my camping room- the dude with the suicide on his face-and went off to sleep.
I woke up early next day, slightly disoriented, wondering for a few seconds where I was and what had happened the previous night. Then when it all came back to me, I got ready and realized I had to get myself registered for the convo. So I went with Sadanand and got registered at the SJA and also convinced him to have the famed Idly-Vada-Sambar breakfast with me at our very own Mysore Mess-I. He was of the opinion that the mess worker would chase us once he found out that we were not students anymore. But nothing like that happened. A new mess worker gave us the eye but let us eat all the idlis we wanted. And they were still awesome! Free Breakfast!
And as for the convocation itself, all of us were present at the SJA half an hour before time and that was sufficient time to catch up with all of the 18 classmates who had turned up. A dress code of white formal shirts with ties and black trousers and black shoes was flouted by many including me. In due time, the entire senate entered the auditorium to an entrancing music. All the members of the senate were clothed in a strange attire fitting their designations and the whole thing looked more like we were getting inducted into some major cult rather than getting our degrees! And so after all the formalities got underway, the speeches started. And after the speeches ended, the degree giving began. First to all the MTechs and MCAs and then to the BTechs. My parents had come and were watching from the first floor. And I have to say this: The moment I collected my degree which made me a Graduate of Civil Engineering from NITK Surathkal, I felt absolved of all my guilt and regret of not having made it into an IIT and was more than just happy to have spent 4 of my most memorable years here in NITK.
By the time I went back to my room, it was 530 in the evening and Sadanand left to Mangalore with a more noble objective. And I found myself in the company of Logik, Con and a certain female entity who had suddenly lost significant weight-headed for the beach. On the way, I was able to tick off one more on my To-Do list when I ate the Egg Omlette at the Egg Shack near the Lighthouse. Then, after some confusion, I found myself on the beach, sitting on the rocks, talking and catching up on old times for a very long time. It was almost 9 in the night when we decided to go back to the campus. Somehow, I wish I could have stayed there on those rocks feeling the breeze and hearing the waves splash, for a much longer time.
On my way back, I met my HoD and he was really happy to see me. Having been extremely co-operative and helpful during my course, I was really happy to see him as well. After a brief chat with him, I parked myself in front of my Dept for some more chatting session. Shortly, my junior and drink buddy for the night,Harish, turned up from Mangalore and we both went to do what we were meant to do-get totally drunk. Adrian joined us for our drinking session, as promised. I opened my Black Dog Scotch which I had been saving for over 6 months just for this moment and raised a toast to my Convo. Half an hour later, the bottle is empty and so I open the Tetrapack of DSP that I had bought in the last week of my stay in the hostel. I had saved this too for this date. And after that also got over, Adrian hit upon this very useful idea and next thing I know, I have about 180ml of William Grant’s exquisite Scotch with me in my bottle. With that, we escape out of the hostel and all the way to my Dept, where we camp to finish the extra quarter Scotch. Time passes by and none of us 3 are in touch with it. After the Scotch gets over, I pay my tribute to my Dept by leaving behind all traces of alcohol consumption at the steps leading in front of the Dept Building. All 3 of us, totally drunk by now, head to SAC and talk more nonsense. Logik joined us shortly thereafter. After some more idle chat, I call up Royan (the main reason I am an alcoholic) and talk to him for about half an hour during which time he tells me something he did that suddenly spiked my respect for him. (Hail Royan! Thou art in a diferent continent and at a different level altogether! I Bow to thee!!) And soon after, my conversation with Royan ended, largely due to the zero balance that Adrian’s phone began to claim. However, the night was still young, and I was still pretty high. Harish had crashed on the stage where some Shamiana had been put up. I fulfilled another of my long standing goals by performing “Aqualung” in SAC to a non-Zero crowd with my air guitar! I then joined Adrian in singing “Turn the Page” to the same crowd.
Me and Adrian : ” …Smoke the day’s last cigarette..remembering what she said…what she said”
Adrian (immediately): Here I am!! On the road again!!
Me: Hey wait man! I need to play the lead still! (I walk into the front and play the lead!)
After the song is over and I have played the outro as well, Adrian finds Harish sleeping on the stage and upsets the support used to tie the Shamiana in place and lo and behold! This dude, suddenly springs to life and jumps out of the stage in a flash expecting the entire thing to come down on him-which incidentally didn’t happen. Nevertheless, we found ourselves at 3rd Block Night Canteen treated as the last customers for the night and I end up having some Vada Pav.Now i wish I had also had the Lassi.
I dont recollect what time it was exactly, but it was pretty late in the night-almost early morning. We head to the rooms to get some cash to eat the early morning hot buns at Thadambail and when I went back to the room, I was in for a treat! Though not officially on my To-Do list for the convo, it was always there at the back of my mind. And to do the stuff in that state of mind, at that time with fellow like-minded people (some of whom had passed out during their marathon 6 hour long session) and with copious amounts of Mint flavored Hukka, it was a lot more than I could ask for! All thanks to the DASA guys, my Convo experience was complete and perfect!
I was then officially and properly stoned and went in that state to Thadambail to have the hot buns. Every piece of the Bun-Sambhar combo was like an experience of a sudden spike in the bliss factor. And with my senses in an extra alert state, I savored each and every moment of it! By the time I came back, daylight was just cracking open in the sky. I bid good night(morning) to fellow drunkards and went to sleep. Now THAT is what I would call A LONG AND MEMORABLE NIGHT!
Having checked off practically everything on my TO-Do list for the convo by then, I realized I was relatively free when I woke up and so spent the rest of the day in peace. Just went to Mangalore for a short trip to meet a friend and that apart, I spent most of my time in the room filling up my newly bought hard disk with everything I could possibly lay my hands on in DC++. In the end, I found I could only fill around 160GB and not more, largely due to a blatant lack of time.
I finally pack and leave at around 6 and meet some juniors on the way. Although I would have wished to have spent more time with one of them, I still had a smile on my face when I finally boarded the bus and headed to the railway station.
And so there was my NITK Convocation. Couldn’t have been any better or perfect for me. Will remain as one of the most memorable times I have had in a long time!