Feels odd writing this post. Messages to graduating seniors are often written by leaders in industry and academia, citing the challenges that the new generation faces, and adding that yours may be greater than previously, but they are challenges that ambitious and savvy young leaders will find ways to overcome. And asking you to consider what you learned in the classroom not as a foundation, but rather as a launch pad... you know the yada yada...
I'll just put in my two cents, as a junior who has lived the past few years in your awe. The world is a very different place from when you entered four or five years ago. Looking at the last three of those years, which would have been an otherwise extremely difficult journey for us, I can now see how smoothly we transitioned, all because you carried us that way. When I see where we have reached, from schoolboys stammering out messy 'intro's, to orators giving, well, not-so-messy intros, I see the change you've brought upon entire generations. From fear, of going to Cheddi's in first year, and of those wringing voices in the senior hall corridors the next, to an incomparable sense of respect, for someone though merely a year or two old, but a friend, mentor and guide.
When we look at you, we see that we have a long way to go, big shoes to fill. Be it securing the dream jobs in the corporate and technology world, hallowed offer letters from the topmost Universities in Technology, Science, Management and Law, germinating innovative entrepreneurial ventures... you've got it all.
And when I think of it, what is an IIT education all about anyway? It's about IITians. It's about you. About 600 exceptional boys (and a few girls)on a campus, which, in the case of Kharagpur, is far enough from civilisation to have had very interesting effects on your coming of age. A few drop out, a few didn't live to see this day, and their memories remain etched in our hearts. I suppose you became tougher, more mature, more knowing, and more aware of your dark sides, as are we, in the process of becoming. You have lived and eaten together, and shared your joys and heartbreaks and good times and bad times, in competition and camaraderie.
To quote further from Senior Indian Journalist (former managing editor of Outlook) and IIT Kharagpur Alumnus Sandipan Deb's own memoirs:
When we graduated, we went out into the world with a rare confidence and strong tribal loyalties. The confidence eroded a bit over the years, and we learnt some humility when we discovered non-IITians as smart as we were, and also people who could outwit us because they were intelligent in a different way-in a sly political way-an acumen we had not developed in our isolated environment which, above all, inculcated a sense of fairness and a respect for ability. We came to terms with a world that compared poorly with our beloved campus, and some of us even went ahead and conquered it. Others didn't do well, but knew that the ties between them and the masters-of-the-universe classmates would never change.
They were ties born of the pride of being an IITian.
That pride would never diminish.
It never can.
To end, I would remind you that Chhedi's, Asim's, Aunties, Bhaat, Bhajan (!), Bongs, Cali, Candi, Carlos, Despo, Diro, DOSA, Footer, Funda, GC, DC, PremB, GolB, GolC, GPL, Gults, Gymkhana, Tempo, Illu, Intro, Matka, Matki, Rassa, Rassi, Menty, OP, Schols Ave, Stud, Tinku, Juice, God, Maggu, Makhau, Arbit, Huha, Halu, Frusst, Load, Peace, 2.2... are just some of the things you'll miss.
And if it ain't obvious by now, you'll be missed...