My class was given the traditional farewell today by the rest of the English department.
I didn't think, as I shuffled my way into the cafe feeling horribly embarrassed about having to wear matching t-shirts with the rest of my class, preparing myself for long and tedious speeches that meant nothing because they could apply to anyone and everyone, that I would be moved. I'm not sentimental about leaving college. I had a good run - if not perfect, as someone said - and I have a lot of wonderful memories, but, just like when it was time to leave school, I'm done, and ready to walk through the gates one last time without a backward glance.
But I was moved.
The second years organised it, and they'd gone through a lot of trouble. They put up a string of beautiful black and white photos of all of us - strangely endearing, because of the time and effort that must have been spent facebook stalking in order to get them - and they made delicious cake, and they gave us personalised glasses (mine was based on my blog - I knew it would be). We squealed over the photos for a bit, and then took our seats, and I was already feeling something.
Thampu made a speech - the usual "I have seen you from a distance and though we have not closely interacted I can sense (how?) your fine characters, blah blah blah" - and departed. Then Dr Roy said something along the same lines, but his voice is awesome so there is no way not to love what he says especially when he smirks, and you could tell that he genuinely meant a lot of what he was saying, though he refrained from making allusions to awkward silences in tutorials because no one knows the answer to any of his questions. It was especially nice when he referred to meeting some of us in unexpected places ("the culprits will know what I'm talking about") which was obviously a reference to all the times we have avoided eye contact with him (and he with us) while smoking behind the shed outside Happy Park.
Anyway, I don't want to go into the details, but I wasn't bored, I wasn't embarrassed, and there were some genuine moments of hilarity and fun and comradeship: a reflection of similar unexpected parcels of happiness that college has occasionally carelessly flung at us over the years.
Susan told me later that she felt surprisingly touched too.
"I thought it would be lame," she said, "but I got really emotional at times. I was like, come on Susan. What's wrong with you?"
Someone told me - a lifetime ago - that college would be the best years of my life. I fervently hope that is untrue, because otherwise it's all downhill from here, but I do feel I've gained something. I even know how to iron now, for crying out loud.
I know a couple of my juniors occasionally visit this blog, and this post is really for you: a thank you for a truly wonderful farewell. It made me realise that underneath all my complaints about Delhi weather, and piles of tutorial readings (unread, mostly), and the mosquitoes that plague me in my bedroom, and the wasps that plague me in class, and the birds that plague me wherever I go and are not relevant here, but I might as well put them in, and the occasional desire to strangle a professor, or a fellow classmate, and the embarrassment, suspicion, and boredom, I associate with events like this, there lies something incredibly precious.
It is precious because it is a beginning, and not an end. Though most of us will eventually take paths that lead to misery, oblivion, or obesity, right now we are only just setting off, and can easily believe that the world is waiting, ripe and heavy, to fall into our outstretched hands.