December 11, 2014

Of Context and Timelessness - My College Diaries

I believe in context, in my approach towards everything in life. Nothing makes sense to me unless I understand the bigger picture. My actions, especially, must be in accordance to this philosophy. I apply the same logic while blogging.

What's the context of remembering college days, 5.5 years after graduation? It's almost three years since my Masters graduation as well. Life has changed. It no longer revolves around the Food Court, silly crushes and GPAs. What's there from my late teens to early twenties that I can relate to in my late twenties? As I sit back and introspect, I could see 2 very significant factors that make my college days relevant, even now.

The first and foremost is the relationships that I built there.

Over the years, I have come to realize that it's harder to make friends now. There was something in that age of 18 to 22 when making friends came naturally to us. May be it was the naivety, but it gave all of us some of the best people we have met in our lives.  My core group of friends, still remains the same. Distances, jobs, marriages, and even, not meeting each other for years,  has not affected that. These are the people I share my laughter, sorrows, successes and failures with.  They are, as I often call them, my circle of trust. None of us are overachievers or possess an extraordinary prowess in our respective fields. All of our struggles made us stronger and sharing them with each other made the successes sweeter and the failures easier to live through. That also kept us relevant in each others’ lives. So, whether it was a setback in USA or a roadblock in Hyderabad or a hiccup in Germany, it was shared. It also taught us how parallel our lives still remain despite of all that differs. The assurance to have people, who have known you for a decade, on speed dial, is priceless.

The other thing that  I attribute to my college days is my writing. The first opportunity, applause, feedback and motivation, all came from my college. Writing has also always been cathartic for me. It’s the best outlet for my emotions and opinions. When I left college, on May 19, 2009, I felt devastated and so did most my friends. I felt lost even though I had a roadmap for my future. And writing came to my rescue.

I struggled for a week and finally, on the night of May 25, 2009, sat down and penned a post to calm my inner self. I recounted my last days, the lessons learnt and a promise to move on. It was 1550 words of raw emotions. This contest made me go back in time and read through those words and I would like to share some excerpts –

Lesson I – A Myth broken- Night of May 9, 2009 (when the first group of friends left)
Boys don't cry. The only occasions when boys do cry is their sister's wedding, that too in the end, hiding and wiping off the tears as fast as possible. However, that night was an exception. There were very few words exchanged but still no tears! The taxi arrived and we started to arrange the luggage. A strange silence surrounded us. Then something happened. 2 friends hugged each other and started crying. It was sudden, like opening the floodgates! I looked up to Naveen, the biggest and the most muscular guy of our group. He was off, totally. He couldn't hold back and dragged all us into a group hug. Strangely, it all felt good. Boys don't cry, alright, but boys can cry, and that’s alright too.

 Lesson II – A Truth Realized- Night of May 17, 2009 (second last day of college)

In the middle of the night, myself and Udayan started talking of the past and soon we both became quite vulnerable and called up our mentor-Rishi Bhaiya. He made us realize that we will learn to be apart from each other. May be this separation from people, we have been with 24x7 for the past 4 years, is necessary for our growth as individuals.
There was nothing new that he told us. But it was the timing or the way he told us that it struck the right chord. We just looked at each other, shook hands and I left. On my way back, I was thinking about MS in USA, Stony Brook vs Rutgers etc, nothing of the past but every trivial thing of the future. The Rishi Magic had worked."

 " Lesson III-An Era Ended- May 19, 2009

All said and done, we were still leaving the place we loved to hate for four years. There were a lot of people leaving that day. Hence, a lot of goodbyes and hugs. There is no better feeling to be seen off by our best friends. It makes you feel that there are people who care, there are people who miss you and there are people who want to see you again. The train moved and VIT was left behind- a place we loved to hate."

Looking ahead, doesn't mean forgetting the past. My college life did shape me for the future. I have met some amazing people in the past 5 years and, I could build new memories with them, only because of my experiences in my formative years in college. For all that, and a lot more, I treasure my college days.

05BBT215 would always be significant.

College, Context, Diary, Emotions, Friends, Laughter, Love, Memory, Optimistic, Pain, Sorrow, Tears, Time, Vellore,
In 5 years, one thing hasn't changed, my best friend , Ramya, still oozes the same energy!

College, Context, Diary, Emotions, Friends, Laughter, Love, Memory, Optimistic, Pain, Sorrow, Tears, Time, Vellore,
The "Circle of Trust"- over the years- from left pic 2- Rohit, Siddharth, Swagat, Udayan and Pankaj

College, Context, Diary, Emotions, Friends, Laughter, Love, Memory, Optimistic, Pain, Sorrow, Tears, Time, Vellore,
And we meet again. Naveen and I at Times Square, 2013

'This post is my entry for 'My College Diary' contest held by travel blog My Yatra Diary in collaboration with' 

I tag Rishikant (,
Udayan ( 
and Aseem ( to write on this topic


  1. That's a very emotional post but what I am interested in - your crushes :P

    You have to write a post about them.

    Good luck, those excerpts made the post real special.

  2. I know that feeling. Flipping through the pages and travelling down the memory lane. I am glad you had friends who never left your side and didn't let the distance lighten any shade of color.
    Loved reading your post. :)
    Good luck

  3. It sucks that your best days are in your past

  4. Such a beautiful post, Prateek - one can actually feel how friends and relationships have been special to you. The friends you make in your earlier days of life are often the ones that stay for most of the rest of your life. I really wish you could have submitted this one in time...


Now, it is time to be honest !