As I returned from the gym at 6:50 AM and approached Azad, I saw a man, in his 40s, also going to Azad. As I overtook him, I started speculating. Maybe he’s a parent of a first year. Maybe he’s a staff member ?
When I was about to unlock my room, the mystery man M, spoke with a deep voice - “That’s my room. Uh,I used to live there.”. With the graduation 2 days away, I realised he’s an alumnus, graduating this year. He then proceeded, “I’m SP(name withheld), I was here from 1998 to 2003.”. Not forgetting my manners, I welcomed him to his own room. “It hasn’t changed much. The doors haven’t been painted since I left” - he remarked with a sense of nostalgia. He later informed me he’s working with a startup incubated in Kharagpur, and he’s from CS. Since our department helped their startup grow, I was well aware of their work. He enquired how things have changed, and most yet remain the same. We proceeded to have breakfast together, where he fondly introduced me to some of the old mess staff (some of them having served over 30 yrs). “You know, a group of alumni pooled in to refurbish Patel Hall’s mess. Is there anything that I could do, to improve life in Azad in a significant way ?”. My mind was blank, blanker than now empty Swiss banks. “Here’s my number, let me know what I could do for Azad”. I drew 2 observations worth sharing:
It was such a chance meeting. Almost everyone in Azad was sleeping when we intended to visit the room, at 6:55 am. I don’t think he would’ve knocked. I had to go to the gym and return, at the exact instant he was supposed to arrive at my room. Such a chance meeting. I had to be given this room. Mind you, this was only the second day this semester that I had woken up before 6, and only the second day I went to the gym.
We develop a certain level of attachment with our alma mater. The people we do not even talk to, become what we bond with once we return. In the simplest of terms, no matter how old you are, you’re still passionate about your hall. Yo Azad !