Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Decadent

Sometime in the midst of this month’s bedlam is wrapped a day that would purportedly mark a significant milestone in my life as well as a whole bunch of others who journeyed the same time as me. I am not sure it really is significant enough, but I am raising the bar on it. In some ways, it is as important as a 30th birthday or a five year anniversary at a job: it means something if you want it to. The event I am talking about: completion of ten years since graduation; since I bade goodbye to my alma mater that mattered: SPCE (Sardar Patel College of Engineering). This post won’t be an exercise in reminiscing. There’s just so much history in the days gone by and the place that was that it would be patently unfair to try and summarize that in a few paragraphs. I see flashes of that era littered around me: photographs on Facebook, the college magazines stocked and piled in my house, a quiz club that is still active since its inception when I was in my second year, friends who are a click away, among others. Those hard evidences abound and most likely still will be there for a while to come. There’s enough ammunition to make one misty-eyed and smile into empty spaces when the mind wanders or a song jogs up old memories.

What makes the ten year anniversary significant is that it serves as a good assessment point: step back, look at yourself, look and appraise the universe around you, look back at what you had wanted and where you are with it. Perhaps you could call it the early-mid-life crisis, or an impending reality check. I suppose its a little less pressure when you weren’t marked for greatness, and I say that in the utmost bitter less manner possible. For us, the bar is a fluctuating line that varies from discovering your potential, to fulfilling it; from realizing that some dreams were out of reach, but others are within the grasp of effort and reality; that there’s joy in reveling and marveling at the success of your peers and satisfaction at realizing that you are making a decent impact too. There’s joy in marveling at how you couldn’t have predicted where you’d be in ten years, who you’d be with, and that your best creation till date will be a study in flailing arms and unintelligible warbles. Ultimately, this is an occasion to smile at the glorious uncertainties of life: if you couldn’t predict accurately how the last ten years were going to be, chances are your image of what happens ten years hence will also be imperfect. So, here’s to the class of 1999: toast to yourself and the joy that is life; You’ve done well!

15 comments:

Ankit said...

My congratulations. I'm always amazed at how much I've changed since graduation and how much I've learned from life. There is still time for this milestone for me but I hope that I'll be able to look back at the present time and still be as amazed.

Do you feel the same way? That in all those confident, self-assured years, you were never quite completely right- which is a good thing because there is always room for improvement, learning, experience, knowledge... life. Here's to many more years of creative expression, rational inquiry, family. Here's to life. Good luck!

Pallavi Shrivastava said...

Well written, Parth!

Extempore said...

You've made me feel even more maudlin than I was feel an hour ago. :-)
I'm almost ten years done with my BA and I'm sincerely hoping that I'm content with whatever I've got to show for it then.

Parth said...

@Ankit: I feel more intrigued than amazed at how things stand today. There are certainly some evidences of growth and landmarks that make me happy, but like you said, there's always room to do more. There is also amusement at some vague romantic notions about life that clear up are altered when you have bills to pay and a job to do. Thanks for the wishes.

@Pallavi: Thanks

@Extempore: Looks like my timing has been good :) Would love to hear your thoughts when you get there.

RTD2 said...

The irony is, your 'best creation' has come about despite, not because of, college ;)
In all seriousness, thanks for this refreshing look at what may be a non-event in many lives...

neel said...

I love how eventually, most things in life, turn and become more or less things to look back and smile at.... even those odd heartbreaks and accidents, which might have taken such ominous proportions at that time....

sometimes, time isn't a bad thing....:)

i love this post! i think all of us can relate to this.....

Congratulations from me as well.... :) and here's to another decade of happy uncertainties

Parth said...

@RTD2: For some, the creation comes because of college :)

@Neel: Thanks, and I totally agree. Look back at how much heartburn board exams had caused and what value those hold now, in hindsight.

Sneha said...

Congratulations! Great post! :-)
It's been 2 years since I've graduated. 8 more to go for me to write a similar post!

Parth said...

@Sneha: You make me feel old :(

Sneha said...

Parth - that was not the intention!

Parth said...

@Sneha: I was just kidding. You are hardly causing any grief. There are others who are born in the same decade I was getting out of school. And that list will only grow ...

Niranjan said...

Wonderful post - brought back nostalgic memories of my own time - esp the magazine(got to add that I have had the rare honor of having a poem published on the same page as yours - I've quit writing poems since - blame it on peer pressure ;-)).

Its fascinating - the diversity of careers that folks from the class have gone on to pursue. But let me not get all maudlin yet - have 3 more years to decadence.

Parth said...

@Niranjan: I have to go back and check the magazine to read what you wrote :) The magazine was certainly something very close to my heart. Will be looking forward to reading your post when you get to the mark

frissko said...

"and that your best creation till date will be a study in flailing arms and unintelligible warbles"

:). Great post. It's strange how the undergrad years somehow rank among the most significant of years. After so many years, if we keep going back to that time and place in our head, that's something. I am from the batch of 99 myself, and some 4 of us plus a creation (that incidentally happened because of college) did make an event of it by getting together at Yellowstone (we would've met anyways, but just acknowledged the 10 year thing and tried to get more people in)...

Parth said...

@Frissko: It is great to hear that you managed a reunion. Our plan never really took off.