April fool’s day was around the corner and I wished the following weekend to be a long, convoluted figment of our collective imagination. Monday onwards GIM will settle itself in the background of our lives, forever. 3oth march was the convocation for the batch of 2013 and thereafter, officially the best will be behind us.
Most of the students had already arrived on campus as there was a rehearsal planned early next morning. Some of the students had never left after the final exams since it was the best opportunity to relax and to absorb the ‘Susegaad’ vibe one last time- Who knows when our next ungodly hour visit to the Panjim Nescafe would be. All of us arriving from our respective cities were battling the question of whether we had come from home or come back to it.
Needless to say 29th Night was one big celebration. Some had decided to participate in the revelries at the hostel for the last time, while others had picked up their bikes and cars and decided to spend the night reminiscing at a friendly neighbourhood beach shack.
30th March (Morning)
Readers unfamiliar with the rigours of an MBA life would probably be surprised to know that regardless of the fact that most parties/Adda sessions/hangouts the previous night lasted till early dawn (or even later)- every single student turned up on time early morning for the convocation rehearsal.
The rehearsal really made us appreciate the operational dynamics of organizing the convocation day- 240 students had to be marched into the MPH (Multipurpose hall), the guests had to be escorted in, speeches had to be made, degrees had to be handed over and finally the grand dinner had to be had.
The rehearsal wound up quickly and we were given a couple of hours to refresh, feed and groom ourselves.
We were required to assemble in the Acad block at 4 in the afternoon, dressed in our formal best to collect the convocation gowns and for the batch photograph. Jairam Ramesh’s claim of the convocation gown being a ‘barbaric colonial practice’ in context of the Indian summer is a relevant debate, however it is a debate for another day. One look at the batch photographs and the convocation albums on facebook and you realize that the gown truly makes the convocation look like the more polished, aristocratic brother of the ‘farewell’.
30th March (Evening)
A single line of 240 students entered the MPH and were overwhelmed by the sight of the hall decked in its full glory. The scene was almost Hogwarts like with the chairmen and the members of the governing board seated on the dais in red robes. The faculty also adorning the red robe had occupied the front seats. The great mass of black robed students was sitting in the centre surrounded by the camera friendly parents. Snapshot clicks were reverberating in the auditorium throughout the ceremony.
The chief guest for our convocation ceremony was the much esteemed Mr Kishor Chaukar, MD and CEO of TATA Industries (Retd). The ceremony opened with the invocation by the chairman of the board- Mr R Gopalakrishnan, followed by the director’s address by Dr Sunil Rai, who stepped in as the new director of GIM in the academic year 2012-2013. He informed the stakeholders about the vast expansion our campus has seen in the last year in terms of infrastructure and capacity building and how we are inching closer to becoming the most environment friendly campus in the country. He also mentioned the high number of admission applications this year and how they have been consistently rising in number irrespective of the economic environment. In the address he also congratulated many students and faculty for garnering various accolades over the past academic year and making our institution proud.
After his speech there was a vote of thanks by the chairperson- Mr R Gopalakrishnan, where he thanked the faculty for nurturing the students so well over the past two years; the parents for being present for the ceremony and wished the graduating batch much success and a very bright future ahead.
It was now time to head for the grand dinner and to start saying final goodbyes. Many students were leaving on the same night and the majority of them were leaving by the next day. There was some consolation in the fact that most of us would be seeing each other in a couple of weeks in the commercial hubs of Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi- but there was also an underlying apprehension about these cities, as two years in GIM had made us incapable of making any other place home.