Valedictory Address - NITK Ring Presentation Ceremony

Good evening Mr. S.S. Mantha ,Chairman of AICTE, Mr. B.R.Bhat, respected Directors, Deans, our beloved faculty, staff and my adorable friends. We are gathered here on the solemn occasion of valediction after four years of what almost 500 students can vouch for as their best times in their life. From naive, idealistic, sober juveniles, we have transformed into mature, sometimes high-spirited individuals who shall be passing on the baton that has been so regally passed on for the past 5 decades in this Institute. Looking at all the high-flying batches pass out in front of us over the past four years, there was always a sense of trepidation that we might just drop the baton at this critical juncture. Well, it turns out that the army of individuals that are seated here in their best of attire have attained what has been rarely achieved and what will be tough to emulate in the years to come. Be it in landing some of the finest jobs in the market, admits to the finest Technical and Business Schools across the country and the world, or be it in chasing their long-cherished dreams, we have made each other proud!

I still remember the day my Dad left for Bangalore after dropping me in college. The flyover outside SBI gate wasn't there and as I made my way back to the powerless hostel block, I can still recollect how I tried fighting my tears back by staring at the lone streetlight on the road. I was lucky, I had friends from school till I could make new ones. It was not long before I was discussing about the taxi situation in Mumbai, the JEE coaching situation in Bhopal, the Burj Hotel in Dubai or talk about making trips to Puri with an Oriya friend. The hostel served as the true melting pots of culture that the Pandit had envisioned of India five decades back. Speaking of pots, plenty lurked in the dark rooms of the mess as they waited for the sambhar that would so lovingly be downed by us fortunate souls after a hard day's work at the dingy EG rooms. The regular bi-monthly trips to Bangalore for laundary and take-back goodies was to become weekly as hordes of us waited to pounce on a Friday or Monday festival and take back the Mangla Expresses, Durgambas, Pragathis, Airatvathas and General compartments, only to return a kg fatter. As we proud NITKians attended our very first Incident and Engineer, it started to become a foundation to what was to be witnessed in a couple of years. Juniors got to familiarize with seniors - be it on courts, fields, quizzes or ill-lit but happy air of the final block. Soon, after a reality check of End-Sems of 2nd sem, we were to return and we celebrated our entry to the department with paper dances and pizzas. The whole lot of us sweated it out through the hot sun and torrential rains alike with 8 hours of packed schedules. Being from our Electrical department, I was soon left to only recall such schedules with fondness.

Internships and projects were being hunted the world over as we saw yet another batch pass out with flying colours. Responsibilities with technical and cultural festivals and clubs began to slowly fall on our shoulders. The effect of the club structure in college became evident as teams went across - winning key quizzes, concerts, personality contests and what not, across different colleges in the country! Academics never took the backseat as the college teams aced major co-curricular events - including robotics, Racing, vision-bots, coding and paper presentations. Semester five began with new rooms and roommates and not so new problems like the heat and rains. This was to be the last and the toughest year of toil in our pursuit of the coveted degree. Our year went into relapse, suddenly hit by recession and it's effects. As we sunk our heads in dusty books, on dusty tables sipping cold chocolate, capaccino and eating veg noodles, we relived the initial days of college. And then, it was over. Final Year had come! NITK junta could yet again be found in the academic corridors of IISc, LSE and across Europe, pursuing their internships and projects in that one final lap before the grand applications process began. Placement fever began, with untouched textbooks being explored in the comforting environs of home. The TIME mock-aptis had begun and we soon returned to college with a lot of hope from this academic year. Placements picked up massively and pretty much everyone who wanted a job were placed. Soon, the admits poured in from all corners of the globe - Stanford, CMU, Columbia, Norway, France and everywhere. GATE results came too and some sensational performances have landed the toppers in some of the most prized Institutions in the country. After all the brouhaha over CAT, there was an extraordinary performance by this batch. Yet again, there will be a large amount of NITK presence felt across all the IIMs - especially A,B and C. So, as we celebrate the end of what has been the most memorable roller coaster ride, we prepare ourselves to bid each other rather tearful goodbyes. Our effort towards Smriti and Vitruvian is only a step in this direction - so that they form tangible forms of reminisce decades down the line.

So as we bid our final goodbyes to the beach temples, the egg rotis and maggi at Sundar's, the first year maggi at Nescafe, the samosa belting and Amul kool guzzling, the watermelon juice at Samudra Darshini, the half fry and Jeera rice and lime at NC and so much more, we will forever remember these sights and smells, even if a lifetime of more comfortable and less pungent fragrances beckon. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shettre for his wonderful running of Samudra Darshini and the Night Canteen. A boon on campus, the food here - healthy as it comes, served hundreds of hungry stomachs - through fests, exams and parties.

Having recalled all the nostalgic elements that had become so ingrained in our lives, it would be a blunder to not be thankful to the people because of whom all of this has been possible. The faculty who were more than just that - being friends and confidantes during problems and dilemmas, the staff that helped us not just during End semester exams , the mess workers for their round-the-clock unappreciated service, the librarians, the sweepers, the guards and so many others who we knew only by face.

So today, as we stand here, as Kadu last year said 'at the brink of the start of yet another rat race', the ring that is symbolic on so many levels will be presented to us. I say symbolic because I guess it represents the act of crowning the finger that has gotten into so much pain - through the lenghty papers and all that. And what better way to pay a tribute to it than have the ring etched with the name of the alma mater that I am sure all of us will fondly remember.

I guess I have taken quite a bit of your time, so let me conclude this. It will be tough saying goodbye to all of this but it should be done. And as I prepare to do so, I know I will stare back at that very street light I had seen four years back and fight my tears back, one final time. It would perhaps be fitting to end this long speech by a small quote that has formed the philosophy of scores of achievers - And that is To Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Thank You everybody.... Hope you have a wonderful evening and dinner!

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