Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Graduation and it's all over - Really!!!

Pic: Graduation!!!!

The feelings on 12th May, 2007 can just not be translated into words as I went on to the dais to shake hands with the chancellor and the dean in the presence of a host of dignitaries, and more importantly in the presence of some of the closest friends at Rolla. Yes! I am talking about the graduation ceremony at UMR, Rolla. Yadu and I have had a similar background with both of us having worked for a couple of years in the same company before doing our masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and having arrived at the same time, it was highly imperative that we leave together.

Pic: 1300, #7 - Rama, me, Venkatesh and Yadu

The graduation ceremony is certainly a once in a lifetime experience, and I just understood why this ceremony is so important in the United States. I have none of my family members in the United States and so, obviously, I look upon friends before taking any step in this big land. I, rather we, had the good fortune of having some of the closest guys around. Rama flew in from Pittsburg, Karthik Chandramouli (KC) from Sunnyvale, Shubhika from NJ and Abhi from Tulsa exclusively for our graduation ceremony. As people were pouring out of Rolla to various places, it was really good to see people coming from far off places to grace the occasion. It was just good to know that these guys were attaching so much importance to your progress in life. There was this amazing feeling of "Oh! They are here for us!", which is truly unbeatable to any other in life. Everybody also knew that this was going to be one of the few opportunities for all of us to be together. After this, there is this traumatic question of When are we going to meet next and more importantly where and how? It certainly can bring a nostalgic feeling to anyone around. So, here we got together to enjoy the last moments in Rolla and in style!

Pic: Castleman Hall, Leach Theater

The incoming people from the other states slowly clamored into Rolla, and slowly, the trickles just clogged the university town. Nobody had seen Rolla more crowded than what it was on Friday and Saturday (11 and 12 May, 2007). People were there all around and every house had about 10 occupants easily. Discussions and arguments were flying thick and fast. The other guys were catching up on the latest happenings in Rolla. If you are wondering how Rolla can generate so much gossip, ask the Indian community around, and you will go back with a plethora of information. Information gets churned here faster than the speed of light and I really mean it. Yadu was showing off his new found love, his new car, Mercedes Benz. It was a real beauty. All of us took turns to get into the driver's seat and fiddle around steering the car safely (obviously, otherwise he would have killed us!).

Pic: Dignitaries on Dais

Saturday morning started at almost noon, what with all of us sleeping at five or six in the morning after all the talks. We had a good lunch at the other Kannada hub whetting our appetite with spicy food (Thanks to Shankar for his pakodas and bajjis!). We had no idea how to put on our cloaks. So, we were assisted by Shubhika in wearing our gowns and hoods. Yadu and I had to reach the Leach Theater early compared to others. We were seated in alphabetical order. As we slowly made our way into the Castleman Hall, it was certainly a matter of pride to see so many people in the auditorium. The dignitaries were introduced and the Phd candidates were seated on the stage. The felicitation of the Phd candidates began after the chief guest gave a brilliant and motivating speech. It was now the turn of the masters candidates, and as I began my walk towards the stage, I could feel my heart beating faster (Don't know why!). I gave the card to the caller, and as my name was called out, it was an amazing feeling to shake hands with some of the important people at UMR, and more importantly to resounding cheer and applause. I will carry this feeling with me for the rest of my life, truly unforgettable. The speaker after the felicitation asked the parents of the candidates to stand up, and then asked all friends and relatives to stand up for an ovation. It was truly emotional to see the whole auditorium rise to the feet and it just went to show that there were so many people waiting to check on your progress in life. I was close to tears. After the felicitation, we gathered outside to take a lot of snaps with friends.

Pic: That's me!

Pic: There goes Yadu!

That evening, about a gang of 20 of us went to the only vegetarian restaurant Gokul in St. Louis. The treat was sponsored by Yadu. It was fun to hang around with the group! The next day, everyone was busy getting ready to fly to their respective places. The trickle turned into a downpour with the whole of Rolla getting evacuated in record time. Sunday evening gave a very strange uneasy feeling for all of us who stayed back in Rolla. It was difficult to see Rolla isolated without people. Rolla without UMR is truly unthinkable and unimaginable and all of us were immersed in an unknown sea of grief. Every one of the guys who went back had this feeling too. Rama and Karthik knew that we would never be staying together in Rolla again. What a life we have had over the last two years. The fun times had to be transported to other destinations when we meet in the future. Yadu looted the house and went back with the same emotional feeling. All of us when we spoke in the evening over phone realised how much of a void our separation had caused. Shubhika, as usual was teary eyed, and that was the only difference between her and the rest of us. We could just place our emotions in check.

Pic: We at Gokul

Pic: Lucky Yadu

Rolla is a place to be when there are people, and when people are leaving, Rolla can be as cruel. It is not easy not to get sentimental or emotional about the place you love so much. I still can hear Rama's voice ringing in my ears "Man, as soon as I saw the lights of St. Louis from above, I could sense that I know this place well. I got the feeling of hometown". Such is the impact of Rolla and it is not everyday that we get a chance to make good friends in life. I will be heading to Boston with a very nostalgic feeling and remembering some of the greatest moments that we lived out in the last two years. These last two years have left an everlasting impression in each and every one of us.

Click here to view the video link of the graduation ceremony
Click here to view the photos of the graduation ceremony


  1. Neatly written. Among few of yours no masala blogs ;-). I remember when I left Rolla in April, I knew I would come back. But this time I felt that I was actually going out of Rolla. Emotional...

  2. By the way, I did not loot the house. I just took TV, DVD player, Home theater system, All cables, Microwave Oven, Toaster, Cooker etc etc.....thats all.

    But I left iron box for you ;-)

  3. Yadu's car is Awesome!!
    yadu's frn - Krishna

  4. This is so well written. Praveen indeed your graduation was a once in a life time moment for you, and you know what i relived mine through yours. Rolla is nothing without UMR..really...and this time leaving rolla again took its toll on me... I know that all of us have ot move on..but that dosent stop me from feeling emotional about it...All I can say is that I am so glad you are going to be close by so that everytime I want to be with a REAL friend I knwo who to go to...

  5. This is so well written. Praveen indeed your graduation was a once in a life time moment for you, and you know what i relived mine through yours. Rolla is nothing without UMR..really...and this time leaving rolla again took its toll on me... I know that all of us have ot move on..but that dosent stop me from feeling emotional about it...All I can say is that I am so glad you are going to be close by so that everytime I want to be with a REAL friend I knwo who to go to...

  6. Hai guys,
    It is really spectacular event to view on the internet. Actually we missed the occasion, but our mind and soul were with your Graduation day. Report and comments are simply marvellous. Hope to view the Ph.D. graduation day in due course.
    Panduranga(Yadu's father)

  7. Urmila (Yadu's mother)said...
    You have a clean hand. You gave us a wonderful account of the occasion through the net. Thank you.

  8. hey gk..u caught me in the emotions this time...rolla wud be so diff without all u guys...by diff i mean different and difficult both...anyways i hope ur next blog doesnt bother my tear balls tht much and get back to ur masala stuff...

  9. I never knew that you guys had Bajji and Pakoda for Lunch on Saturday. This is injustice.

    Anyways, well written blog. I have to thank you all guys, this gave me chance to come out of this boring,lonely life at Pittsburgh and to meet all my friends. Raghu and Venky, thanks for the food. Yadu, thanks for the ride in Merc and (most imp) Chaitu, thanks for all the gossips and stories.

    We should do such get-together more often.

  10. Just in case, if this is not obvious, I have sent the link to my family and friends...:-)

  11. Yadu: I have only heard of Ali Baba and 40 thieves, but I really had a chance to see him through you :-)

    Krishna: Yes, Krishna, the car is truly wonderful!

    Shubhika: You have no choice but to watch the latest Rajini movie, Sivaji with me and of course the ARR concert and NY visits. You are going to be troubled!!!! HEHEHE!

    Uncle and Aunty (Yadu's parents): I am glad that Yadu has forwarded this blog piece to you. It made me feel real good. I felt that the comments were generated from my parents. They too shared the same feelings. I am really glad that you posted the comments. It gave me a sense of pride. But one thing is for sure, we really really missed you all. Thanks for your support and inspiration.

    Pravin Dhake: You turning emotional!! Yeah man! I think the moment is such that it does not feel good to leave friends who become more important than anybody else at this point of time!

    Rama: Eno finally comment aakudhya? Never expected one from you! Looks like me and yadu "kaalified" all the bajjis and pakodas. That is the advantage of going early kano. I think it is going to be tough for all of us to get back to the basic routine of life!!!

  12. yes praveen i know i am going for all those movies with you...no choice...but believe me I am glad....hope to have u arnd...always

  13. Nicely written GK!!! Yes.. This is a very emotional feeling for all of us.. We all should meet up atleast 2 times a year - The Bangalore/Mysore gang especially!!
    Rolla, to me, is never gonna be the same without all U fellas!!

  14. Hey Praveen, your article was so moving, and made me feel as if I was part of your celebrations at Rolla. Keep it up. So u headed to Boston is it ? Thats great. Hve fun ! Stay in touch.

    - Kishore

  15. Hey Praveen! Congratulations on your Graduation - the blog post was especially evocative, I must say! Good luck to you in your career and for the future!

  16. Karthik: Aamam da..we were quite a gang here :-) Definitely we should meet up at any given opportunity.

    Kishore: That's great. It is because of well wishers like you that this blog makes some sense atleast :-) Nice to know the kind of feelings you share.

    Sowmya: Thanks a lot for the wishes. It was an emotional moment for the whole gang!

  17. Hello Praveen, nor do i know you personally (other than the few tidbits thrown by venkatesh now and then) nor am I even faintly acquainted with any of the things which you have described here. However, reading this was living and experiencing it. I wouldn’t describe myself as an emotional person (you cannot be with a guy like venkatesh as your bro – he would tease the ‘being’ out), nevertheless, by the time I reached the end of your previous blog (about taking a glimpse of India in the world map) and this, I felt something choking at my throat. Neat and stirring writing. Great rendering of your thoughts. Best wishes at your new job.

  18. Krishna Chaitanya EmaniMay 16, 2007 at 11:17 PM

    Praveen I dont know whether you had tears in your eyes or not but I had tears in my eyes when the parents stood up, and when the person asked all the people who care for the graduated students to stand up, there was a pride in my heart, happiness for you guys, emotion that you will be leaving us. With the graduation of almost all the Fall 2005 students, it seems as if an ERA has ended at UMR. But all the best to you guys where ever you are and every one of you will make everyone of us proud.

    Good luck praveen.

  19. That was an amazing bolg GK! and once again congratulations on your Graduation :-)

  20. Indhu: Same thing applies to me too. I don't know much about you except for the few anecdotes your great brother tells me about you :-) I am first of all surprised that he forwarded this page to you, because he is one of those guys whom I have to force to read my blog and for nothing in the world can I believe that he sent the link to you :-) I am really happy that you visited the blog. Seeing your comment, I feel that you should take up writing. You have got a wonderful language! Anyways, it was truly a great feeling :-)

    Chaitanya: That was a wonderful comment reflective of your feelings. I am sure you will go through the motions during your graduation and trust me, I will be there to witness it! I understand what it is to be there!!!

    Smitha: Thanks a lot, Smitha!

  21. Beautiful blog GK. Well done. Grad walk was really awesome. I am really looking forward for my Phd grad walk. Unfortunately its a long time from now(: .

  22. Hello Praveen & Yadu,


    It was nice reading this and well said. I can understand how my son Karthik C is going to be without you two guys. Myself and karthik's father are looking forward to karthik's graduation ceremony. Atleast to see the photos. Well done guys



  23. Bhadra: Phd graduation ceremony would be more moving man. I think you should bring your parents for it! It is worth the wait!

    Aunty: Romba Thanks aunty! Nice to know that Karthik forwarded the blog to you. You should definitely make it to Karthik's graduation in December! It is worth the moment. Thanks for all the wishes! We missed you!

  24. man...exactly my sentiments today too...:)

  25. Abhishek,
    Congrats man..will come up with a new one sometime this week!!!