Deepak Sapra '92

I stand before the silver painted wrought iron gates, bang in front of this majestic monument, looking beyond. My mind defies the material dictates of time and circumstance as I catch fleeting glimpses of Gymmies exchanging gossip notes on the once dreaded Eastern Terrace, breathing the kind of fresh air only this place can offer, as they revel in their moments of puerile liberty. Carefree voices ring through the air, the uniformity in pitch broken only by the wild laughter at some phatta cracked. Time loosens its harnesses of stringent reality and suddenly I see myself as big-eyed and precocious, striking up some conversation on something reckoned important or trying my hand at humoring others with some stupid English-Hindi translation PJ.

The resounding clangor of the dinner bell rudely terminates our intellectual endeavours and we start filing into our rooms to get into what the formal dress code for the club hours prescribed. Yes, this is where it all happened. I wonder, as I gaze through the red monument in front of me. As always, it bears a mien of stolid dignity and elegance. This was the arena of my adolescent dreams, my teenaged awakenings. A pastiche full of living moments. Moments, which at the time were minutiae of trite, everyday Gym life, but now create a silvery trail of memories. And moments, which at the time appeared earth shattering, but are now relegated to the backwaters of the cerebrum.

Arriving just in time to join with my batch, the pain of the initial months, the gradual feeling of responsibility, the thrill of chuttis and tours, the slog on Gym events, the hours of crying hoarse for your team in the TV Room, the calculations of minute mood swings before the (Gym) polls, the do-or-die spirit of the inter batch soccer matches......

The solemn experience of the aarti where a feeling of oneness reverberated with each strain of "Om Jai Jagdish Hare", the overpowering aura of the moment which bound us in our appeals to the Almighty to see us through our exams. The presumptuous air we assumed on becoming fourthees and the sheer thrill of passing out- everyone feting you and providing a top- of- the- world feeling. And then, returning back to Gym for various courses/odd jobs, and being bombarded with information from all and sundry as part of the bi-monthly Gym news update, while at the same time laying claims about your probationary dare-devilry to wide eyed Gymmies.

Now, with the passage of time and at the last stages of probation, we are all going to go our separate ways after five-and-a-half years of being a part of the same little haven. As I walk through its hallowed portals, in front of my Room No. 58, a part of me battles against time and yearns for refuge while another longs for me to spread my wings and soar into future destinations. Despite a growing ambivalence, I know in my heart that I am leaving an integral part of me behind. The present Gymmies will echo the same joie-de-vivre as I did a few years ago. There is a mouthful of sky that bears testimony to my dreams. This is the place where I found some of my true friends- some seniors, some juniors.

While I was at Gym, I might not have learnt as much of microprocessors and machine drawing that I should have. I still might not be able to figure out much about a synthesizer or a flute. And in all honesty, I must admit that time has not done much to improve my in-offs at Billiards or my bidding at Bridge.

But as I bid adieu to my alma-mater, I know it has taught me a few lessons far more valuable than these- a few lessons in the business of living. And as I brace myself to venture into the contentious world beyond, I can feel its silent inveterate strength seep into my being. I might be far away, but there will always be a little bit of my soul out here.

To Jamalpur Gymkhana, with love!!

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