A quote from the famous American theologist Tryon Edwards goes, “Every parting is a form of death.” And so, it is with all the sadness of a mourning that i stand here before you today. Considerable training was given to me for this moment, and a long speech written. But as I stand at this podium this fine evening, I realise that no amount of preparation could have braced me for this. This might as well be the final time I speak on this stage, in my capacity as a student of this glorious institution. And that breaks my heart. The realisation sets in as I speak, and my heart hasn’t felt this heavy in a long time. “Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. I’m afraid it is time to say goodbye again”, Billy Joel once said. And so my friends, the time has come to say goodbye again. Take my hand, and join me on this walk down memory lane.
Respected dignitaries on the dais, teachers, well-wishers, and my dear friends, it is with the heaviest of hearts I stand before you today, on behalf of the outgoing batch of 2017. As strangers we walked in, as a family we walk out. The sixty six strong bunch of the best boys and girls I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. After so many years spent together, it seems too formal to call them ‘friends’. They have become my family. Sixty brothers and sisters. Siblings united, not just by our friendship, but also by the utmost respect and admiration we hold in our hearts for our Alma Mater. We take a certain pride in calling ourselves the children of Christ Nagar, and therefore, as fledglings leave their nest once they are all grown, so must we. It is time for us to take leave of Christ Nagar and walk away from the outstretched arms that once so lovingly welcomed us.
In 2003, a four-year old child walked into his first Kindergarten class, crying. Today, a seventeen-year old boy walks out, still crying. Christ Nagar has been my home for the past fourteen years. And after fourteen years, one would expect I would have load to say about this school. Strangely enough, I find myself speechless and choked up. No amount of words can convey the emotions flowing through our hearts. As the Italian poet Cesar Pavese wrote, “We do not remember the days, we remember moments.” And these moments have made us who we are. The events our batch conducted and took part in glow the brightest. Last year’s epic Chendamelam and this year’s War Of Words will surely be two of the most beautiful memories I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. But then, there are the other littler things. The trivial everyday stuff that happens within our classes. The silly fights, the countless moments of laughter, the singing in between periods, the basketball and football matches, the concerts, everything. We’ll remember stealing food during the breaks. We’ll remember copying down homework from our more studious friends. We’ll remember rushing to the Physics lab just to get our rough records corrected, and then being rejected because our graphs were wrong. These are, strangely but not surprisingly, the moments we will look back at and smile in sweet remembrance when we are all grey and old.
Everything feels like a dream now. A dream that I’m desperately holding onto, but a dream that I know I’ll inevitably have to let go off. We are intensely aware that our Alma Mater raised us and made us who we are today, and so to give back to her at least a fraction of what she gave us, should be our purpose and our privilege. The legacy we leave behind will our gift to our school. I wasn’t so sure I would be able to deliver this speech without tearing up, but I realise that Christ Nagar has taught us to be strong. And strong, I shall remain.
As a Latin quote goes, dwarves have seen far and wide, standing on the shoulders of giants. And so have we. Our strength and courage to take on life and step into adulthood confidently stems from the advice and ability of our teachers. They have taught us, not only lessons in various subjects, but also lessons in life – ethics, etiquette and poise. They have taught us how to be gentlemen and ladies. It is the duty of each and every one of us to upkeep the decorum of this prestigious institution, wherever we go in life.
And thus, my friends, the time for us to part has arrived. Thank you, Christ Nagar, for everything you have been to us. To my teachers, thank you for your maternal love and constant support. We shall strive to make you proud. To my juniors, let us serve as role models for you. Do not be afraid to approach us on whatever matter. You will all still be our younger siblings, wherever we end up. And finally, my batchmates. Do not worry about the future for you have been trained by the best to tackle whatever hurdle opposes you in your path. And so today, when you step out of these gates, do not weep, for, long after we’re gone, these halls will resonate with the sounds of our laughter and these walls will have a million stories to tell. Do not weep, for, these gates, they will always stay open for you. Remember to keep your chin up and your head held high. Be proud of where you come from. It is an honour to graduate from this magnificent institution. Brothers, sisters, it was an honour to know you all. After all, as a friend once put it, “All men are born equal, but some become Christ Nagarians.”
// Down Memory Lane is an annual
farewell speech, dedicated to the outgoing batch. //