I don't understand where all this negativity about the year gone by is coming from because, upon reflection, I can recall some phenomenal times. In ascending order, here are my top ten memories of 2010:
10. The IIT Delhi Debate, February 19 and 21, 2010
10. The IIT Delhi Debate, February 19 and 21, 2010
I remember clearly that my initial objections to debating at IIT-D this year were of doing yet another debate under the pressure, nay, expectation, of winning. I would’ve loved nothing more than to debate with my juniors and do for them what all my seniors (bar Verma and Uttara at Venky in my third year) had refused to do for me—teach me something by personal example. That it didn’t quite turn out that way is my fault entirely—I jumped at opportunities too quickly, ignoring the fact that all of the reasons why I failed to “crack” debating in India were still painfully persistent. Yet, for brief periods of time in classrooms in every possible corner of IIT-D, with six stitches in my mouth, with sugar haemorrhaging out of my body and my right knee swelling to the size of a little balloon every few hours, I rediscovered why I’d decided to do selections at all in fifth year. And while my speeches in Round 3 and the octo-finals weren't the best I've ever given, they were very, very close.
9. Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United; January 3, 2010
I’ve written about this sufficiently and thought about it even more, but nothing can quite capture the feeling of watching hours and hours of football with steadily growing but still restrained optimism and watching it finally explode into life over ninety perfect minutes. My memories of that night are extremely disjointed yet extremely clear—putting on the yellow sweater, constantly reminding myself throughout the second half that the 4-2 at St Mary’s the last time out had been a better performance and that the halftime lead was totally justified, Snodgrass’ freekick rattling their crossbar in the eighty-first minute and the last six seconds which I couldn’t bear to see. People can go ahead and call Jermaine Beckford a Premier League flop all they want—the fact is, that night, he owned Manchester United.
8. The view from Table Mountain, Cape Town; June 25, 2010
A million miles removed from the footballing memories that epitomized our trip to South Africa for the World Cup, there was the unforgettable view from the top of Table Mountain. Two images—one of the view itself and one of the Twelve Apostles—come to mind instantly, but perhaps the most surreal was the five minute walk up the road from Table Mountain Café, which was impossible to the point where we were physically lifted off our feet by the wind. Fabulous.
7. Coming home; December 5, 2010
Coming back to middle-of-the-afternoon sleepy Delhi in winter is an experience like no other. If I’d been living a dream over in Oxford, it was perhaps equally important that I woke up from that dream in Delhi. In many, many ways, this has already been a memorable vacation.
6. Fifth Year Party; June 3(?), 2010
Probably this year’s definition of ‘carefree’. And I’m all for exercising extreme discretion in using words such as ‘epic’ and ‘awesome’ in describing law school parties but, from my openly biased perspective, this one qualifies without argument. Shockingly, I remember a lot of conversations from that night (some better than others obviously, wink wink) and I think this was probably the onset of true law school senti and, at the very least, a forgive-and-forget about the really silly stuff we’d held against each other for unreasonable lengths of time. I remember the bun-butters at Chetta before getting on the bus, I remember walking back past Chetta towards hostel under an orange sky at 5.45 a.m. and, most of all, I remember the masala dosa and filter coffee in Nags about an hour and a half later. I promised myself I’d say ‘I love my batch’ at some point in this post, so this is it.
5. First day of class at The University, Oxford; October 11, 2010
I haven’t often been excited by academics, but this was an entirely different story. So much comes to mind—the taster lecture, the Civil Procedure confusion, the Punishment class with Dr Lacey and Dr Zedner and the thrill of watching trade theory unfold before my very eyes over the course of Week 1’s readings, a lot of which were read thrice. The challenge of once again having to keep my head above academic water and prove myself all over again has been pretty evident throughout Michaelmas 2010 but, effectively, the point was made on the first day itself.
4. The XVIIIth Annual Convocation, NLSIU, Bangalore; August 29, 2010
Soon after, I would write: “I've never before managed to make so many people with nothing in common very proud of me for the same reason and I've never before managed to feel properly deserving of it all. To say that the last week has been the greatest of my life would be an exaggeration, but not by much”. I can’t think of a single thing I’d change, even at a distance of over four months.
3. The reunion at Queen’s Lane Bus Stand, Oxford; November 11, 2010
There are literally thousands of things I can and will remember forever from the ten days that followed but when I think back to it all now, the thing that strikes me most is how full of possibility life seemed at that very moment. Nothing that I can recall off the top of my head approaches the endless feeling of clear blue skies and literally a ton of weight lifted off my shoulders (I should stress here that this was purely metaphorical—it was pitch dark and drizzling in the late afternoon and I ended up lugging around Sowjhanya’s backpack and sleeping bag for the better part of three kilometres) when I saw the girls standing at Queen’s Lane. The trip itself was remarkable for a thousand reasons besides, but my unfading memory is the one of where it all began.
2. Marianne Biese’s email; March 18, 2010
Defined by the monster hugs with Shantanu and Mihir (the first people I told) on lib ramp, the call to an utterly jubilant, Canada-bound Sowjhanya at the airport, the do-you-realise-why-I’m-hugging-you hug to Yaman, the I-feel-like-a-proud-father email from Chaitanya, the come-off-to-Koshy’s from Varun and the constant outpouring of affection for about a week afterwards. Convinced me that, ultimately, NLS was worth it, that the people I met there, even more so. There would be disappointments down this very road, of course (the Inlaks final interview comes to mind) but, just for the chain of events that ‘[no subject]’ email set into motion, I shall always be thankful. It still feels like a dream, it really does.
For sheer anticipation, noise, colour, organization, awe, emotion and gratitude, I don’t think anything will ever come close. That I got to share it with the three people I love most in the world seated next to me is more than I could ask for.