A Series of Heartfelt Goodbyes
The Cultural Ministry at Ashoka University organized the Seniors' Week from 7th to the 13th May 2022. The event took place after a hiatus of two years and was met with unmatched enthusiasm and rigor
The Week officially began with the Alumni Induction, organized by the ARO. The Ashokan Alumnus Corpus was formally invited and addressed by Eshwara Venkat, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Ashoka University; Anu Singh, Director of Parents Office; Akriti Asthana from ARO, and Akashmegh Sharma, the President of the Alumni Council. This was followed by an Open House event, wherein the graduating batches had insightful conversations with their alumni fellows. Conversations filled the auditorium as the batches reunited once again and shared the long-lost feeling of being an Ashokan on campus and felt the energy that is unique to, and defined by the boundaries of the red brick University. The day concluded with a ‘Dinner Under the Stars’ which set the tone for the Seniors Week to officially begin.
The following days kept the energy high with a packed schedule of events that would get every Ashokan excited. The batch photo was a classic printed hard copy of the graduating batches in red t-shirts smiling at the camera from the library stairs, forever sealing that moment in time. As remarked by some batch mates, this was the first time their batch had gathered at one spot, as one unit. This energy was preserved with the Karaoke Night, which was organised in the open amphitheatre. The sound of collective cheerful singing could be heard all over campus as students sang their friendship songs together, still in their red t-shirts, one last time.
The third day was especially organised for the game lovers. In the morning, an Ashokan version of the widely popular game ‘Family Feud’ was held. It was played in a quiz format wherein the seniors had to guess the most popular answers on questions that were asked to 50 junior Ashokans. Later that evening, the second most awaited event of the week was organised, the Slip and Slide. The football field was topped with rows of tarp lathered in soap and water for the Ashokan seniors to relive the joys of rolling down the frisbee field, but smoothly this time. The event saw many job seeking almost-graduates relive their sliding childhood memories and laugh away as they walked back to their rooms all soaked up. At night, they returned in teams of three as they began another Ashokan tradition ~ Sopaan, the Ashoka University treasure hunt. The winners were awarded with Dhaba dinner coupons as they danced under the spotlight at the Reddy’s Auditorium, the place where their journey began. The O-week days were thus back, bringing the Ashokan experience back to a full circle.
The fourth day, 10th May, was a relatively more relaxed day. Post lunch, seniors were invited AC02 to paint their hearts out and create a unique masterpiece that reflected a holistic creative expression of their batch, with an output that had a greater meaning than all of its individual components combined. When it got dark at night, the opportunity was seized by having a classic Movie Night. Two simultaneous screenings took place, one in the conventional indoor movie hall manner, and the other was an outdoor bedsheet-projector set-up.
The night further became more wholesome, as Ashokans got up and danced to the songs of the movies with popcorn and cotton candy in their hands, making it a near movie night picnic experience.
The next morning, smiling faces assembled in the Atrium with sketch pens in their hands as they performed the Scribble Day ritual. Loud happy music played in the background and the seniors wrote an advice wall for the incoming batch of UG25, with insights they wished they knew when they were freshers. That afternoon they walked back not only with whiskers and doodles on their faces but with a million memories that were fit into a few words on their t-shirts.
To lighten the mood, a talent show was hosted in the evening and Ashokans came forward with the talents that had either seen the stage many times before or had long been hidden inside the walls of their tiny dorm rooms.
The last two days were a blur of fleeting moments as Seniors tried to move past their denial into accepting that their Ashokan days with their batchmates were indeed coming to an end. The students had a meeting with Professor Danny Weltman and Professor Arunava Sinha, who talked about the bigger things in life that lay beyond the college experience and prepared the students to step outside by inspiring them with the opportunities that awaited them. Furthermore, the evening saw a screening of the Seniors’ Roast- an Ashokan adaptation of the Celebrities Roast that captures people’s reaction to roasts written for them.
The seniors laughed away embarrassing comments about them, but with consent and good hearts, they were ready to take back whatever this experience offered them one way or the other, it was either a roast or a toast.
The last and final day of the Seniors’ Week began with tensions. The Seniors awaited a classic pre-covid Atrium party and the organizing committee had unknowingly high expectations to meet. After an entire day of silence, the university was reverberating with high volume music and pride. While hundreds of Ashokan got their polaroids clicked at the photobooths, the party kept picking up energy as numbers filled the Atrium. There was endless dancing and crying that day, bittersweet tears were shed, hugs were shared and promises for later were made. And with that, the Seniors’ Week finally came to an end.