09 June 2008

Graduation, Memories and Musings


These are days when graduation ceremonies are being held in some school or college in different parts of the world. They say one goes to school to find out what they want to do in life or what they do not want to do. Which one is easy, I can't say. There are a chosen few who figure out during school what they want to do in life and carry on.. They drop out of school and build societies and communities that revolve around them. They become movers and shakers.They lead and build. Schools have become enterprises which continue to produce a sea of graduates who are sitting in cubicles day after day churning the mill and only a few who challenge the norm..

Like clock work they wake up in the morning, exercise, shower and take the subway to the mill to churn another round. They have to imagine little and do what they are asked to do. They are being paid for imagining less or not to imagine at all. Most of them are being paid to use their potential 'limitedly' or to imagine under a structured framework so that society can be kept running like a well oiled wheel. - Thank goodness for these we can put food on our table and share some.

People who ask questions are considered cynical or people who think out of the box and question authority are looked upon with a frown. But if one is dressed in the best of clothes and wears the suit, coat and tie one is considered successful. After all, what society looks for is the image. That is why at graduation everyone wears the black robe - a symbol of "uniformity", where everybody symbolically is asked in not so many terms to keep the society churning. The black robe helps one to hide behind one's college degree or encourages silently to think inside the box. It is also a symbol of social security and status but in retrospect it also helps one to question and answer, to doubt, to affirm, to assert one's beliefs and test ones assumptions. To fight for oneself and others who cannot. Graduation is a day of ordination, where one is baptized and one takes her turn at the cross lanes of the world. She has been gifted - the gift of choosing.

I have never attended any graduation ceremonies (collected them in absentia), but when I was in graduate school I witnessed a ceremony that I have never forgotten to this day. I didn't go to hear the commencement speaker, but I went to see all the graduates who walked down the aisle to receive their graduation. I got goose bumps when I saw the faculty and the graduates walk down the aisle in their regalia. I went to see all the stars in the eyes of the parents, some who had never even graduated high school but who had saved and skimped to send their children to college, and dressed their best to come see their children officially go into this universe. I went to see the teachers who had struggled to keep their students in class and some who gave a tough time.

I went to see friends who were surrounded by an aura of fondness and joy. These are the people with whom they can pick up the conversation that they had left off several months ago. These are the people whom one can knock on doors anytime. For it is truly these people who have seen us in some of our best and worst moments in classrooms and dorm rooms during our formative adulthood years, before waking moments or after midnight to discuss a question that we thought was the most pertinent. These moments will be passed on as stories to their children and grandchildren and may become stories for generations to come, perhaps even become a lesson learnt or an inspiration in itself.

Image credits go to

No comments:

Copyrights Reserved