Convocation 2017 — Journey through the Eyes of a Senior
By Divya Jyothi Balamurali, Member of Editorial Board, Light House
A turning point in our lives — the 15th of February.
PART 1: THE ONE WITH THE FORMAL CEREMONY
I enter the classroom to be greeted with the sight of my classmates getting ready, helping one another with the gowns and caps (not an easy task — with all the pins and strings involved). I realize that this will be one of the last times I share a laugh with these wonderful people, presently not shying away from loud gossip and giggling. The teachers, too have taken the trouble of donning some of their best clothes, I notice.
About ten minutes later, we walk, single file, to the place near the ICT Department where the class photos are shot every year. Some of the teachers click photos with their students as we wait for our turn. Several ‘Say Cheese!’ and awkward squirming later, we line up once again, preparing to be a part of the academic procession (which sounds fancier than it actually is). Phones are whipped out and more selfies happen.
Soon, the auditorium doors are open to us and we walk in solemnly, to be greeted by exuberant music by the school Brass Band, who never cease to amaze me, and take our seats.
Yes, the entire process above consumed two hours.
Inside, the air is charged with excitement. The room — hall, rather — looks beautiful with the gold and white helium-filled balloons tied to the armrests. On the stage, a group comprised of juniors is belting out popular Hindi songs as the parents watch on. Our enthusiastic chatter is only kept in check by the powerful glare of Mrs. Kusum. Seated on the stage are the Chief Guest H. E. Major General Mohd. Ahmed Al Marri (from the Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs) and the heads of the school and the 11th and 12th section. The hosts of the ceremony are well-known alumni Rudhra Pradhan and Dhara Bakhai, both students of Herriot Watt University. (I hear the university a popular choice among IHS graduates as of late.)
We proceed to rise for the national anthem and School song — and Jesus, it’s a lovely feeling, all voices — deep to child-like — singing in unison, and I let the thrill consume me. The Chairman proceeds to address the audience, and upon his command, all balloons go up. This moment is one to cherish. (I had trouble yanking my balloon off the armrest but let’s not talk about that.)
Next, the Chief Guest takes the stage. His words of wisdom include “Your determination is the X-factor in deciding your future” and “Students should always respect their teachers and teachers should trust their students.”
He tells us that he was here eight years ago so he is not a stranger to the process. Next come the Head Boy — Karan Narang — and Head Girl — Lenity Thomas. Their coordinated speech is clearly one of the most heart-touching parts of the day, as they remind us of some of the most memorable moments at school — from begging for an extra 50 fil coin in the canteen to making great friends — and it is punctuated by hooting and cheering from their peers
Then comes the part where we receive our certificates. This gets over in a flash as students line up with their class teachers alongside, collect their certificates and scamper off the stage. (Yes, we were taught how to get through the process without any mishaps in the rehearsal the previous day.) This is followed by the ‘turning of the tassel’ wherein the students turn the tassel from the right to the left. This gesture is a customary one for graduation, we are told.
In my opinion, the candlelight ceremony, which marks the end of the ceremony, is a truly beautiful one — not just the aesthetics of it. The light is passed from the teachers to the students in one direction to symbolize the sharing of knowledge from person to person. All while Mr. Philips, the Western Music teacher displays his skills on the piano, of course. A lovely concept, isn’t it? Even if flames are extinguished more than a few times in the process, the students all walk to the foyer with lit faces to set their candles in little glass holders.
PART 2: THE ONE WHERE WE WENT ALL OUT
Now that the major part of the evening is over, we rush to click photos with parents, friends and of course, throw our customized caps (mortarboards) into the air. Parents greet each other while students hurry back to the classrooms to return the gowns and collect their dinner coupons.
Slowly, people start trickling into the school lawn. I take in the props and campsite-style setting, marked by the recent removal of grass. While the long queues for the buffet are a nuisance to some, we see it as an opportunity to revive memories — ah, good times! The food isn’t the best I’ve had, but it will do. Meanwhile, girls and boys rush to the ‘photo booths’ to get a Polaroid with their friends.
A video, aptly titled Reminiscences projected. We grab our friends and gather round, eager to see photos and videos we took during our time at IHS. Because ‘revel in the moment’ is real.
A group of young men and women meet after 13 years to recreate a photograph from kindergarten! Titled ‘Jelly on my Plate’, if that’s not sweet I don’t know what is.
Soon the DJ starts working his magic, and we rock our moves — boys and girls equally enthusiastic. The night is nearly over, our Headmistress Mrs. Latika Narain addresses the crowd and we disperse with smiles, laughter and tears. It’s nearly 9 pm. The cafeteria Jebel Al Noor will be packed soon.
As they say, catch the beauty of the moment before it becomes a memory!
Now I need to go back to studying. The demons named ‘Board Exams’ are lurking round the corner.
About the Reporter:
Divya Jyothi Balamurali is a Member of Editorial Board for the Light House.