Date: 1 August 2013, Thursday
Venue: Auditorium, Assam Engineering College, Guwahati
The clock struck 10 a.m. and slowly, the area around the auditorium started to reverberate with chit-chat of parents and their kids, who had been newly admitted to the college. It was the Orientation Day, when the first-year students are given a brief introduction and overall idea about the college, familiarizing them with the environment here. Most parents wore anxious looks and were drowned in deep conversation with fellow parents. I was sure they were discussing about the college and how their kids would fare in the 4 years (or more, but let’s just skip that part) of engineering studies. Interestingly, the first-year students seemed to be in quite an upbeat mood; a few of them had already begun to form groups and indulge in talks, as if they’re in the senior years, discussing some very crucial matters. I still remember how scared and worried I was on the Orientation day, when I was newly inducted into the college. Perhaps the fear of being in an unknown setting and unknown people had overwhelmed me. How time has changed!
Being a final year student, this was the last Orientation Day I attended and unlike the one I attended in my 2nd and 3rd year, this year, the event turned out to be quite nostalgic for me. Within a few minutes past 10 a.m, I spotted three juniors of my school, Delhi Public School, Duliajan – Audrika Thakuria, Angshuman Buragohain and Arnav Duarah, sitting calm and composed in the auditorium. A very nice feeling flowed in me, to see familiar faces from my hometown, Duliajan and when I met them, they were equally happy to meet me. You see, there is always a happy moment involved, when you see someone you know very well, in a crowd of unfamiliar faces (be it as a tourist in some other place or in some tight situations, needing assistance). Drawing similar lines, 3 years ago, I had also come to this college, along with two classmates of mine from school -Karpun Pegu and Madhurya Dhodapkar, but then we never sat together in the auditorium. In fact, I don’t know how we got dispersed in the crowd of first-years.
The programme started. After the introduction of the college and the various departments and their HODs (Head of the Departemts) were done, the dynamic Dr. Arup Mishra sir took centre-stage and kicked off the fun session of the Orientation programme. Mishra sir has been synonymous with this programme for many years and the panache with which he conducts it is remembered by all the students here. He is a man, gifted with a baritone, that doesn’t require the microphone; his voice is enough to arouse a full-packed audience. Soon, he began his ice-breaking exercise with the first years, trying to snap them out of their shells of fear, shyness and hesitation and allowing them to speak out their interests, hobbies and aspirations. Like every year, he showered questions full of humour and wit and as I was watching the proceedings from a distance, I remembered the similar questions asked 3 years back. It really helped me to break-free from the initial fear I had about the college, that was sir’s magic!
The Orientation Day programme may be a very small event but it holds a special place in my heart. It is the stepping stone or should I say the red carpet, that is laid to all the first-years to come and accept the college as their family. 1 August, 2013 was the day I took a nostalgic mini ride to 2 August, 2010, the day I attended the Orientation programme.