It's again the ending of an academic year. Almost time for another batch of students to say bye bye to student life(excepting those who are determined to continue further studies) and step out into the world, as adults, as individuals who are ready to realize their destiny.
In college, it is the time of the year when batches take turns to celebrate days - formals day and dhothi day. Formals is the day when all the students turn up in formals, boys in formal shirts(full sleeved) + formal pants + tie + shoes and nowadays blazers too (I wonder how they manage to keep their blazers on, despite the heat at this time of the year) and girls in sarees, many of them in Kanjeevaram(here again, I wonder about how they keep going in the heat with the silk sarees). Dhothi day is one where both boys and girls switch over to traditional Indian wear(dhothi and saree). It is usually the South Indian way of wearing a dhothi, but I remember the time when students from other parts of the country came in their traditional attire(kurta-pyjama/salwar-kameez, dhothi tied in a different way specific to their culture). For this reason, I would be happy if students change it to 'Native Day' giving students from different states the chance to wear their traditional clothes. In this, I remember an event 'Across the cultures' organized by students at UoH, where each state was represented by a group wearing their traditional attires. We also had international students wearing clothes from their countries making it a learning experience and broadening our knowledge.
So, this time of the year is colourful but also one of joy and sadness. Joy because we know that these kids who grew up under our tutelage are going out into the world and sadness for we will not be seeing them everyday, no more of their pranks, and no more part of their world.
However, yesterday was different. When I walked in at 9:00 a.m., I saw two students walking by, wearing white shirts(rarely see that in college), but with something different. On closer look, they had a rose pinned to their shirts(one had a red one and another a yellow one). I wondered what they meant and reasoned that they probably are trying something different. Once in a way, you find students doing something different - like one, who gave himself a flame of red(dyed his hair red, thankfully, not totally) as a birthday gift to himself, or the time when a group of 4-5 came bald one morning, they said after a Tirupathi darshan. So, I walked ahead. Again, I see another bunch now, with a red rose pinned to their white shirts. The first thought that came to mind was, 'Oh No! Not another valentine's day routine'. Then I said to myself, 'this is March, stupid, not February'. So, then what was this about. I looked for the girls dressing in case they had come up with something similar and have a new kind of day to set a new tradition. However, nothing of the sort with the girls. Throughout the day, I saw some students with a rose pinned to their shirt and wondered if I should stop them and ask what it was all about. However, not wanting to embarass them or myself, I let them pass thinking that I will know what it is, if it becomes part of the tradition.
Tradition, now that is a word I sometimes love to hate. For, it is used easily - good if it is for the good but many a times to keep the not so good going. So, please replace the word 'tradition' in the text with ??? habit - no !! culture - too broad. Uffa, the trouble sometimes with finding the right word !