Last Friday, I made my singing debut at Darden as the lead male vocal in 'Darden Lovin', a parody of Summer Nights from Grease. I blanked out on a line too. We also finally got to show our Bollywood Musical to the entire school. They had it as the last video of the 2 hour show. Yes, we did bring the house down and being part of the core group which made it possible will be one of the most satisfying experiences at Darden.
Fittingly, the climax of the show was the last song - Decades of Debt. Inspired by Seasons of Love. And when TB belted out her solo as the rest of us climbed up the stairs on the aisles of the auditorium, it started to sink in. That it was only a matter of few days. That the celebrations were a signal. That all of us were trying to hold on to as many memories as we could.
The next day started at 7:30 AM as I got up and got ready to catch the bus to Foxfield. It ended at No. 3, at 2:00 AM the next morning with 'Don't Stop Believin'. In between there were mimosas, screwdrivers and red wines, pictures and more pictures, lots of laughing and shouting out with friends and of course dancing to 80s music.
The Facebook statues have begun to tell the same story. Of the numbered days all of us have in Charlottesville. Mundane, taken for granted activities like the walk from Ivy Gardens to the school start taking on special meanings as I try to cling on to all that this place has given me over the last 20 months. Listening to acoustic/alternative music on 106.1 The Corner, or the popular hits on 101.9; bumping into familiar faces in restaurants and bars, going out for short drives around the city; knowing that there are always people to dig you out of a spot; making last minute dinner plans because everything is just so close by; talking to professors who are as much friends as mentors - the list can go on for quite some time. There's so much that has happened in such short time. It's fascinating to look back and see how far we have come.
For me, apart from rolling the P's and the T's to make sure people understood what I was saying, the greatest change has been a heightened sense of awareness. Of myself as well as my surroundings. I've become a little more confident too.
But I don't want to get into too much of self reflection here. That's always better with a little bit of alcohol and a few friends. The reality is in a few days Darden would be over. And in time we would lose touch with most of the people we have got used to knowing over these two years. There would be newer things to look forward to on one hand and loans to pay back on the other. There would also be reunions and the occasional business trip to a city where you catch up with friends.
What we had here, though, was special. And as a lot of the faculty and students keep saying - we should remember that it was a privilege, that we are a very unique group who have had most of the gifts of life.