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Gold medal glory

Gold medal glory

Two decades of dedication culminated in a moment of euphoria

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Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 22:34 IST
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After undergoing an arduous academic journey spread over two decades in various educational institutions, I stood as the monarch of all I surveyed. The day had come to laud and record my scholastic achievement. God knows how I toiled with volumes of books and burned the midnight oil to reach my goal—the precious gold medal! The wait had been a long one, but it was well worth it. Now I looked forward to the felicitation at the annual convocation of the university.

All the students were there, along with the recipients of the medals, rehearsing the steps we had to go through while accepting the medal from the vice-chancellor and the chief guest. It was a revered occasion,
and the staff had taken great pains to guide us on how to don the convocation gown and how to conduct ourselves on the podium. 

I had butterflies in my stomach as I sat in the chair assigned to me under the canvas awning, musing on my own aspirations and expectations. For a young man in his twenties, it was a unique experience to be ushered into the presence of the vice chancellor. When my name was called, I walked up the few steps to the vice chancellor. My attention was focused on him as if drawn by a magnet, forgetting that I had a vast audience looking expectantly up to me.

As I drew closer to him, I was baffled to note that he was indicating to me to approach the chief guest.

Then I realised that the medals were to be handed over by the latter. I quickly changed course and homed in on the guest of the evening.

The air was thick with applause as I crossed the podium and shook the chief guest’s hand. “Congratulations!” he smiled and passed on the gold medal to me. “Thank you, sir,” I bowed. 

“Well done!” I could hear someone shouting in the midst of the cheering. What an air of euphoria! After the presentation ceremony, we tossed our caps in the air in keeping with the traditional ritual. The official lunch and group photographs followed—pictures that would adorn my drawing room for a lifetime. This was a day whose contours were etched in my heart forever. 

Tennyson’s Sunset and the Evening Star would come and go, and in
due course, I would also have to cross the bar. But the shine of the gold medal would continue to dazzle me all my life.

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