I wrote a post called ‘Weird Things’ two days back, and almost everyone who read it told me never to let go of 9 and 11, values I cherish and incorporate in my life. For those who missed the previous post, here you are: 

9. Gratitude is too often overlooked, because we feel that the world owes us what we have. Nobody owes us anything. This isn’t a business; it’s definitely not give-or-take, nor can it be an individualistic game. (…)
11. No matter where I go, I remain a believer: in beautiful things, in comforting words, in worthwhile moments, in poetry, and most importantly, in myself.

In the spirit of living those values, today, I wish to express my gratitude to those who shaped me without realising, without meaning to, without trying too hard, just by being present and sharing a part of you. I call you ‘my kids’, and my kids you’ll always be. Some of you spent so much time in my company, we went through trials and tribulations together, and somehow, we connected and became part of each other’s lives.  

Here’s to the one who thanked God in his winning speech, just like he intended to (Thank you for encouraging me to do what I love best).
Here’s to the one who cringed when I told him his essay was “not convincing enough” and he did his best to impress me with what he wrote from then on (Thank you for your sarcasm which always borders on cynicism).
Here’s to the one who metamorphosed throughout the years and who (accidentally?) fell in love with literature (Thank you for always standing by, in fun and in need).
Here’s to the one who trusted me enough to share his secrets, knowing I wouldn’t judge (Thank you for believing).
Here’s to the one who had to wipe his brow every time I looked at him (Thank you for coming out of your shell).
Here’s to the one who would tell me Everything, from what she had for breakfast to how she was feeling (Thank you for being a sushi).
Here’s to the one who was so shy in the beginning and then blossomed and couldn’t stop talking (Thank you for the heartwarming conversations).
Here’s to the one who developed a whole theory about reincarnation and the circle of life (Thank you for spreading light).
Here’s to the one who couldn’t pronounce ‘melancholy’ and sent me into peals of laughter (Thank you for those stolen moments).
Here’s to the one who invented theories and arguments in literature and then smiled sheepishly (Thank you for your heart of gold).
Here’s to the one who always made a grand entry and had a joke repertoire (Thank you for your ‘joie de vivre’).
Here’s to the one who once animated a discussion on gender issues (Thank you for being opinionated).
Here’s to the one who was amazed by the magic of Rubik’s cubes (Thank you for being yourself, always).

Here’s to you.
To all of you who enjoyed when I read whole plays / novels to you,
All of you who painted walls with me, who wrote and rewrote on them (with some massacres),
All of you who cracked terrible (yet funny) jokes,
Who participated in debates, who made silly mistakes,
To all of you who contributed to making me love teaching,

I’ve watched you grow up and I have to admit it’s weird sometimes to hear you talk about work, and going through life like a responsible adult but it’s also immensely satisfying to see where you’ve reached. I’m proud of you, each and every one of you, whether you were here for a year or six/seven (I’ve lost count; a rollercoaster ride!) eventful ones. We made discoveries together, some of you shed tears (and how!), and we collected so many memories – having lunch, parties, interventions (!), brainstorming sessions, watching horror movies, loving and hating texts… it has been full of emotions so far and I hope the journey keeps being so entertaining.

 I have taught you (or tried to) many things, and I hope that outside of academics, you have all learnt at least one life lesson that you will carry with you. In return, you have taught me the beauty of innocence, of purity of minds, and I feel so grateful to have known such genuine souls.

 My wish for you is that you do get to explore the world, read 100 books in a year, maintain relationships, create better realities, and accomplish every single thing that you wrote on the ‘Before I Die’ wall.  

Thank you for the worthwhile moments. Thank you for the connections.
Thank you for the memories.