As I looked around me at all those lovely faces, my thoughts raced back to those times when as gawky, gangly, pimpled teens we had entered the hallowed portals of one of the prestigious colleges in the city. There was a lot of energy, vibrancy in the huge campus which added to our bewilderment, as we had just left the secure cocoon of our school and were stepping out into an alien world.
Once we settled into the new environment, we began an exciting roller coaster ride. Our stream was Home Science which included various interesting subjects like child development, nutrition and dietetics, home management, family relationships, textiles and clothing and so on. As part of the curriculum there were several theoretical as well as practical aspects that we had to fulfill. Textiles and clothing saw us all busy trying to learn embroidery stitches, stitching frocks, blouses and so on, struggling to get things right and in accordance to the specifications that our teachers had set when we hardly knew how to thread a needle!
The nursery children who were taught by us as part of pre-school education would ask us smart questions, as if on cue, while we were being evaluated by our teachers, leaving us fumbling for the right answers. :-(
Then it was that time of the year where as part of our role to manage the cafeteria, all of us would plan out mouth watering menus, try and work out the proportions and quantity of ingredients that we required, shop and prepare, and then sell it in the campus. This was generally a big hit with the rest of the college as one can understand the enormous appetite that teens have. The quantity of food that we struggled to make from previous day would just disappear within minutes of us opening our food counters!
In our final year we had cottage stay where seven or eight of us would have to live together for a week along with one of our lecturers, in a cottage within our college campus. The idea was to give us an experience of running a home within a budget and getting our group dynamics right. Starting with choosing a name for our home, matching the decor and the interior accordingly to planning the menu, cooking, cleaning and attending classes - all at the same time. God help the lecturer who had to put up with our amateur cooking!
At the end of the stay we had to invite our parents for a party to show them how good party hostesses we were along with our cooking prowess. Elaborate party menu was planned and cooking would start from previous day. Finishing touches would still go on till the last minute as there would generally be utter chaos added with kitchen disasters. The scene would be straight out of the television programme "Hell's Kitchen". All these however added to a very exciting and unforgettable experience for each one of us. No wonder then, with these kind of whirlwind activities we did not realise how five years zoomed past. Because of all these experiences where as a whole class we were all involved in each and every activity brought us all closer than we realised.
And now after twenty five years I looked around at all the beautiful ladies picking up threads from where we had left twenty five years ago, as though we had never been apart, talking about each of our families, our dreams and our experiences with life till the wee hours of morning. Yes, we all had our ups and downs, but there was an inner strength in each one of us to surmount these and move ahead in life with a cheerful smile. And that is what Home Science as a course had taught us - to value human relationships.