Hugs and smiles, old jokes and endless stories - the grand building of St. Stephen's college lit up with memories as its alumni gathered to celebrate its 128th anniversary Sunday evening - the first time such a celebration took place.
"There are so many memories attached to my college. I lost my first election - the students' union election - here and that actually taught me a lot," Salman Khurshid, Congress leader and an alumni of the college, told IANS.
Reminiscing the days gone by, Khurshid, who passed out of the Stephen's in 1974, said that if one has to compare the college from his time and now, there have been quite a few good changes.
"In my time, the college was not co-educational. Now it is and it's a very good thing. The atmosphere is more relaxed now and the youngsters are a lot more familiar with dealing with relationships," he said.
"Another good change is that the college has now opened its doors to the other backward classes (OBC) and Dalits by putting in place a reservation system. This helps everyone experience this great institution and probably put aside the 'elitist' tag that we are associated with!" added Khurshid, whose son now is a student of the college.
While the Stephen's does have its alumni meet, this is the first time that it celebrated the college's anniversary as the College Day.
"We now plan to make it an annual event. The College Day brings together the old and the new students of the Stephen's and gives them a platform to exchange ideas. It's all about renewal of the institution," college principal Valson Thampu said.
Among the other wellknown alumni present on the occasion were commentator Suresh Tandon, Justice Manmohan Sareen, professor Kuldip Singh and Raja Randhir Singh.
While putting forth his thoughts in a panel discussion on "St. Stephen's yesterday, today and tomorrow", Sareen said that one of the best things about the college is that it instils a sense of belonging in its students, besides the confidence to become go-getters.
"The uniqueness of being a Stephanian is that students here have fire in their bellies to do something. And even as they go ahead in their lives, the sense of belonging to this place remains," he said amid a loud applause.