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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Perspective: Just a drop in the ocean

Photo by Kalena Agpasan

Kreshna Gopal, Class of 2000, poses with his ring at the Haynes Aggie Ring sculpture on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Writer’s Note: Kreshna Gopal, the main subject of the article, is my dad and Neel Gopal is my twin.

When the protagonist of a story is a Texas Aggie and the setting is a large body of water, the result is often the loss of an Aggie Ring.

Since Kreshna Gopal came from Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean known for once being the home of the extinct Dodo Bird and divine lagoons, he said he felt embarrassed about donning a floating vest to snorkel to explore Hol Chan’s enthralling marine life in the summer of 2020. While he was distracted and in awe of the sea’s lyricism, Gopal had not realized that his Aggie ring was losing its grip on his right hand. 

“I could feel my huge ring sliding far too freely down my finger. I should have left it behind at Diamond Lodge, my cozy boutique hotel on Seagrape Drive,” Gopal wrote in the Belizean newspaper Amandala. “After all, I earned this precious, and expensive, ring after many years in computer science classes at Texas A&M University in Aggieland.” 

Gopal said as he gained confidence when swimming and took his life jacket, he must have pushed the ring off into the sea depths.

“This reality hit me like a gut punch when I climbed back on board and felt my right hand unusually bare,” Gopal said. “I felt stupid and sad, especially since everything had worked out perfectly so far: hassle-free arrival at the airport in Belize City, a pleasant cab ride to the water taxi terminal, [and] a ferry to the picturesque San Pedro town on Ambergris Cay.” 

While trying to digest the reality of his Aggie Ring’s salty ending, a few professional divers leading the snorkeling expedition noticed Gopal’s dejection. Gopal said a few divers went overboard to recover his ring in the vast corral entanglements. They found a ring, but it wasn’t Aggie gold. 

“The divers did come back with a ring, but one of scrap wire twisted into shape,” Gopal said. 

Gopal says he could not help but grin at the light-hearted humor of the “go with the flow” Belizean islanders. 

Gopal’s ring appeared at the bottom of the coral reserve like many other lost Aggies Rings, a golden jewel that likely confused the tropical fish swimming by. Upon returning home, Gopal emailed the snorkeling business, Ambergris Divers, about his lost ring which, to him, was a last-ditch attempt for someone to hopefully find the needle in the haystack, or in this case, a ring in the middle of the ocean. Ambergris Divers’ Karen Canul shared Gopal’s loss on a bulletin with other guides and operators.

According to the Association of Former Students, 60 Aggie Rings are reported lost each month with the most common fate being lost in bodies of water.

With such a large number of rings lost, the Association does its best to reunite rings and their owners by maintaining its former student database and having records dating back decades. 

“Most Rings lost in the water stay lost, unfortunately,” The Association wrote on their website.  “Though sometimes, divers or metal detectors strike gold.”

In a Poseidon-like miracle, Gopal was not expecting the WhatsApp message from Belize that claimed a diver had found his A&M ring. 

“It sounded too good to be true, and I was skeptical,” Gopal said. “But Whatsapp messages from Santiago and a picture of my ring — with my name clearly inscribed — from Raquel turned my cynicism into shame. What are the odds of the ring being found and me knowing about it?” 

Santiago, the diver, never actually saw the golden gem glistening in the clear waters of Hol Chan. Santiago said he was diving for octopus, who are nocturnal creatures. Swimming in the dark, his hand skimmed across the sand in search of the nightlife critters. Instead, he discovered the golden embroidered ring was no Ring Pop. 

With Spring Break around the corner, Gopal convinced his children, Neel and Neha Gopal  — my twin and me  — to join him on his quest for the ring, saying he thought of it as “an adventure of Frodo’s clique to middle earth” dubbing the trip the “Fellowship of the Aggie Ring.” As they embarked to Belize, Neel Gopal, a computational engineering major at the University of Texas, said he couldn’t help the amicable and “good-vibes” only environment in Belize. 
“Even the sharks were laid back,” Neel Gopal said. 

Upon meeting with Karen at Ambergris Divers, as well as Santiago, Krista and Raquel at Amigos del Mar, Kreshna Gopal says he was reunited with my ring over some friendly banter and pictures. Kreshna Gopal looks forward to visiting Belize for the third time.

“I look forward to the genuine smile and charm of Belizeans,” Gopal said. “I will definitely drop by to greet the fellowship of friends I made around the loss and recovery of my Aggie ring.” 

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