Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Little Bit of Looking-Back

Hardly into it, have I reckoned the final year as remarkably different from the first three. But then, weren’t they all different in their own ways ? Freshman year was nothing like the 2nd , 3rd , or 4th year. The sophomore experience was so full of energy; unique in its own way. And well, the third year was a period in transition between the two extremities of second and fourth years; perhaps the time students start thinking about the things post-college.

I often tell my friends the time I’ll remember the most would surely be the first year. It is that time when you suddenly meet a host of new people, many of whom are certain to leave a lasting imprint on your life and on the way you see things. Talk about fun, I never had any during my first year. If at all there was, it was the fun on the run. We constantly ran away from seniors who’d always be on the prowl, looking for frail freshers to get their lengthy assignments done. If I know correctly, though I don’t claim I do, then the scene isn’t all that scary now as it used to be in our time. Anti-Ragging banners galore in the campus, which I feel deter most seniors from even trying the most harmless of mischief. What I used to do back then to avoid servility to seniors I neither knew nor respected, is that I used to tell some friend of mine to lock my door from outside and slide the key back from beneath the door, so that I would call someone up when I needed to go out and then slide the key again for him to open the door for me. Most of the times, there would be a group of six-seven of us inside my room; but the room locked from outside so that the seniors who came to my doorsteps with their assignments went back disappointed. I don’t really know how the sentiment is now, among the freshers, but back then a unanimous agreement on seniors being the common enemies provided a setting really conducive to some great bonding among all of us.

The second year was as different from the first as Nisha Kothari from Gracy Singh. In fact, it is invariably the second year guys who have the most pronounced I-am-your-senior syndrome. They like to take the roles of people they hated while in their first year, as soon as there are new people at the receiving end. I can’t say this about the whole college in general, but it is true every bit for how it’s like at the boys’ hostels. It is here that I was a misfit, never able to really value any seniority that comes on account of having been born earlier, irrespective of which side I was on. It defeats all rationale. If I admire you, it may be for your work, your qualities, or even seemingly absurd things as how you walk or how you run through the stairs. But for your age, never. Not unless you’re at least thirty years my senior. Apart from that, it was hands down the most vibrant year. We went to every goddamn fest in the city, dancing through dawns. There were hardly any days on which we slept before 2am. It was the kind of hurry to have fun which you’d expect from someone being packed off to some sand collection project in The Sahara in a week’s time. I don’t know why we were so crazy. It was fun, great fun. Very soon, I got fed up of it.

And when I got fed up of it, I became a little reclusive. Beyond that time I can’t make any generalisations on how college is like, because I had already deviated too much from any generalised conception of college-goers. By a strange coincidence, soon after I happened to read a lot of reclusive-literature, if I may use the term. Some by reclusive authors, some on reclusive protagonists. I can’t say if it was a good thing to have happened or not; at least I don’t regret it; not so far.

Things now are a muddle of all things past, a hazy assortment devoid of any valuable insight, any clear path, or any useful experience. Also, there’s a slight guilt of not having utilized my college years fruitfully. Truth be told, I am only as equipped, have only as much knowledge or skills, as I had when I had just finished Class XII. From this standpoint, it’s been a waste of years. Sometimes I wish I had studied with care, tried to score good marks and all, until the futility of this mistimed regret strikes me. The other day I went to a freshers’ room, just to see how they would react. They looked a little tense at the mere sight of someone unfamiliar in their room, and on coming to know that I am from the fourth year their misgivings multiplied. From their looks, it seemed I was, for them, the sophomore’s vice raised to the power of three. ‘I ragged people who ragged those who are these days ragging you.’, I told them just to experience the look on their faces, which suddenly started looking like pumpkins in a furnace, and I told myself that nothing has changed. When I asked one of them what book they have for Manufacturing Processes, he answered, ‘Yes, err I am err in first err year.’ as though that were his biggest err-or in life. The chap didn’t know what he was speaking. 'We weren’t that bad', I patted myself in my thoughts. Then I told them they could consider me harmless and that I just felt like meeting them casually. One Electronics guy and two Polymers guys were studying Automotive Engineering from a Khali sized book. What on earth do you do with this book, when I, despite my branch and year, don’t know cow about it? This was what I asked, partly startled, partly insecure at my own insufficiency, and partly worried about these overly studious young guys. ‘We are interested in it.’, they answered unequivocally but then started looking at me a little apologetically, until I started feeling apologetic about lacking any concrete interests and went back to my room.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sombre Snippets

Aug 12, 2008, 6:15 AM
As I begin typing this on the word tool, I have a wavy self belief, and not much else. A friend, AG, has just left for his home after spending the night (or whatever remained of it) at my room. There’s nothing I feel right now, except that my legs are paining a lot, particularly below the knees. I just saw the mirror, and I could make out, umm I couldn’t make out anything.

Aug 12, 2008, 2:20 AM

After proposing watching a film, or better – two, just an hour ago, AB has strangely taken a diametrically opposite turn. Now it’s the other two of us – AG and I who want to watch a movie, desperately. AB, though, has refused and insists on sleeping as a ‘good idea’.

Aug 11, 2008, 3:00 PM
Aptitude results are out! 60 out of 250 short-listed. The atmosphere’s frenetic, and around hundred of my colleagues are making calls to hundred other of my colleagues. A couple were counting on me too to let them know of their result as and when it comes out, in case they are not there when it does. I make a call to one, telling him he made it. I was just going to make it to another telling him he had not, but the phone battery, I see, has fished out. I thank God for that. Meanwhile, I discover, there are 5 from my class in the list, plus I.

Aug 11, 2008, 9:30 PM

A second shortlist is about to come now after gruelling hour long interviews with each one of us. All six of us are terribly tired after the unceasing interview and the unceasing waiting that followed it. Meanwhile, PG points out that Kaluwithrana sitting next to the stairs doesn’t look any tired. But why should he; with that bombshell constantly motivating him by his side. ‘Would you be tired then, AG?’, I asked. ‘No way No way’, he answered with a new-found vigour; ‘I’d rather want the interviews to go on all night’. Wait. The shortlist. Shortlist. Yes, I think it has arrived. H’m. Three of the six from my class have been eliminated. For PG especially, I can’t find any consoling words. He was here with me the day before yesterday; when we had stuck till the end before not finding ourselves in the final selections list. I remember we were wondering what keeps them interested in us till the end, and what is it about us that they tend to realise only at the end, and that makes them abhor us all of a sudden. Now as I fasten my knot for the second round, I just take his best wishes while keeping mum, even as he leaves back for the hostel.

Aug 12, 2008, 1:20 AM

‘None of us’, informs AG.
‘None’, confirms AB.
‘None?’ I protest.
None. As we sit rejected and dejected at the end of the entire process, I point out we’d have been better off kicked out after the first round of written itself. What fun is staying up this late, when they had made up their mind. My cumulative till the end of the penultimate round was ranked fourth, the placement council guys inform me. That should have seen me comfortably in; they took seventeen eventually. But no Production-guys. ‘Production sucks’, AG shouts as he kicks air. We are still there on the pavement, though not talking with each other any longer. The security guard asks if we made it, but quickly understood from our looks without us having to answer. Ten minutes later we’re still sitting there, an odd yawn breaking the gloomy silence. Suddenly the super seventeen storm out of the hall, all having their mobiles glued to their ears. A cacophony of ‘Oyeee!’, ‘I’ve got a job Dad!’, ‘(whispering giggles)’, ‘Party party’ etc are to be heard from all sides. We decide to get up and leave. Meanwhile, AB suggests we watch a movie to diverge our minds. We say yes, ok. AB has ‘Singh is Kinng’. Alright, our faces light up.