Alive For A While

on Saturday, July 30, 2011

I am good with nostalgia. Really good. I can feel nostalgic about almost everything I have had an association with. For the past three years, I created an illusion around me. An illusion of having grown up. Growing up with an ability of tear-free moving on. So far, the illusion did not seem treacherous. The numerous farewells conducted in the college- in music society, the Economics Department, WSDC, and the big-grand-college farewell itself- none of them could lead to even an allusion of moisture in my eyes. It was so different from the school farewell, where I shed an epic amount of tears, right from the beginning, till the very end, and may be later as well. But now, as I graduated out of college, it seemed like the most natural course of things- not even for a second was I in denial. Everyone graduates, some with smile, some with copious tears, some with fondness, some with grudges- I think I was largely impassive. And that was because the emotions had not yet knocked on my door.

"I'll miss you"- this one sentence, when spoken at the end of a seven minute conversation, by a diminutive figure with benign eyes and a humble disposition, a person who epitomized respect, diligence and everything astute during college life, a lecturer who made you want to study, can make even the most somnolent feelings of loss which thus far you had been suppressing away to an obscure corner of your heart come alive. Dr. Ela Trivedi- this name was reverential in college. It still is. And after a rigorous lecture in International Trade to the nascent third year students, as she stepped out of Room 308 yesterday when I visited college, I could realize, with force that too, what will never come back to me after embarking on a journey beyond college. She meant well, inquired meaningfully, did not show any hurry- in short, she sent my way every emotion which did not reek of the slightest formality and which made me realize the strength of my association with this grand institution called Jesus and Mary College- its grandeur more palpable now when I look back as a spectator, not a part.

As she walked away, a faint tear did try to force its way out of my eyes. I wanted to just walk over to the fabled 308 balcony- where naps were taken, fests planned, books read, notes completed, rains enjoyed, gossip sessions held, secrets confided, sadness shared, photo-sessions undertaken- and spend a quiet moment with myself. May be I once again wanted to look down at the parking lot and guess by looking at the assortment of cars which teachers would definitely be inside college. May be I just wanted to stare at the JMC gate and imagine my friends approaching the building, their hand waving fondly at me. Or may be I wanted to just look at the sky and seek an answer to "Where now, what now?"

Yes, my heart did feel heavy, but it felt alive too. I was on a well deserved leave out of the plush corporate ambiance of Gurgaon offices, and breathing in the odours of familiar corridors of JMC. These were the corridors to which we were expelled when we forgot to carry a Sydsaeter and Hammond or an Allen Webster to class, and these were the corridors from which we shouted out desperately to get that one extra attendance when our lecturers did actually expel us. Now the same corridors were brimming with faces, both familiar and unknown. Around ten of these faces came forward to give me the extra-special hugs, typical to the kind of bonding which develops amid JMCites. Two of these faces held my hand and dragged me to the quiter corners of the college to ask, share, discuss everything that came to their mind. I don't know for how long they will, but right now, my juniors do miss me. They wanted to tell me so much, ask me so much- and all I could do was to apologize for the dearth of time. In this one day respite I got from buying and selling currencies(my current occupation), I had to live at least a thousand more moments which office life heartlessly deprives me of. It does, of course, more than compensate by giving me fun moments of a different kind; but the charms of the carefree yet responsible college life do inveigle me as of now.

Remembering the highs, consciously forgetting the lows, I write from this room which sequesters me from the travails of the life being led and the uncertain future to follow. I am, right now, allowed the luxury if being engulfed by memories which make me smile into nothingness. And as I do so, I remember faces
My professors-irrespective of the way we opined in college, they were not just the best professors, but sometimes, more than just professors. Friends do tag along, but these are the real treasures we leave behind.
My mentors- Nivya Nair and Swati Iyer- two seniors who lent me that knowledge of music which I never had the luxury of understanding..and they helped a lost kid find some comfort, some solace.
My juniors- they just made me feel like the most special person in college. The respect and the love I got, and I still get, leaves me indebted.
My friends- few,  but prized.
My best friends- fewer, but mine for life.

PS- And the book-shop wale uncle. I don't think anyone in the college can function without his kindness. I owe him so much, monetarily. Hopefully, my first salary will lessen the debts. Only the monetary debts. The near filial benevolence he showed, how can I ever pay back for that?