Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A few hours to go before I start out for Rourkela, and it seems I have become quite the procrastinator, since its only now that I have sat down to write the ‘Summer Entry’ for my blog, many of which had been planned originally. And while I know, dear reader, that such behaviour is inexcusable, I have my defences, this being a pretty good vacation, one in which if not anything else, I was kept busy. There isn’t much to write about, partly because all my creativity is being drained away by White (yes, that is the name I have decided to stick since that was the name that Windows autosaved it under, and its as good as any other) and partly because, I am reluctant, nay scared, to speculate about the future. Very different from the mental state that I had around this time a year back, or the year before. And I am not exactly languishing in agony or melancholy either, so that takes away my other favourite muse. So dear friend, instead of cancelling this article, the thought of which has already visited my mind more times than I would care to admit, lets, I say, dwell on the past. ‘Cause it is not only in your most tender years that your mind has the ability to block out, or cover up, the painful memories, preserving just the pleasant ones, for moments like these.
I, thus, withdraw into my cocoon, my shell. The shadows are done creeping around, I let them jump up and engulf me. The ceiling grows distant, the walls draw closer. I let it, I let them, because its only when the night is blackest, do we see the stars, and it is stars I have promised you.
But nothing bright leaps up at me, no white shimmering spot steadily rising in intensity, till it grandly announces its arrival on the scene. No. It is just dust and ash, and clouds, and rain. I strain my eyes, for a cold now grips me, the fear that I, having promised you and led you along for so long, might have to shame-facedly turn you back, that in a moment as monumental as the final few hours at home, I haven’t been able to produce anything worth anyone’s while. But, what is it I see? This can’t be! Yes it is! But I had seen that cloud once already, I can swear it wasn’t there. But, see for yourself, it is there! Have I then, in my search for something grand, overlooked this tiny little star? This dwarf quietly throbbing away in the shelter of the brown mist? Have I betrayed the all-too human flaw of expecting every beginning to be a collage of grandeur and megalomania?
No, as I can see now, and must tell you, the first tiny star, the first memory that entered my mind, is nothing but a brown brew in a red paper cup, in front of a red booth. The whole place seemed so alien back then, the first lab ever of my B.Tech career, the cup of coffee taken to ward off sleep, something I had much read that it happened so. ‘Engineering Drawing’, the two words had filled my mind up with neatly drawn pictures of buildings, on large charts of paper, shaded to perfection, with complicated drawing devices strewn across my work-table. I remember thinking of all that and also the abrupt feeling of disappointment and betrayal I felt seeing just a small room crammed with dozens of computers, all shamelessly displaying the words “AUTOCAD Student Version” on their screens.
But I must move on, three more stars have started gleaming in the velvet firmament already, begging to be inspected too. There I am saying goodbye to a weeping mother as they go away and then proceeding to the swimming pool where I meet the first friends I make in this college, and there I am in the cool February night uttering into my phone words that I had never meant till that moment, and there that’s me again, standing in awe as men dressed in black do windmills with their guitar, and their long hairs, while my ears are assaulted by the huge speaker next to me.
Now the space around me grows thinner, light pervades the surroundings; they are now popping up everywhere I look. A massive explosion of life, and brightness. They flow into my mind like a river breaking a dam. I am tossed a tennis ball which I refuse to take, as it gets closer, it turns into a balled-up fist. I brace myself for receiving the ball, when the lights go out, and I am missing a locket around my neck. There is my senior, who pours into my glass the first drops of what would forever increase its presence in my life, and there is me repaying his debt to my juniors a year later. I see bright yellow lights, not unlike these stars, blinding me, and I am disappointed at the roar, or the absence thereof. But it doesn’t matter ‘cause they have been preceded by laser-lit skies and moonlit stairways, by dances and by buses. And by aimless wanderings, eyes averted even in darkness. There are friendly invitations and more balled-up fists. There are drops of sweat on radiating keyboards. There are blank screens with pulsating dots, and inquisitions scribbling hasty D’s. Peers accept while patrons reject. Amber finds a voice, while winter learns to scream. Cold breezes caress backs, yet sweat accompanies shivers. The warm woody smell of trust fills my nostrils as grey concrete rushes past at hundred. Sparkling yellow drowns me from the insides while its bubbles rise all the way to my head. I see myself black marker in hand greeting the first rays of a red sun by scribbling on my room’s walls while a maths book lies open on my bed. It rains and an umbrella is borrowed, skins wet and heads ache. It rains words, the mist obscures the crowds. And obscures it still.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
My last 18 minutes as a second year engineering student, which means I am now officially ass deep in my 'chosen' career. Screwed up my endsems big time after a neat performance in the midsems, which basically means, I am staying put as a 7 pointer. Engineering Grades Inertia, the mystical condition where the graph of your academic performance gets suspended in time and space, making you fight to hang on to your average while offering no chance for improvement, has claimed its latest victim.
The electricity returns to our rooms, breathing life back into my desert cooler. The noisy apparatus drowns out the irritating voices of the final year students, who in a collective stroke of nostalgia, had been playing antakshiri for the last half hour. My cooler served me well for these two months, its water-choked breeze seeing me through the worst of the summer. I shall be returning it tomorrow, its stint over in room B-318, the meagrely dimensioned space I shared with another full-grown human for the last one year. We had settled on staying here because it was the only room that wasn't locked, infact it didn't have a latch, and no lights either, and one wall covered with graffitti that was both meaningless and obscene. When we leave it tomorrow, it will have a layer of debris thicker than a hedgehog's hide, and infinitely more dangerous( I sometimes hear sounds from under my bed that convince me, the two of us aren't the only occupants of this room), a very hastily hammered together latch, and FOUR walls full of meaningless obscenity. And we intend to take away the lights.
"Self-imrprovement is masturbation."
Me not being a smoker, the backpost wasn't at all the reason why I had chosen to come to Hall 7. "Its got a gym better than DTS, a music room and many other such designated 'rooms'" is what my senior, a Hall 7 addict had told me. Here I am ten months later and I am yet to see what the gym looks like. If there is one word I associate with Hall 7 it is 'ennui'. In a corridor that has Gulti M.Techs and people from the strangest parts of India playing the most obnoxious form of music ever invented in the most obnoxiously loud speakers, it is no surprise that I hardly ventured out of my room. My days here were spent stretched out on my bed staring glassy-eyed at my laptop, occasionally strumming my guitar and/or reading the previous occupants' wall-scribblings for the umpteenth time.
Hall 7 wasn't all about boredom and inaction. There's a reason why this place has been christened Hell 7. And if this hostel is hell, my corridor, the hill-facing B-top, is where Satan takes his dump. His minions, the little red ones, swarm this place, arriving in thousands every evening, all year round, wreaking havoc. You need nets everywhere, on your windows to protect yourself from these tiny terrors. And even that is not enough. I personally don't have a single part of my body that does not have scars testifying to the my ordeal here, my suffering at the hands of this plague.
Two minutes to go now. All in all, Hall 7 is where I wanted to come at the end of last year. Now, I never want to see this place again. Its not about how good the place looks from the outside. Its about how it makes you feel inside. The environs of a person do affect his outlook and state of mind. I know I am going to try my damnedest to get shifted to another hall next session. But there is this one place where I can never go back to. It was a place where you always referred to your room as "our room", where ALL doors were broken, yet we somehow never worried about our belongings, where the mess was the size of the room the Hall 7 night canteen is in, but it had a fridge and you could wake up the guy anytime in the night to give you an amul kool. It was a place where I had the most helpful of GMAT's living next door, the craziest of gamers a few doors away, whose desktop was as good as a public computer, and who could solve any technical issue with a swipe of his mouse, and a college-superstar-in-the-making sleeping right next to me. It had a real lawn, one that was not surrounded by concrete and people on all 4 sides, where one could have a long phone conversation without everyone in the hostel being able to see you. It was less silent than Hall 7 but infinitely more peaceful.
I miss Hall 4.
Friday, February 4, 2011
There is a heaviness in my heart. And to think of it I can’t remember the last time it had actually felt light. So much time in its company has afforded me the unenviable chance to analyze it, to look within, figure out what it is. Not much good has come of it though. Its a mixture in there. Pretty much everything I have looked for, I have found. If I thought maybe it is because I carry so much hatred in me, for everyone and everything around, that is what I found. If I wondered whether it is because I am deeply in love, I have found that in there too. But thats not it. The weight never lifts. Nostalgia, boredom, irritation, regret, sense of achievement, helplessness- its all there. But there is more, or maybe it is something entirely different. Maybe I’ll never know, maybe I can never know.
People tell me I should smile more, that they get negative vibes from me from the very first meeting onwards. That I ought to be more amiable, or sociable. I want to tell them I can’t. I can’t because I AM guilty of all that they accuse me of. I really don’t like to smile. Laughing is not a problem, but smiling makes me something I am not. I do stay wrapped up in my own existence. I like it that ways. I like empty classrooms. I breathe a subconscious sigh of relief everytime my room-mate goes off leaving the room to myself. I like it when its dark. Not because I can’t be seen, but because I can’t see others. I do feel that I exist on a different, not higher, level of existence. I am genuinely disinterested about other people’s lives, and find their problems and stories plain mundane and boring. That is why my ‘Hello’ is more of an acknowledgement, rather than a greeting. That is why I feel it to be too much of an exercise to distort my face into a smile. And even if I do, my eyes simply don’t obey.
I have trouble letting go. Even when I was a kid, I always found it tough to part with old toys. My wallet’s back pocket is evidence of the fact that I like to preserve. I like to hang on to stuff long after they have outlived their usefulness and even if they have become downright harmful. Maybe that is what this weight is all about; bits and pieces of the past that have accumulated over my two decades of existence. The memories are long gone, but the regrets and disappointments have not. Will they? I don’t know. Do I want them to? I don’t think so.