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.