At the College Gate…

xaviers gate

Standing at the college gate you wonder what your future holds in store….looking back at the college walls I remember my first day. 

A letter I wrote to my past self. It has been published on Campus Diaries, an online self-expression platform for the youth, but please do check it out. And I hope you like it.

https://campusdiaries.com/stories/at-the-college-gate

Advertisements

11th October 2014: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

She glared at me from across the classroom, over the heads of the students calmly writing their papers (hiding the stress that bubbled just beneath the surface). Sweat glistened on my brow. It was ridiculous — I knew I hadn’t done anything, but there was something so accusatory in that glare that I felt guilty, like I had committed some unpardonable sin.

This is a scene from my examination hall today afternoon. For some inexplicable reason, the invigilator had taken into her head that I was copying answers off the paper of the girl sitting in front of me. I wasn’t. It was a 60 marks paper, with 4 questions of 15 marks. Completely subjective. I couldn’t copy, even if I wanted to – and I didn’t really need to. I knew the answers, was assured of them, and yet She was convinced that I was cheating.

Do you know how difficult it is to concentrate on writing when someone glares at you? She kept coming over, and every time – EVERY TIME – I looked up she was there, staring at me with narrowed eyes. I hadn’t done anything, but her gaze made me feel like I had. Every time she walked past my desk, I only had one thing in mind – don’t look guilty, act cool, act cool. And of course this meant I looked all the more guilty.

She looked at me like the lean, mean cop in the hard-core detective film looks at the suspect, who squirms under his gaze, and confesses to the crime. I never sympathized with the poor fellow till today, when I was placed under the same position.

Invigilator *with her eyes*: Cheat in my exam will you? I don’t think so! 

o-TRUE-DETECTIVE-THEORIES-facebook

Me: I didn’t do anything – stop glaring at me!! 

ace-ventura-pet-detective1

I was afraid to look up, to even move an inch, just in case she came over again. I got a crick in my neck. I was more focused on acting nonchalant than on answering my paper!

I was relieved when the final bell rang, but the narrowed eyes of the invigilator as she collected the answer booklets told me I was by no way free from the burden of accusations – what can I say – Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Just Be – the Conundrum of a First-Year College Student

The four years of my high school I spent in studying as hard as I could….so that four years down the line I could get into my dream college, and I did. I topped my class, passed out with flying colours and a lot of accolades, and before I knew it, I was standing at the gates of the college I had always wanted to get in, doing the course I wanted.

I should have been happy — but instead I felt lost. Where do I go from here? I wasn’t the only one. A few of my friends reported feeling similar symptoms of lethargy. We had lost the drive, the one goal that had been guiding our life till now. I lost interest in studies. Everything felt worthless. I tried planning for my career after college, but the road beyond the three years of college seemed so dark and gloomy, so full of unexpected twists and unknown obstacles, that thinking about it gave me goosebumps and panic attacks. I was almost in the midst of an existential crisis. I had spent most of my teenage life driving at breakneck speed towards this destination, and now that I was here, I had no idea where to go now.

It struck me quite suddenly, randomly out of the blue, but one day I just shook myself:

What are you so melancholic about? This is where you wanted to be for the last four years. You worked hard to reach here, and now that you are here, you are thinking of what to do when you leave?! 

Idiot! (Being me, I am allowed to call myself names 😛 ) Enjoy these three years to the fullest. Revel in the glory that is today. The rest will sort itself out, as and when it happens. Don’t think about that. 

Just BE!

Renovated Proverbs: 12 July 2014

One of the worst sights in this world are watching a train you intended to catch, leave.
So while I sit at the platform waiting for the next train, let me tell you a little bit about my day. Today in creative writing class, my teacher had the unique idea of giving us half of a popular proverb, and asking us to complete the sentence. These are some unique renovated proverbs me and my classmates came up with:

Better safe than…. Pregnant
(Only for Mumbai residents – the proverb me and my friend thought of was Better Safe And Leave Early Than Take A Virar Local)

People in glass houses shouldn’t… Change Clothes.
Also People in glass houses… Should use solar cookers.

Strike while… The Mother’s Out.

It’s always darkest before the… Movie Starts.
Also It is always darkest before… You turn the lights on.

You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t… Do That With A Lion.

Do not underestimate the power of…Desperation.

Do not bite the hand that…Pays You.

Love all, trust… Me.

Where there is smoke, there is… A Cigarette.

Somehow I like some of these, More Than The Originals 😛

Daily Prompt: An Odd Trio

I sit in the college canteen amidst the usual hustle-bustle of students, nursing a bowl of hot Manchow soup between my hands. The warmth feels nice on this dreary, cold morning. It has been raining continuously since yesterday afternoon, but knowing this is Mumbai, it will continue raining ceaselessly till tomorrow afternoon, if not longer. The wooden chairs painted a bright, sunshine yellow are the only spot of brightness under the dull gray sky, and I wonder if that is the reason they painted the chairs yellow in the first place. It is a strange colour to pick, without any thought or reason. Surely there must have been some reason…I pursue this train of thought for a while before realizing I am thinking about chairs! 

With lack of anything else to do, I sip some of the hot soup, and burn my tongue as a result. 

The cat comes up to me and meows piteously. The cat is our canteen cat. Nobody knows when and where she came from, but she is a constant presence in the college canteen. She isn’t an ordinary cat either. She has perfectly mastered the art of begging. She spends her days moving from student to student, meowing piteously and looking at us with pleading eyes (who knew a cat could master the ‘puppy eyes’ technique so well!) in a way that made it seem as if she has been starving for days (despite her fat girth). “Shoo!” I tell her, not knowing how exactly to serve soup to a cat. She gives me another adorably cute look, before realizing that I was going to stay firm.

With a final hiss, she moves on to the group at the next table. The girls ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over her, and as most of their kind do pet her belly and feed her tidbits from their plates; while the boys, as most of their kind do while the objects of their attention do not give them attention, glare sullenly. I spend a few more minutes observing the most popular feline socialite of our college. When in between there were rumours of her being pregnant, the entire college had been in a tizzy. The college newspaper even did a story on possible kitten names! 

I take another spoonful of soup, savouring the warm, spicy taste. 

A classmate walks by, holding a beach towel. I can’t stop myself from asking: “What are you doing with a beach towel?” The guy pauses, and looks confused for a minute, “I am not really sure. I had an epiphany that you needed it”. 

Why would I need a beach towel?” I ask mystified. 

You don’t need it. You need to see it” he explains patiently, before walking away.

I continue drinking my soup, and wonder idly why the tables were painted red…?

Today’s Daily Prompt: An Odd Trio

June 20 2014: Welcome Back to College

It has been exactly 12 days since college reopened, and the charm is gradually wearing off. During vacations you feel so eager to return back to college – to meet old friends, visit the popular hang-outs and enjoy the a la carte menu at the canteen.
But as and when college does open, you remember all the reasons that you wanted to get away from it in the first place – lectures, assignments and the all-pervasive homework.
Barely 2 weeks in college, and am already exhausted. I can barely find enough strength in myself to get up at the crack of dawn, get ready and go to college. The alarm clock and I have reinstated our mutual enmity, and it is harassing me with renewed vigour.
At college I look through groggy eyes at the beautifully dressed fashion divas, marveling at the fact that they managed to curl their hair and match their accessories, when I had just managed to throw on the first pieces of apparel I touched in the morning. There are others like me too. You can easily spot them in the canteen – red, bleary eyes nursing a cup of hot coffee.

The bell rings, and you begin the long trudge to the lecture room, up 3 flights of stairs, chanting in your mind all the reasons you love college for….the sandwiches at the canteen for instance.

22nd February 2014 – An Indian Weekend

# Statutory Warning: All incidents mentioned her are strictly true…more or less. 

So, today while sitting in class and aimlessly doodling in my notebook while my professor droned on about ‘The Effects of Media on Adolescence’ I had a sudden brainwave of keeping an online diary. Heck why not? I thought. I am hopelessly single, a term employee at Jobless Incorporated and have a negligible social life – so I definitely have the time, and I have been itching to try something new for quite sometime now. Though knowing my innate and astonishing ability to procrastinate, it might soon reach an inevitable end anyways….well that’s enough depressing talk for one day, and before you start wondering how in the world you ended up here, I better start what I intended to start when I start(ed).

Most Indian Colleges have still to catch up on the true meaning of the concept of ‘weekend’. As far as they are concerned it means getting students to wake up at half-past five and come to college looking like zombies, so that you can further doom them with tedious lectures, and finally pile up enough homework and assignments to make sure that they don’t even have time to breathe on Sunday. Indian College Professors would excel at world domination. Anyways that’s how my day started. The only perk being that the hot guy I kinda-sorta like sat next to me in class today – I wish it was because he wanted my company, but I have a nasty feeling it was only because that was the only seat left available in the classroom when he arrived – and every now and then during the two hour long lecture, his hand would brush against mine. Once he actually started tapping my fingers with his, probably a game, or a desperate attempt to keep himself awake – whatever the case it generated enough adrenaline (and some other hormones) in me to keep my eyes open in class.

On my way back, in the notoriously slow Western Locals of Mumbai, I met up with a friend. She told me of another disastrous weekend she had with a couple of her friends. All of them had bought drinks and gone to one of the boys’ house for a booze party. This was the first time that they had purchased vodka, and thus did not have much of a clue as to when to restrain themselves, and also ignorant of the fact that the effect of vodka takes a while to sink in. So they kept drinking till they felt ‘high’ and the result was they passed the borderline of sobriety and sanity. After an extremely wild party they went out to a family restaurant to display their inebriated state to the entire world. One of the girls, my friend told me in between bursts of embarrassed laughter, dipped her paper napkin into the gravy boat and ate it. Yet, she continued, the worst part of the evening was yet to come. “You see, we were so drunk that we had forgotten to clean up the place; and when my friend went home he found all the bottles we were supposed to throw out on the table, the place stinking of alcohol and his parents standing in front of him, arms crossed”.

“So what happened?” I asked.

“Oh nothing much. He made up a story. He told his parents that did they honestly think he was stupid enough to drink, if he did drink, in his own house, and not clean up”.

“And they bought it?” I asked incredulously.

“Oh yes! You see his parents thought that no one could be that stupid. But we were. That stupid!”

“So, you were saved because his parents underestimated your stupidity!!” 

And that’s enough for today. I write again soon….maybe. Please feel free to leave a comment on what you think.