New beginning

Have you ever been to a roller coaster ride? 

The feeling is exhilarating. Scary yet amazing. Before the ride,all you want is to push through the crowd and go grab a seat in one of the carts. But when it’s your turn, you glance back at your friends, waiting for some sign of reassurance. The aftermath of the ride never matters. After it’s over, you never even take a second look at it, you’re off to experience something new. It’s the time during the ride, when you gain experience. That is how i felt on the first day of college.

At school, you are surrounded by familiar faces. You grow up with them, you share your woes with them, you know everything about each other, merits and demerits, past trauma, family issues, happy moments, whatever it may be. You never realize the value of being with such precious friends. Once when it’s over, it hits you like dagger. Everybody is up with new innovative facebook statuses, expressing their surprise over the flight of time, their deep regret over how much they would miss their friends and even foes. But it is not until you enter college when you actually yearn for your school-hood. 

I still remember the day i entered my college with my parents, carrying a ton of luggage’s, trying to find the way to my hostel with repeated failure. Finally after quite a long maze-play, we located it. There was a buzz present, with students and parents bustling everywhere, shifting bags and whatnots. Thankfully i got my room in ground floor. Carrying the hefty bag’s up the flight of stairs din’t seem like a perfect starting of the day to me. To be honest, i was a bit appalled at the plight of the room. It was pretty small, with three metal cots, three cupboards, old yet cleaned fans and tube lights, two tables and two metal chairs. I wasn’t expecting a polished room with plush beds and air conditioners, but certainly not this. Nonetheless, being a neat-freak, i started arranging my stuff in my cupboard. After an hour’s work, finally i was almost settled in my new home and got introduced to my 2 roommates.

Organizing can build up a large appetite in you, trust me. So we went to a canteen inside campus and had some tasteless food, at that time it seemed delicious though. Finally it was time for my parents to depart. As anyone would expect, my eyes welled up with tears which i suppressed for their sake. All these years, i had enjoyed the comfort of home that the thought of living independently suddenly seemed daunting and ominous. But along with me, 900 other kids are doing it. So there was really no question of me lamenting. Just have to deal with it. 

First day was filled with people shuffling around in groups, introducing themselves to each other with a plastered smile on their face, trying to gain and at the same time extend as much comfort as they can with one another. I too ended up talking with a whole bunch of girls, trying to remember their names and departments. Finally after all the ‘hi’s’ and ‘hello’s’ came to an end, night veiled upon us. I still remember the fear and sadness which engulfed me as i lied down in my un-homely and questionably thick mattress. I drifted into a disturbed sleep thinking of all my school pals and the best moments shared with them. 

 

Things went downhill in the first two months, with my yearning for school progressively increasing every day. Our college hosted an orientation program which spanned over an entire month. We were made to wake up at 6 for yoga practices, and other unlikable stuff such as department visits, motivational speeches, lectures, etc. I seldom attended them, especially the yoga practice, consequences of being a nocturnal kid since childhood. I felt like i had wasted that one month, following a hopeless routine everyday, which now i wish could have used in so many fruitful ways. 

Slowly things picked up as time healed my sorrows and friends started forming. Within the end of first semester, i knew that the current curriculum has been thrown into gutter and is transforming students into cramming-machines, slowly stripping away their practical knowledge and the curiosity to experiment.

Physics was a subject that was numinous to me.  And the reason for this was my physics IIT coaching teacher, Mr.Ravi Shankar. Every week, the 6 hours that i would spend listening to him teach and explain physics was incentive of my ambition. He never closes a topic with just plain and monotonous theory. He transgresses everything to a new practical level, demonstrating each and every phenomena, which leaves us all spell-bound, awe-struck and wanting more. After witnessing such legends, the teaching in college disappointed me a lot. Yet not being in a position to alter the system, i kept quiet and read for the sake of my parents, and scored a good CGPA. 

The winter holidays went within the blink of an eye, a mere one month. I always had an immense flair for Badminton. I regret not pursuing it further during my childhood. But chanting the ‘its never too late’ mantra, i joined a coaching centre and was stumped at myself by how much i was able to improve within a month. Along with this, I also started pursuing my other interests such as playing keyboard and writing articles. Hence that was one month worth relishing. 

Second sem felt much more homely. By the time we returned to college, we were familiar with the place and people. Yet even in the second semester, your friends circle will change a lot. I believe it is only at the end of the first year that you finally form a circle of trustworthy people, travelling with you through thick and thin, or i feel so now. 

We had so many cultural events and our college technical fest fell in the month of march, that the book of second sem, unlike first, was skimmed through, but thoroughly. One thing to be happy and even be blessed about being in NITT is that, there are dozens of clubs, for anything to everything. You name it and there it is. Ranging from robotics to dance to music to astronomy to to 3-D modelling to management to even something as inconspicuous yet important as ‘freethought’. Clubs are the only way you could achieve something and be satisfied with it. Scoring a 9.5 CGPA might make you and especially your parents happy, but i bet you can’t feel contended, because even after scoring such a high grade you’ll feel like you retained so little. 

Even if i ramble on and on about the happenings of first year of college life, you won’t be in the same wavelength as me unless you experience it. Now a year has gone by. From an educational point of view, I’m ashamed at how little i’ve learnt over this year. But from a mental point of view, I couldn’t have asked for more. There were so many ups and downs, more of the latter. So many disappointments. Numerous let-downs. Plenty of woes. And of course never-ending fun.

To trace back to the first line of this article, the entire year was a roller coaster ride for me. Something that i’ve waited for a long time in my life, something that seemed scary when it was about to happen, something that taught me numerous lessons, something which has had a deep impact and something at which i’ll never look back again. A quintessential year of experiences.

The destination is what you always want to reach in your life, but that’s not the best moment of your life, unlike what most people say so. The best moments are experienced without your own knowledge during the journey. Finally when it’s over, just make sure you tried hard enough to leave footprints, not on your path, but on others. 

 

 

 

 

 

A sock’s life clock

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A ray of light hits my eye as i awaken everyday to stare at the unpolished and dirty glass window in front of me. My only means of entertainment everyday is watching people stroll the street. Observing them. Studying them. Scrutinizing their behaviour. Contemplating their thoughts. Over the one month that i’ve been here, I was able to learn a lot. There’s the hunch backed lady who passes by everyday to sneak a glance at the undoubtedly overpriced necklace kept beside me. The office guy with a handlebar-mustache, bulged briefcase, and turtle solid black waist coat, hurrying by everyday to catch the subway train probably. A mother with a worn-out face, fatigue crushing over her probably due to all the years of cumbersome workload she bore, which anyone can realize if they took a moment to look at her face and her wearied hands, guiding her troublesome daughter who puts up a racket to go to school.

Then there is the boy. I observe everyone thoroughly. But there are always exceptions. He is probably 12 years old, average height but profusely malnourished with his skin clinging on to his bones with the help of hardly any muscles. If it were not for his face, i would have never given him a third look. His face is his most, or even the only, striking feature. It radiates humility and kindness. It glows with jubilation and curiosity. It is virtually decapitated from his frail and pale body. And it transcends every other image into becoming a blurry background. He is always accompanied by his dog, wagging its tail, looking as pathetic in appearance as its owner, but as content as a cow in a clover. Looking at the happy couple can cheer anyone up, granted they took a few moments out of their engaged and accustomed lives to glance at the outside world.

I know not why, but the boy always comes close up the window and stares longingly and lovingly. Briefly for a second or two, i see sadness in his eyes. Sadness, languish and years of rugged paths that he had to bear with, and questions. So many questions to which he hadn’t found the answers to yet. It is only for a period of twenty seconds. Then he is gone again with the wind-literally-bouncing up and down with his backpack open at the back, one thin note visible inside.

It was just like any other day. The usual faces and thoughts running here and there. Midst it all, appeared that face again. This time accompanied not with his tiger’s face(That’s what he called his pet).No, this one was similar to the boy’s, but much older, and wan. The struggles and debacles were visibly portrayed on his face. Despite his misgivings, there was nothing but love and endearment in the father’s eyes for his son. It was obvious that he would go to any lengths that he could to ensure that his son had all the basic amenities of life. Today the boy was wearing relatively genteel clothes. Like every other day, he stood in front of the mirror. This time there was only elation booming from his face, all the longing had vanished. He lifted his frail hand and pointed right at me, and then looked up at his father expectantly. His father gave him a nod, only to be suffocated by his son’s hug. For the first time in over a month, i was lifted off my spot.

After paying the bargain-able cashier, i was taken off to a new home. Every dog needs to be taken for a walk. Every toy needs to be played with. Every book needs to be read. And, every sock need to be worn. It is our life destiny to offer comfort and warmth to the most fragile and utilized part of a human body-their feet. And i knew the boy, would take care of me as if i were his prized possession.

For the first time i heard his mom call out his name in their home. Amir. Everyday at exatly 7:30 in the morning i would be taken off the rack, worn with care, and encompassed by my pal, Amir’s shoe. I never knew the places that he went to, the sights that he witnessed, the people that he conversed with. But everyday in the evening, i would be awakened by the sounds of monotonous bells-later i learned it to be temple bells. Not one day do i recall when i wasn’t taken to the temple. And sights there were magnificent beyond words. Being caged in windows my entire life, I never had the chance to experience such majestic sights. The crest of the temple was so high that it was far beyond my eyesight. It rose like an audacious mountain. The people here were never in a hurry. They came here to devote few minutes of their time and they did it with reverence. There an enormously huge black-skinned creature with a long tube for a nose. Strangely, nobody was scared of the monster. In fact, they all went so close to it that it was able to hit them hard with its nose, but these enigmatic people simply walk away with a smile and pride.

The thing i loved the about the place was the atmosphere. Enclosed by serenity and stillness. People always keep running,never looking back, not even to see the people that we’ve brought down. Stillness is a word that has long lost its usage. But with such places, once in a while, they stop to take a deep breath, inhaling calm and genteel quietness whilst exhaling their stress and pressure.

I watched the process of metamorphosis, where boy grew from a young lad, to an obedient teenager, and finally unfold into a beautiful man with his wings that took him from being a paid worker at an industry mill into an employer owning a mill. He transgressed many obstacles thrown at him. But whatever happened, the boy was always respectful towards his parents. Not once have i seen him show contempt towards them. After his parents died, a part of him went away with them. The part of him which contained happiness, that unmistakable curiosity and brimming with questions. Time healed him the best it could. For 28 years i stayed at his feet, content and happy. But one day, a year after his parents demise, he took out a carton and threw in all the old and antique things into it to be kept in the attic. When he took me, for a short while i saw hope in this eyes. I saw him recollect the day he got his birthday wish fulfilled. Before the smile on his lips could attain their form, he kissed me fervently and threw me along with all the other stuff and safely locked us up.

What’s great about life is not that it goes on, but that it ends. Anything immortal becomes immoral. That doesn’t mean one has to wait for their end. It is eventually going to arrive at your doorstep. But when you open the door, you should not feel scared or run away. You should feel content with all your achievements and joy in life and welcome it with acceptance.

“There is no fear in dying. There is only fear in the fear of dying”