When you stay silent for a while, the words pour out like a flood when you do finally manage to speak. This, it seems, is what is happening to me. The amount of thoughts and emotions that are churning inside me, they leave me handicapped; numb somehow. The only solace, these words.
In our heads, we have our lives all planned out. School, college, more college, work, probably marriage: a full life. Somewhere in all the planning, our life becomes all about moving from one stage to another, without stopping to give yourself a minute to mourn for what you're leaving behind. Don't worry, I'm not sitting on the edge of a 50-storey building as I type this, about to jump off. You see, I've recently finished college. Not entirely, but I'm now just left with my final exams before I can call myself a graduate. Just another laurel for my CV? Not at all.
To many, the rest of this post will seem like a gross exaggeration, a sentimental trough of over-emotional garbage, and just basically a lot of drama. To you, I apologize beforehand. You may turn away now. To the rest, keep those tissues handy, you may need them.
I'd seen plenty of Hindi films and TV shows to know that college was going to be an awesome experience. Life-changing, love-inducing, song-producing; not to mention- it needed to include a makeover or two. Did any of these happen? Yes, a few. Did it happen in any form that I thought it would? Absolutely not. When my best friend and I walked into St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad, we promptly walked back out the minute we could, on our first day. We were not happy. The building was old, the people were way too many and most of them weird strangers, the teachers were only screaming at us. Suddenly, I could hear all those film reels in my head scrunching back into their cases, and all my excitement being wiped off with a wiper like the rain on the windscreen of a car, squeaky sounds included.
Today, just about three years later, I question whether I settled to now love all those same things, or if I was stupid to not have seen them for how amazing they were. As I struggle today to rummage up one more doubt that I can ask my professors just to keep the discussions going, I feel pretty stupid about my self on the first day of college. In these three years, I have come a long way from being the child that walked into college that day. Somewhere in between those infinite moments spent tanning ourselves on the grass in the lawns and on the football stands, I found friendship. Somewhere during those seemingly never-ending practices and meetings for the Youth Festivals, the Culfests and every other event, I found the ability to speak. Somewhere among the classes that did actually go on forever, I found how to think for myself. I discovered Marlowe and Virginia Woolf, Bakhtin and Showalter, Shaw and the shadow of Shakespeare, but more than that, I began to uncover Farheen Raaj, roll no. 82.
I have a professor from a whole other continent, another who used hindi films to explain T.S Eliot and how a chair can be used to undo an entire thought process, and another who used fruit salad to talk about Coleridge. I also found a mime instructor who wished me good luck for an exam by reminding me to use actual words in stead of expressions, and an event co-ordinator who plied us with a stream of black coffee when the work kept on piling up.
St. Xavier's for me, thus became, all of these. It became the hours spent at the canteen judging people on their clothes while gorging on chilly chicken and chips, it became Hasmukh, the dog that everyone hates but secretly adores. It is the early morning spent trudging up the staircase for class and still realizing that you might just miss attendance because you're late. For me, college became everything; so much so that when someone asks me to give them directions for an address, I actually use my college as a landmark. "Aapne Xavier's college dekha hai na? Wahaan se right lena hai."
How I'm expected to leave all this behind, is a little beyond me at this moment. The absence of the every day routine of college will be a gaping hole in my gut, at least to me, if not to others. The idea that there will be no more Youth Festival valedictory functions where I will scream myself hoarse cheering for other Xavierites that I don't even know or having them cheer for me, is a punch to the gut. All the familiar faces- the comforting ones of your friends and classmates, the even more comforting ones of my English professors, and the feeling of the college stage, all gone. Well not technically, I'll be gone, not them. Maybe that's what hurts too, that nothing will change for the college, except for the loss of one batch. My juniors will remain to become seniors, the teachers remain, the benches and the boards remain, Hasmukh remains. As comforting as that is, it is also what hurts. I cannot bring myself to end this post, just like I cannot bring myself to walk away from my college. No quote, no song lyrics suffice to explain this moment. I'll always be a Xavierite, that cannot be taken away from me, even if everything else can. At least, there is the comfort of that.