College life, as lavishing as it may sound, was nowhere near as lucid as I thought it would be. People meet people, it's what people do. In all honesty, it was nothing new. Except for this time, the old friend called Covid-19, turned out to be a frenemy. In no way am I denying that it helped us sail through the board exams, which we were destined to fail. It came with a price, and it was not destroying our sweet college dream, meeting new people, making friends that last through ages, making enemies, getting drunk for the first time, finding love.
It took a great deal of courage and effort to overcome the laziness to approach people, and form something which might barely pass as friendship, I will call it, “we need to complete the project acquaintances”. Then clubs formed, people met, sometimes laughed at half assed jokes, but it never felt the same, and I doubt it ever will.
Recently, as colleges are about to open, something felt different. It is not bad, nor can it pass as good. Throughout my life, I believed, the feeling of going away from home brings freedom and in some sense, happiness as well. Yet, there is a small part which doesn't wanna go. Parting from the people you have known since forever, and the excitement of meeting someone new, is it what every person who has ever been to a college feels like? You'd never know, but a part of me doesn't want to go and wants to cherish everyone who is still with us in our part-cringeworthy lives.
The people I met online from the college, although hailed from different places, showed a distinguished familiarity. Some are crazy, some plains are a pain in the butt and some of them are inspiring. Many clubs I joined have good people I really want to meet. Will I be an outcast in the offline world? Anxiety, fear and a just a tinge of hope like the faint sunrays peeps through the blinds is evident in my mind.
Well here's a monolog of what went through my head.
A week before my journey to college. Everything feels set, a new life awaits me, where maybe there isn't much intrusion by family, no more nagging by my sister. No more breakup drama between friends, and I can meet some like-minded people.
Only four days till I leave. Hmph, the people I live with aren't as bad as I thought, whether it be my father giving me tips on how to live alone in a hostel and how to talk to classmates, slightly touching the topic of girls and then restraining himself from speaking too much with blushed cheeks. Maybe an old story, but I don't want to push my luck because my old man barely talked to me besides my responsibilities and a lot of scolding. I am happy for this talk, maybe I can push my luck in the next four days, and leave with some perspective changing revelation? Maybe? Let's try talking to him tomorrow.
Four days before abandoning Sam’s den, which was a name given to my room when I was 10 or so, swinging and buzzing through my house, ignoring the very word called ‘Concern’. Maybe I got bored during that time, I remembering getting so bored during my childhood as I had nothing to do. But when I try to reminisce, it’s just me and my old man laughing in a little park. Speaking of my old man, he will be the one dropping me off to Pune, and Pune ain’t free, so he is busy closing off some deals. I really want to talk to him tonight.
Yesterday, it passed in a jiffy, am I speed running through life? I don't know, I met some old friends, who haven't talked to me for a long time, only to announce the news that I will be leaving in a few days. I wound up with their Instagram and a nice chat about how they still go to the same old field to play. Damn! Nostalgia hit me at a subconscious level thinking of that old desert of a garden. There was no grass, some patches here and there which won't allow even a football to pass through. I wonder how we managed to have fun in that place, I wonder what made me drift away?
I am quite angry with one specific friend though, who didn't come to meet me with the rest. That skinny bastard, staying in the city for college, while I am going away. Hush! At least the scenery would be different in my new college, I will be meeting new people, and who knows I might find my special one too? Why does it bring butterflies in my stomach and an emptiness in my heart, both at once? I wonder what it is called?
Last day in my city. My sister gave me a hand-made card, with her illegible handwriting, maybe a letter. I don't wanna read it, I have a feeling it will make me l cancel my tickets. So I'm going to keep my college dream and say I will read it when I am in Pune, something reflected in her eyes, but I didn't want to pay attention. Maybe I wanted to, but I didn't. Then we hugged.
My skinny friend then came late at night to greet me and bid a farewell, that toothpick of a man has the guts to give me a gym sipper as a parting gift to me, another toothpick of a man. We are both thin and love to self-loath about our figures, except it’s just talk and we never acted upon it. Guess, it’s his way of teasing me and saying, “wake up you got to start some grinding”. And then, out of the blue, he came next to me and pulled me in a tight hug. When was the last time I was hugged by a friend? Does the bro-code allow it? I took in a deep breath; it was hard to fill air in my lungs while my eyes were burning.
And the dam broke...
So long story short, the euphoria, no, it was nostalgia, I can't distinguish whether I was happy or sad, but I was at peace. We bade our goodbyes, and promised to meet during the holidays. We will call and text, but I will always cherish that hug. Don't you dare label this close to my heart moment as something illicit, I will personally see to it that you will always get a chair with uneven legs. My mother held back some tears. Well to sum it up, we all had a nice dinner, took a ton of photos, and then didn't sleep for the night.
Present. Scrolling through photos of the past seven days, with my father's faint snoring sounds coming through my ear phones with excellent noise cancellation,
I had a headache. One, saying go for it, you will love every moment of it, every graduate says that, the other is still waiting to book a return ticket as soon as I hit the mystical city of Pune.
What should I do?