Today, I visited my alma mater after a gap of close to 2 1/2 years - 3 years to exaggerate a bit. Four years, four and a half taking my supplementaries into consideration, of my youth were spent in the campus of Cochin University of Science and Technology. Even while looking back at my experiences during those eventful years, I suddenly realize the waning strength of my relations which started in college.
An unknown State, an unknown language, people to whom I was an outsider and who themselves were inscrutable/unpredictable for me ! All these pleasantly conspired and enriched my journey manifold. Each and every place in the campus has a story associated with 'US'. The midnight bumps we gave to the birthday boys in front of the mosque; girls walking down from the SBI ATM towards Da Beach; Cherian, invariably, relieving himself in front of the Da Beach, notwithstanding the availability of resources inside our shelter. Arun being given a carte blanche to all the girls' hostels - he says it is because of his technical prowess and to an extent his oozing sexuality, we prefer believing that the girls' were convinced of Arun's benignity. The buffets at Saj, Harbour View, Silver Plates, Surya, Avenue Reagent, Renaissance. Murali Cheta's calm composed face made me think - "Looks like this man has made peace with everyone he needed to make peace with". ICH and their indifferent waiters; their cutlets which seemed to belong more to the past than to our stomach, "Chood Velum", the invincible combo of "Chor-Mor-Sambhar", the "Panjara Kall" - the stone benches where couples would sit and discuss metaphysical concepts of monumental ramifications. But as Cherian explained it well, it was just an ephemeral bout of intellect which acted as a fig leaf in front of a passerby - an alibi for the Close Encounters of the Freudian kind that they indulged in. Working out the technical and financial modalities for the ASIANET internet; Beach was the headquarters for all things holy, sinister, permissible interactions with the (not so) fairer sex.
Arun, Cherian and I walking from the Beach to Annexe. Cherian standing at the ICH X road and clapping his hand and in the process, scaring the shit out of the sleeping birds, LITERALLY. What followed was a flurry of activity of the volucrine kind and a road carpet bombed with bird poop.
Well, I can sure be accused of being selective/amnesic/narrowed in my nostalgia; but what can I do..the canvas called college life is just too vast to be painted by a single person. Also as concurred by many friends, this phase of life had its lessons too. But more on that in some later blog.
Most of the people from college whom I talk to, agree with the fact that college was a golden period of their lives. Everytime I look back on that phase, I feel a part of me saying "what if we could "TURN BACK THE CLOCK" The voice of this part of myself is fading each passing day. I think it is because of the simple realisation that such a temporal travel is not possible. College was COLLEGE because of ite people. Now, all the people have moved on or are trying to move on. People who have not been able to cross the threshold find no reason, at present, to savour the college days. For many of them it may actually be a s nightmare that will pass, give time.
I remember Sunil Sam, one of our batchmates. For him college life was an ordeal for the first half of the four years. Then, as luck would have had it, he met us. Suddenly college appeared to be dream, he wished, would last forever.
Cherian, my classmate, not to mention my close pal too; he had a very objective view of college life. "Enjoy it while I am here but I do not want to stay back in this mess" (to put it mildly).
For some like a few student party workers, the admission to this course was just a wild card entry into the murky world of student politics.
Nevertheless, a sizable number of us, were young a lot naive. The ones who had seen the world, "been there, done that" types; well college for them was just one of the motions of life to be gone through.
For Joe Bloggs' (to borrow the Princeton Review analogy) like me, college was a roller coaster of emotions, academics, assignments, frienships, skulduggery. Joe Bloggs' like me passed out, thanking God for the great experience, thirsting for more and well equipped to handle the intentional and unintentional vicissitudes of life.
Sometimes I feel, if I had realized that college would be so full of possibilities, which would not be afforded so easily later on, would I have done something different. If i had known that studying and getting marks, by any means possible, would have ensured more Zeroes in my pay packet, would I have handled the academics more seriously.
I will never know and to be sure, this is how I would like it to be. Waiting for my next visit to my alma mater for the next gush of nostalgic emotions which I am sure will result in another cathartic piece like this one.