I was at my college friend’s wedding reception, exchanging pleasantries with my college folks whom I last met seven years ago. The loud orchestra tearing through an otherwise lovely evening, amplified further by the building’s acoustics, was aimed to either deafen the guests or stop them from interacting with one another completely. The tactic was to keep their focus on the couple alone. Music is fun but so loud, why? Anyways, that’s not what this post is about. It’s definitely not about college nostalgia either as you might have come to expect; rather it’s about the lack of it.
Meeting people from so long ago, I should have got into that sigh-heavy-looking-back phase that I usually do whenever I talk about school memories. On the contrary, I was surprised to find myself glad when I came out of the wedding hall, to have come out of those days when I personally had more unattached memories than cherished ones, memories that I cared not to revisit often. I have no one to blame but fate and me. I was a different person then.
As an innocent child during my school days who continued being a child long after her body matured and moved on, I believed that the world was a wonderful place to be. That was until I was transported into that time zone from 2001 to 2007 when life sparred no rod to spoil that child. I learnt lessons the hard way; you know I am not talking about academic lessons here. For those of you who thought or still thinking that I was a calm quiet girl, who as per the Indian cultural dictionary translates to a “good girl”, believe me when I say that truth couldn’t be further away.
I started my college life with depression, thanks to my first failure from not getting admission into the college of my dreams. Properly aided by my family that suddenly decided that I was an “unlucky” girl with “limited abilities”, except when I was forced to act like my parents’ parents. Supported more by the “fine” college where my thoughts couldn’t sync at any frequency and astrology (I was a believer then) which said that I was under Saturn’s spell for seven and half years. Saturn or not, that spell was a curse. Aren’t these enough reasons to silence a 17 year old girl and put her heart in constant turmoil when until 16, she was oblivious to her predicaments ahead? I was always lost in an imaginary ideal world and the front end result was calm and quiet. And that was just the beginning.
To my lecturers who believed that I was a studious girl, listening to classes and taking notes, sorry to disappoint you. I have this talent of fixing my gaze to your eyes and nodding aptly when my mind was pre-occupied with other priorities that needed more attention. Taking notes was just to complement the pretence. I never read from my own notes. NEVER EVER! Then how did I do my exams well? Only during the last few days of study holidays, I sought help from text books and read concepts from the authors who taught you as well. Half of it. For the remaining half, I listened to studious students who had marked and mastered “important questions” and discussed with me outside the exam hall, without knowing that they were actually educating me. Only consolation, I never copied or cheated. Happy?
To the guys who thought they impressed me with brain, brawn and beauty, sorry that didn’t help. I get more impressed with common sense and confidence. I was strictly against guys who never spoke to girls or girls who never spoke to guys, thereby asserting themselves as “good guys” or “good girls” again. Introverts I can accept because that is their natural behaviour but pretence is for what purpose? I was even more against ones who used wrong misnomers for wrong relationships. If you were friends, say friends. If you were a couple, say so. Buddy, why call yourselves brothers and sisters when you are anything but that?
To the girls who gossiped and passed me pointers, sorry again. I participated for politeness sake. I cared not for who wore what dress for which event. If someone was comfortable with salwar, let her be. If someone else was comfortable with jean, so be it. Sleeved, sleeveless, dupatta pinned up or not were portrayal of a person’s character, is it? I followed dress code to your standards but then, look at me. Could I have been a worse wicked witch? I sometimes felt that girls criticized girls’ attire more than what guys do. I see some of those same gossiping girls today, posing in Facebook, in a faraway land, with a picturesque background with shirts that cannot get any tighter or skirts that cannot get any shorter.
I maintained a trend of not interacting with guys who had “feelings” for me. Sorry guys, seriously! I never intended to set that trend. Like I had confessed before, I was always preoccupied in a different mental world that friends translated my quiet as cold silence. With the way things were in my life, I didn’t make efforts to correct it either, which retrospectively, I think I should have. I mean, which teenage girl does not enjoy adulation from teenage guys? There were days when you had made my day, except that I masked it with my demeanour. Not that I would have reciprocated likewise but I surely did enjoy it. Thanks a bunch!
Talking about “feelings”, for all my indifferent charades, I was hopelessly romantic at heart. I hoped and believed that my prince charming would hail from somewhere, sweep me of my feet and sore me high above all my miseries. He did arrive from the same college but poles apart with my philosophy. I was stung high with infatuation. Deprived of love from the right counters, I longed for affection and nurtured my crush to love. Whenever I tried to be me, I was being judged and the last person on earth I wanted to be judged by was my prince charming. I resorted to change my identity and beliefs that defined me to let the love live, morphing my dream with reality and messing both up.
“My dear ex-Romeo, I am sorry to say that half your talk never appealed to me or never created the same effect that you’d have expected of me. Still, I pretended to be impressed just to please you. If not for my blind love, I’d have disagreed with you most times. You acted not to notice me in college while you chat with me heavily on the internet under the pretext of guarding my honour. Man, how I hated it! I was in love and had no inhibition in saying so; in fact I was very irritated by your secretive behaviour. The college knows and talks, so what? College talks about a lot of things. Were you afraid that ditching me with excuses would become difficult if our love was common knowledge?” He messed up too. In fact a lot of mess happened after college that scarred me and drove me deeper into depression that the original one seemed insignificant. Well, that’s out of scope of this post, let’s move on.
The point is, we broke up. My friend and confidante for a long time, Vijay, had seen me go through the transition from naive little girl to that rebellious bitch and back to being me in seven years. Staying beside me as my friend in need at all times and loving me for what I was without requirement for identity metamorphosis, Vijay and I got confirmed, committed, married and the rest history. There comes introspection time for everyone and it was mine today to admit and accept my follies. I won’t deny that there were some nice moments, sweet memories and good friends but at the magnitude of things going largely wrong, I missed to commit them to memory. Since then, I have matured with time like how everyone else does. The only difference is that I caught up with my life in 2007 from where I left it in 2001 and continue to live till date, with the seven years in between as missing pieces of blocks that never made it to the puzzle.