Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Change called College

College is that phase of one’s life when suddenly, everything changes. One moment you are at school, at your home, under the supervision of your parents and then all at once, you go to an unknown place full of unknown people and start a new life from the scratch. 2012 was the year that change happened in my life.

When my WBJEE seat allotment page said “Haldia Institute of Technology”, I promptly turned to Google to see what it had to say about it. Wikipedia describes Haldia as one of the biggest and most influential towns of West Bengal owing to all the industries and factories situated in it and HIT as the oldest and one of the best private engineering colleges of the state.

The first thing that welcomed my first steps in one of the most “influential towns” of WB was the mode of transportation. It was more or less a slab of wood on 4 wheels cycled by humane means. “Thela Gadi”, I said in horror, “Van” some seniors glared at me. Next were the series of tumbledown huts lining on either side of the road on the way to my hostel. “Shacks” I said, “Khopcha” was chorus. The sudden plunge from the safe home atmosphere to the bustling environment of a hostel was unsettling. But what was even more unsettling was the sight of the railway station visible from my room’s window. The first week of college couldn’t end fast enough for me to go back home in the weekend.

My first year passed in pretty much the same way – enduring five days of college to rush back home at the slightest hint of a holiday. It was only when the first year of my college ended and all my bags were packed shut for the hostel shifting that I realized what the college had given me and why it seemed so hard to leave the hostel.

I don’t know whether it was the drowsy hours spent in the classroom, or the “Golpo” sessions in the labs; the last minute scrambling before a test, or the late night “Cha” and “Adda”; the level of “Lyadh” with its ever increasing slope, or the sudden inclusion of the terms like “Cazz” in my vocabulary but somewhere along the journey the “Thela Gadi” became “Van” and the “Shacks” became “Khopchas” for me.

You can’t stay away from the charm of the college and even my weekly escape home couldn’t stop me from falling in love with the place. You can’t stay away from the endless discussions where every other person has the confidence of an expert and you most certainly can’t stay away from the ambiance of sharing a room with three other people for the first time in your life.

College had seemed scary to me at the beginning because the change involved was so drastic. But three years down the line made me realize that a change it was; a change for the best.

College is about discovering new things but more importantly it is about discovering yourself in the face of every situation that crops up. College changes you in irreversible ways, teaches you things you never thought existed and moulds you for the best. In 3 years my college life has given me memories that will make me smile for the rest of my life. It has taught me some lessons the hard way but at the same time given me friends who find funny side of everything. It has given me people I would never forget, made me incapable of treating potato as anything other than the hostel food, taught me to be shameless when it comes to tasty food and made me much wiser than I was 3 years before. 

This post is written for housing.com



Saturday, March 14, 2015

A friend in need...

There are some days in your life that you cannot erase from your memory. Days that are dark and filled with misery but lighten up with the love someone shows and gives you the courage to get up and walk on. 

In my life one of those days came as 1st February 2012, the day my grandmother passed away. I had just returned from the hospital, and I had the enormous task of not letting my grandfather know about what had happened. I was the only one at home and it was with enormous effort that I lied to my Dadu. That was the first time I was actually grateful that he could not see. 

I lay on my bed, my body numb with shock and my mind mercilessly playing that one image of my Dadi lying on that hospital bed, how her hands were still warm when I shook them, and how the blood had gushed out when the nurse pulled out the IV. 

I could not cry. I just could not. I could not accept the fact that she was never coming back. Even after 3 years, there are moments now when I involuntarily get to thinking what I would tell her when something major comes in my life. That is how it always had been and there is nothing crueler than the person you have grown around for 17 years being snatched away from you like that. 

My parents came, along with a couple of relatives- details my brain took in vaguely as I continued doing a detailed survey of the bedroom ceiling, my Chemistry notebook (I had my exam on 3rd) in my hands. 

I remember replying to my father's queries on when my practical exams were going to end so that he could do the reservations to Rajahmundry for the final death rites. I remember the hushed tones of that conversation, the closed door of my Dadu's room, the way my mother's eyes kept filling with tears automatically. 

My mind still refused to register what had happened and the only thing I remember thinking as soon as I heard that we had to make a journey was that I had to get books. Journey=Novels. The mantra I had been following since childhood. 

"I need to go to Antara's place", I said suddenly, jumping from my bed. "I need to get some books to last me a one week trip", I elaborated. 

I called her before I took my cycle out mechanically and cycled to Antara’s place. I stood at her doorstep waiting after I rang the doorbell. She came then, and before I could even start talking, she hugged me, hard, so hard that my insides seemed to melt from their frozen state. She just held me like that and I remember whispering “I don’t know what to do” repeatedly into her shoulder.

I was never a hugger. My mother is the only one in my family who has the least bit of inclination towards showing physical signs of emotion and I certainly was not of that category. I don’t have the memory of hugging my sibling, or my best friends or anyone for that matter.

So that was my first hug, a proper one and it did something to me. Something warmed my numbed heart on that chilly February night and when she released me and I saw in her eyes the empathy I had been unknowingly searching for, I felt a strange hope in my chest.

She never said anything that night, did not give me those empty words of comfort and condolences that I learned to hate in the coming days. Sometimes a whispered word, a look of understanding, a touch of love work more magic than an elaborated talk. I got all of those that night and I will always be grateful for that. 

I returned back home with a stack of Agatha Christies and the courage to cope with my loss. 

There is a quote from one of my favourite books Winnie the Pooh where Christopher Robin says to Pooh : "Promise me you will always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." Antara is the friend who always reminds me this. The first person I call when I feel low on self esteem because I can always rely on her to give me that tiny nudge to bring me back on track.

Oh, what would we do without such friends! 

This post is written for Housing.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I so wanna remain a spinster, my friends are too awesome and other things.

I know.

I know I haven't updated my blog since a really long time and I also entertain the possibility of all my imaginary readers giving up on me as a lost case scenario but hey, I have been busy.

At least, I would like to imagine myself as being busy. Super busy. Impossibly busy.

Terribly jobless in reality. Sigh.

Some quick updates: I am in my third year of engineering, 6th semester and still hopelessly lost about what I want to do in future which is without any exaggeration, 'looming ahead'. I still have no interest in what I am studying and I don't even try to change that. It is true. Don't judge me by my marks. Rather, don't judge me at all.

Sometimes, I wonder which one is worse- strangers judging you or people you actually know and like doing that.

Anyway, back to the updating thingy. I am currently sitting at home bunking classes because
A. It is my Dadi's death anniversary tomorrow
B. I have never had any inclination to attend college and any reason to bunk it is embraced by me with open arms.

Spring Fest 2015 at Kgp just got over which was
A. Super disappointing
B. Pretty much the same really.
(We are too above being excited by fest thingys anyway. What say Arpita? My fellow let-us-roam-on-the-streets-of-kgp-during-SF-in-pyjamas-when-everyone-else-is-looking-super-hot!?)

I just realized how very contradicting the two sub parts of the above point are. Weird.

I had Red Bull which
A. Was a super disgusting version of Grilinctus cough syrup
B. Pretty much failed in its purpose of boosting my energy levels because I dozed off within minutes of drinking it.

I did a mini-project (super mini-project if you ask me since it ended in just 3 days. Yeah, I know.) at IOCL which was
A. Super awesome
B. Super awesome

I mean, that was one of the rare times when people treated me and a bunch of other 3rd year undergraduates with supreme importance as if they REALLY meant when they said that we were the 'future' of Chemical Engineering.

Me, future of Chemical Engineering. Ha. Me, who can't even write a page of abstract about the project I would like to do. Me, who doesn't even CARE about not being able to write an abstract about the project I would like to do. Me, who... You get the drift right?

I also spent my winter vacation at Vizag (as usual) and reached some horrifying conclusions about the community I belong to.
Don't get me wrong, I am one hundred percent proud my culture, my upbringing and the ways most of the things work in my family and other similar families around me. I mean, my parents are decent, hard working, affectionate and sincere people (like all parents) and I believe that we (my brother and I) would grow up to be decent people as well but there are some things that you just cannot refrain reaction to. Even if it is in silence. On your blog.

Okay, so the thing is, South Indians are OBSESSED with marriage. As in totally, hugely, literally obsessed. They see any girl with a B.Tech degree and any guy with a year of job experience as prospective bride and groom and it is just.so.frustrating. 

I am so glad that my parents are not like that. But wait. I do not know about it. My father hardly ever expresses anything over such topics and my mother, is well, my mother. And on top of them is my aunt. I mean, some lady just has to drop in and gush over how beautiful and accomplished I am (which I am not) and she will probably marry me off to her son in a jiffy. 

That... that sounds pretty pathetic. And I know I am just exaggerating it but I just can't help it. It is as if I am being educated just so I become more eligible a commodity in the bazaar of marriage. I am not talking about dowry. Our families, despite all shortcomings in the area of marriages are mercifully exempt from dowry and shit. But that's only one plus. Believe me. 

I know I am exaggerating it all again and that there is every possibility that I would have the independence to work after my parents marry me off but why do I even need to worry my tiny little brain about stuff like marriage? I am not even 20 for God's sake! 

So yeah, there is your South-Indian families in a nut-shell. Graduation/Post-graduation is the prefect time to marry your girls off. (Even guys I swear). Ta-da!

Lovely? NOT. 

And this fear is something that I can't even share with most of my friends who are all bongs and who have a ridiculously forward attitude about the matter. I mean, so do my cousins and all other people of my generation but it is not my cousins who would be in charge of all this right? It would be my family.

And family doesn't just mean my parents who would be totally okay with me marrying after my PhD (as if I would do it) but my obnoxious relatives as well who (refer to the above mentioned points) are marriage crazy.

And this is not because I am a girl or anything. My poor cousin who is just like 25 or something goes through the same. It is just that in our families marriage is seen as the only way of 'settling down' and they have a really RIDICULOUS age set for it. 

So if I do not get a job or an M.Tech seat after my graduation, there is every possibility that you would see my marriage invitation on my blog after a few years. 

Oh what won't I give to drop a bomb on all of them and remain a spinster for all my life. 

Now that would be worthy of a plot twist. Aha! 

Though that would mean all my fantasies about a love story which I have been spinning since class 10 vanishing in a puff of smoke but when did those have any possibility of becoming true. So yeah, it is a total win-win situation. 

It is probably here that I should mention that I am ranting about a completely different topic than what is bugging me at the moment but I don't want to sound bitter and bitchy on my blog. Which I would if I start writing about the actual bug-zone region. So bear with my overly exaggerated rants about South Indian families and their marriages. You have something different to feed on than the stereotypical Idli and Dosa. 

On a completely different note, I would like to mention a few things that kept me going in my current bugged state. 

1. Neil Gaiman- This man can WRITE. And imagine. And write about those things he imagines in a way that would seem so so SO REAL. Thank you Antz for this one. Oh, the number of things I owe you for. If you like dark fantasy, you should totally read him. He.Is.Awesome. Period. 

My favourite so far is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. But then I loved The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Stardust and Neverwhere as well. I mean, you just cannot NOT love what he writes. And he is such a comfort when you are down. 

Mr.Gaiman, you simply rock my world. 

2. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries- If you love Pride and Prejudice, you will simply adore this. There and Pride and Prejudice adaptations and then there is THIS. Totally awesome. But then, what else do you expect from Hank Green huh?

Apart from these, I am also reading a lot of classics these days and the current one is The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. So far, it is pretty good. 

And then there are your friends. Believe me, if you have friends like mine, you have the mental strength to get out of any crisis (though mine wasn't any CRISIS. Just me blowing things out of proportions with my imagination).

Be it Rimli with her I-told-you-this-would-happen (I swear she is psychic), or Huttu with Why-are-you-crying-over-what-you-know-is-true (insert mocking tone and humorous abuses) or Antara with the prefect words of comfort and empathy you can ever expect from anyone or Sushmita with You-are-the-best-and-anyone-else-who-disagrees-is-going-to-get-a-bashing-from-me or Arpita with the perfect balance of sarcasm and sense, my friends rock it and I just would be lost without them. Guys (I don't know if you are reading this), I owe you. 

Well, that's all for now. I leave with the assurance that I am NOT morbid because though I worry a lot, I still manage to get out of my moods and smile and talk around and get back into one of my morbid moods again :D It is a cycle. But hey, this is me and you are still reading my blog despite all of it (insert- conversation with imaginary readers). 

Reading my way out of my gloom, 
Yours, 
Kirti