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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The K Files: Retrospect


Yesterday marked the end of my first month away from home and hence, ideally, yesterday is when you should have been reading this. However, that is how life is in denizens. It's implausible, if not entire impossible, to stick to a Sheldonian schedule here.
As I write this, there is a freshers' party scheduled for our batch tonight. We've been instructed not to carry our cameras along. Things are expected to get a bit naughty.
If you are an introvert, a B School is the last place you would want to see yourself in. Every event, every activity, is aimed at squeezing out the last remaining shreds of personal space that, you think, is entirely yours. Every Professor (Prof, as they call them here), brings along a teaching assistant whose sole purpose is to ascertain and adjudicate how vocal you are during the lecture. You have to speak. And that is what most of us do. During our induction, the Admission Chairperson gave a mantra which is probably on the top of every pin up board in all hostel rooms: 'Underestimate everyone, but never underestimate your batch-mates'. One month later, I have begun to understand the nuances of his statement. You might score 13 out of 14 in a quiz, yet, in all likelihood, may find yourself lowering the class average. During a lecture, you might say something really ingenious, yet end up chagrined with the long forgotten sheepish smile following suit. Yet, outside the class, you discover among your classmates, some of the best people you have ever met during your lifetime.
Before and after, comes the hostel. For some reason, your towels and innerwear always hog the balcony railings; the pair of Jeans that you wore to class last to last morning, this morning, and by the looks of it, tomorrows morning, always finds a nice little spot on your chair; your bedsheets are always in need of botox, your socks' permanent address bears the name of your Adidas and Hush Puppies; your formal shirts and trousers have been out of your closet for at least a week, and finally, the study lamp in front of you has been facing the side walls since the last time you turned it on.
Besides, some of the theorems, which you thought were axioms, have indeed been proven wrong. The water bottle on your table doesn't get automatically filled overnight. If you fall asleep on your chair, you do not find yourself in the bed next morning. And if you do lie down on your bed, and the mercury dips during the night, the folded blanket remains inertial till the next morning. If you are getting late for breakfast, the paratha and the glass of milk would not automatically zero down beside your bed. If you leave your clothes in the bathroom, they remain there till the next day. The floor does not get cleaned and mopped automatically. Your wallet broke up with the mystery benefactor long ago. 9:40 comes and goes, yet you hear no car approach, no footsteps, no doorbell.
You see faces, lots and lots of them. You look at them and you smile. Yet, the absence of faces that you looked at and grinned is conspicuous.
It's good that we have a party this evening. When the clock strikes 9:40 tonight, I think I will have enough faces around to let my mind digress to cars, footsteps, doors and doorbells.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The K files: Vistas

It's been a fortnight since my Delhi SIM updated its status to 'Roaming', and a month since I pressed the 'Submit' button at the bottom of this page.
Delhi seems like an obscure passage on a lost page, long gone, long lost in this novel, whose pages are turning at an alarmingly fast rate. Yet, the passage can never be forgotten. It will never be forgotten, for the passage leads to a passageway, right to my heart, through the paintings which adorn my pin-up board, through the alarm clock kept on my study, via the Roosevelts embedded on the pen stand and the orange and white pens kept inside.

Kerala is an amazing place, and I say this despite being very judicious with the usage of adjective. I turn my head to the right and see a sea of green, an arm's distance away from my balcony. The branches of a tree with dark, ugly seeds bow to me every morning. Its compatriots, reluctant at first, follow suit soon after. The breeze ruffles their leaves, almost prompting them to speak up and speak out. But when it leaves, the leaves go back to their initial, observant state. As I write, a leaf has just flown over the railing, into the balcony, onto the pale tiles of the floor. It's trying to grab my attention, and perhaps is doing a good job at it. I think I should just take it and put it on my study.

The scenic, mystic beauty of the place is in stark contrast to the rumbling automobiles of the capital. My balcony, at Delhi, would show me the remarkable NH-8, the tarred wonder linking two cities who had had no love lost between them for ever since I can remember. The vista here depicts a small foot-track, a mud dud beyond the boundaries of the enclave I live in. I do not know where this path would take someone who dares to venture. But I think he'll find a lot of trees and a lot of fallen leaves, like the one which lies on my study now.

Never mind the laptop. It just doesn't leave me alone
There is a philosopher in each one of us: the subjective which decides the uttered objective, the fine line which questions the indifferent towing in line; the thought behind the think tank. 22 years later and 3000 kms from what I used to call home, he knocked on my door last night.