Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Wonder Years...

More often than not I have stayed away from dissecting the four years of college as I have found it difficult to bite into (which wuz odd considering, Arun Hari, a pal I closely relate with has stubbornly blogged with this same title to keep our flock together when it seemed we drifted away by reminding us of all we did)...For one, those days were far too romantic beyond the harsh realities of today's working life...two, I still couldnt figure out whether that era made me or dismantled me in the long run. Nothing better than putting thoughts into words to gain a better perspective. College...where every schoolboy raring to grow up dreams of finding himself...watching chetanmaar streak thru in front of their eyes on shiny bikes, pretty girls in salwars and jeans, freedom from a never ending phase of uniforms, discipline, parental excertions, heavy textbooks, progress cards to be signed by guardians, etc, etc and etc. College was all this to me then and more...I had an added incentive to ensure that all the confidence picked up towards the later years of school life which lay dormant there would find meaning, purpose and achievement here.

Well, things turned out much differently to my surprise. A few months on in the first semester...after I organized our first excursion and new year party a big vacuum settled in and in a college standing on a few acres with space only for ugly buildings and a forever choked and dusty pappanamcode junction just off the campus and with an atmosphere of perpetual tension lingering arising from pitched strikes and fights between sfi-abvp-teachers-departments I yearned for a change. The trajectory, my life took from then on has constantly played out in the back of my mind...with all the good that came with the choice I made there was a lot I lost(or did I???). I became one of the savages...at first a loose confederation of like-minded, like-spirited boys looking for all the color, all the adventure and all the frills and risks that neither the college, or the textbooks or the strikes or gals cud give us. I was so happy then...though all along I knew I was changing in ways I found too helpless to deal with...I quit reading, money, money and money...nothing wuz more important, though I wuz studying to engineer computers the only way i cud relate with my field wuz thru email and mp3, materialism corrupted forever whatever inherent idealism had struck root in me...even god became a casualty.This lifestyle set me back by a few years in the US, there wuz a constant struggle to learn to walk without a cruch in every aspect of my days...when my grades slipped to the edge of a very dangerous precipe, when my credit history took a beating b4 i realized the vagaries of student loans, credit cards and paying untility bills in time,when i stayed hungry or lived off junk food b4 i forced myself to start cooking...everything wrong with me then...i simply laid the blame squarely at the roller-coaster of a college life I led.

Time has a way of turning around our perception of history. For some, it is through experience, for others it is through knowledge acquired...whatever be my case, today I am able to put some of the peices back into the jigsaw puzzle that life is. I have seen the 'highs' of being an unabashed extrovert and connoiseur of the good life, the 'lows' of being an introvert steeped in a world of the characters in the books i read and a fascination that I was one of them and the 'medians' of having to straddle these two extremes of human behavior. College gave me many things I never realized, though I lost out on a lot of valuable reading in those years, my classmates there encouraged me to start writing...the savages gave me experiences I will value to the very end...from taking risks, building relationships, being able to laugh at myself, to be street smart and most importantly to be a responsible person. We all fell in and out of love, failed and excelled in exams, won and lost more cricket matches than we can remember, opened our hearts to each other whether we boozed or not...sometimes they were humorous, sometimes tinged with sadness and though many a teachers curse might have fallen on us...we never became the run-off-the-mill set of vaalis...whenever there wuz a dumb charades, quiz, song, dance, cricket, programming contest or semester exams in the offing one or most or all the savages were there to give our best.

Life is short...who knows if there is heaven or hell or rebirth...to say you have done it all and given your best in everything you did is a hard task for any man. Every person, every incident that happens brings me closer to finding out what I want to do next. Though college set me off on the bewildering path of thinking in code and bits and bytes, huffing and puffing to catch up with every programming problem i have to encounter day-in and day-out it may have just set the tone for what the future holds for me...I know not if it will be the 300+(maybe 400+ too) movies we saw at the tvm theatres in the 4 years(shinoj arrived at this approx figure considering a "low' avg of 2 per week which we most likely surpassed) or the economics we debated hotly then or the countless long emails in the same nature of this blog i wud shoot to our class egroups or the data structures, algorithms and the C++ code we scratched our heads abt once in a while that will give me my livelihood. Even if none of these things work out...the friends from whom I benefitted, learned from, bonded with and most importantly still keep in touch despite distance and the passage of time ensures that those 4 years were after all not spent in vain. Today, i am passing through a phase where i feel my friendships drifting away...as the struggle for survival gets more pronounced, my need for them is lesser...its a lonely path in life henceforth...i took a long time to make peace with this existential fact...i am happy for one thing though...ever since this blog started I have been able to pay tribute to a lot of people who moulded me into what I am...if this post didnt come out now i knew i was in danger of committing a grave injustice of overlooking a group of people who sold me a dream once...a dream which I could have lived in only once in life...It would be amusing to see how our kids live out their college life...many years on I will look forward to the amusement and consternation of seeing a Junior Viswan, Chota Shan , Kiran Jr. and the progenies of the other Savages live out their Wonder Years...

Cheers!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chota Jabban will be the funniest for sure .ROTFL

Mangal ho!

Shan

Jiby said...

i dont mind him being funny...but i'll make sure he doesnt end up with the kind of pals i had...hehe...just kidding...i am already feeling jealous of the bugger b4 he is born!!! but honestly, shan if i sift thru our college fotos i can find more than a dozen that wud give future chota shan a lasting impression of his dad's heroics in college!

roopa said...

Hi...

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for my friend's journal. I have enjoyed reading every bit of it...and though I grew up in a different place and time, I indentify with most of what you've logged...especially the bit in today's blog about the drifting away of friends and living it out alone...! Keep writing...

Peace!

Jiby said...

Hi Roopa,
Thanks for visiting my blog...I am glad to see new readers here especially when i am scared of turning old readers away due to the repetitive nature of my topics.

silverine said...

What struck me about your posts right from the beginning is the amazing honesty with which you write and the fluency with which you pen down perspectives of your life. I am afraid I never be able to do that. So I guess I will stick to spin :))

Great post.

However like I said in my "Friendship Day " post, you have a long way to go before fast forwards to kids in college :))

Jiby said...

Anjali as always, thanks for the encouragement...and like u wrote then, kids are all a long way off...but not knowing what to make of the immediate future i safely assumed the distant road will bring these menaces into my life and of reliving the wonder years thru their eyes!

Praveen said...

Wonderful post, you have an amazing flow in your writings, makes for very good reading.