On my way to meet a friend for lunch, I was traveling in the metro today and I was standing beside two college girls; one had a backpack and the other carried a sling-bag. They were talking about their upcoming exams and getting notes from someone. Their conversation, their laughter and their outfits, reminded me of my college days.
My college days were amazing. I would match my outfits and my accessories perfectly. I would carry a nice sling-bag with all my books. My college was just a five minute walk from my home. I would meet my friends at the parking lot, that’s where they’d park their mopeds. Together we would rush to our classes. I had opted for Psychology, English Literature and History as my subjects. All my teachers were amazing, barring one or two.
During the breaks, we would sit on the benches around the Basketball court and chit-chat about everything under the sun. We would laugh, joke about and discuss cool plans. We would also talk about studies and exams, we would be worried sometimes about how we were going to cover all the portions. We would make plans of group studies at someone’s house. Of course we would chat and laugh more than study, but then that’s something to be expected.We would often eat samosas or crispy veg in the canteen and chit-chat.
My History teacher was way too fast in dictating notes, I couldn’t write properly because of a wrist injury sustained during a school picnic. I had to look up the notes in the library as a result. But my other teachers were amazing, they explained rather than give notes, which was way more interesting. Studying William Shakespeare’s dramas and poems and Wordsworth, Keats, Burns, Shelley and many other amazing poets wax eloquent about nature and love was something that really got me going. I never felt like missing these classes. I still feel so warm when I think about Wordsworth’s Daffodils or Robert Burns’ Red Red Rose or even Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind.
I particularly loved reading Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, all of which remain at the top of my list of favorites. I have read them multiple times.
In the second year of my college, my friends and I always came up with plans to explore around, so I had begun taking my moped to college too. I used to drive along with them on my little Bajaj Sunny after the classes got over. It was immense fun doing that.
We would always celebrate Friendship’s Day on the 1st Sunday of August, giving each other friendship bands and gifts and going out for lunch. It is still the in-thing to do that, but we’ve all outgrown it. Though we still do wish each other on the occasion, just to go down the memory lane and reminisce all the crazy and fun times we had.
We would always stress out about exams and careers and jobs. We used to discuss where we went wrong after the exam got over and get worried about how much we were gonna score. And if we failed, then would we get jobs and would we be able to make careers. A couple of my friends were in relationships, so they would worry about whether they would be able to get married or not.
In those days, my head was always in the clouds, and Literature sky-rocketed me even farther. I had no idea what real life was like, what the world was like; but then perhaps at that age, all girls are like that, with their heads always in the clouds, building castles in the air. Though my castle was never ‘princess-marrying-the-prince’, it was more of a ‘working-girl-marrying-a-modern-and-progressive-prince’ castle. But despite all the worries and sky castle constructions, we were never bogged down by too many responsibilities back then.
We have all taken different paths to life, they all got married while I got busy in making a career. But we do have our own Whatsapp group and we talk to each other maybe twice a year and chat regularly, we have kept in touch all through these years.
A couple of years after graduation, I moved to Bangalore and got a job in a small start-up, still clueless about a lot of things. Slowly though, as I progressed into the corporate ladder, I gained experience and I got to learn what the real world is. My head fell from the clouds to straight on the ground. I got bogged down by so many responsibilities and commitments; I completely changed and evolved as a person. My perspective broadened, I got exposed to so many things. Sometimes my life is bit of a conundrum; sometimes I am absolutely cynical, and other times the literature lover part of me takes away that cynicism. Maybe deep down I am not really that cynical, but life has made me be one on a superficial level, as a coping mechanism.
During my school and college days, I always used to wonder what life would be like in the 20s, what it would be like when I take my first step on the professional path. At that age everyone wants to grow up so fast; all we want to do is graduate and begin our adult lives, as individuals striving to carve our own identities. But at this stage, having worked since so many years, I wish I could have those carefree days back. Sure I stressed about studies and exams, but in retrospection, that stress wasn’t as much as I face today. Unfortunately, time cannot be turned back and those days will never come return. When I saw those two girls in the metro, I wished that it could, and I would get a chance to go to my college again and attend those lectures or just sit on the Basketball ground and have fun with my friends.