Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This is what memories are made of.

Many a soul skips by these quiet spaces nonchalantly, never a pause in the mind. Cruel time flies by; us - busy lavishing emotions on lands and faces beyond this timeless wrap.

And the silent halls will continue to deeply echo our silly fights and meaningless laughter, long after we are gone.


Dedicated: Ethiraj College for Women


.“Don’t worry about the election loss. The department will welcome you with open arms as its association secretary,” was the consolation a majority of people chose to give. And sure as hell, when college reopened, it happened. Apart from my senior batch missing in their class and absence of the persistent sound of familiar voices that always hung about in the air, nothing much seemed odd for a few days – until the freshers came along.

It only then dawned that I had to be there seat them in the auditorium for the first time for the orientation ordeal and I also had to take them around for the ‘college tour’ which in reality translated to showing them the way to the department and their classes, and whatever happens to be standing on the way. It felt very strange the way we had to tell them about rules like ‘mobile phones strictly not allowed,’ ‘Wellington plaza, Kanchi hotel and Spencers strictly out of bounds for Ethirajians.’ I had to suppress a chuckle by pulling on a straight face which very easily gave away the moment I met Shailee’s gaze across the room. 

After several attempts at trying to explain about ‘Aarambh’ and ‘Maithri’ and ‘Srishti’ and ‘Scrambler’ and several other details at once to them, we decided it was time we let them eat their snack in peace. Five minutes later, we were goading the enthusiastic bunch towards the auditorium, weaving our own versions of the history of the library, the hostels, the canteen and I even caught a friend raving about the how ‘special’ the soil around the basketball court was. 

Finally, after the first years from all the departments settled down, the cultural events by various college teams began. Harini finished the classical dance rendition. The college light music team came on stage next. They did their usual ‘Docomo’ tune sound check and the auditorium was roaring with cheers. A tiny lump formed in my throat. Indu then takes the mike and says that the next song they were going to render was very special to both the team and the college itself and right after that, my memory blurred and I was transported to a different time. ‘… this is definitely our second college song,’ the girl on stage says as the team breaks into ‘Aathangara marame…’ which had us screaming at the top of our lungs. Right after that followed ‘Please sir’ from boys performed as an acapella. I was trying to figure out which voice related to whose face and after a few moments, I just decided to close my eyes and listen to the entire rendition. I had goose bumps when the performance ended. ‘This is team Swasthik. We had Gayathri on the lead, Swathy on the vocals and the base guitar, Archana on the keys and this is Shruti,’ she said to another huge round of applause. ‘… we are team Mithra,’ Indu finished and I figured right there that this was no joke.

Samantha, the new college president takes the mike and asks the first years if they liked the performance to which they scream their approval. The sense of excitement is thick and very evident in the air. She announces that she would keep asking questions between all the programs and says that she’d start from the basic thing they had to know about the college. And just as she was saying it, I mouthed it right along with her, audible enough for Dharini, who was standing right next to me, to hear: ‘What is the college colour?‘  My eyes clouded right there and I turned to look at Dharini. In one breath we said it at the same time – ‘Apoorva.’

A million memories came rushing and tears were swelling up uncontrollably. Other friends who were sitting in the opposite side of the lower gallery bent forward to catch a glimpse of my face, equally shaken at the enormity of what was happening around us and the shock the slap of reality gave on our terror-stricken faces fresh. The same orientation programme that had happened when I had joined Ethiraj stayed fresh in my mind. The regular guesses of ‘purple’ and ‘lavender’ came along for the question about the college colour and I said to myself, ‘Mauve,’ picturing how Apoorva twisted her lips when she said that, laughing a tiny laugh to myself amid the tears running down my cheek.

I remembered all at once the white and pink salwar she wore during the first day of my orientation and how the entire Students’ union was in white that day, the way she would mime clapping, standing at one wing of the stage and how the auditorium would instantly burst into thunderous applause. The letter that I had written – out of pure admiration, I strongly add - which was very wonderfully read in the auditorium right there and the way people identified me as the ‘letter girl’ and the ‘Apoorva girl’ for a long time to come – I faced that question even during my campaigning sessions when people asked me why I had written it and what I had written in it. It annoyed me after a certain point of time, but at that instant, sitting in the auditorium, I was unable to conceive why I wasn’t among the general first year crowd, looking at the ‘Reflections’ themed dance and cheering for the Western Music team. Blurring again – Anjana. And her guitar.

Pradeepa, sitting in the chair beside the spot I stood, tugged at my t-shirt and jerked her head towards the first years who were seated in the rows in front of her. I realized that we had grown up way too fast and it was time that a new set of enthusiastic kids looked up to us as the secretaries and seniors. I gulped and hastily wiped off the stray tears and joined the cheering for the western team on stage.

There were times during the first couple of weeks of my final year when I used to walk to the union room, half-expecting to catch a chat with Srunika, Umapriya, Anupama, Meena, Ishwarya or Deepa. To discuss about sponsorships, about a departmental activity and about plans for other events. When I would ask Shailee if she was late because she was camping in the union room yet again. And when I would look into her eyes and we’d smile weakly before moving on to some other topic of discussion.

Getting over this terrible feeling that the years have run over us will probably take a lot more time than the tenure I have left at college. Final year. Already. Madness. But I guess there’s this one single year that is at my disposal as of now. Time to forget stupid fights, keep aside silly egos, spend quality time together, bunk in healthy intervals – for first day, first shows, for C&C visits, to roam about aimlessly at Spencers, to go window shopping at EA, to raid Pondy Bazaar, for the umpteen other shopping trips, for sleepovers and the deep sleep we plunge into when it dawns and for bunking just for the sake of it -  take more than enough pictures and make memories worth considering life to have been lived in. 

Someday, far into the future, maybe at least 5 of them would turn up for my wedding and I would have pictures to show my kid while explaining what ‘friends’ and ‘fun’ mean.

P.s: All the people whose names I’ve mentioned here and other seniors including my department secretaries, the Students’ union of the past 2 years, those in the different college teams and those who were an integral part of making those years very colourful and full of captivation, thank you. You have given me moments to cherish, reminisce and write about.

-       Just Someone.


minitha said...

Someday, far into the future, maybe at least 5 of them would turn up for my wedding and I would have pictures to show my kid while explaining what ‘friends’ and ‘fun’ mean.

This. *wipestears*

...Anupama? :D


Srunika Kannan said...

I heard this post first... Made me and a friend dip at the same places. I was involved but the other person knows nothing about this whole thing and yet... Beautifully written, beautifully worded. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you, My Kiddo.

Frightening prince said...

The Pic itself says a lot!, On a whole its was pleasant reading baby. Good post :) Love it a lot.