Ranchi Chronicles: The First Month

It has been a month here at BIT! Classes and labs have taken over what used to be office, apartment and Volvo bus rides. Although I am privy to updates from office every alternate day and not-so-frequent updates from room-mates, it sure feels like a long time ago. A good 80 percent of my time was spent at developing tools and applications and a month of separation feels like the passage of an era in the transition from office to college. But the subconscious mind perpetually weaves a dream that it is a transit period and I will be back at Bengaluru nee Bangalore. Should I be mulling over it? I know not. Little did I know that the second half of this year would bring about a sea of change! I find it hard to believe, that, when nostalgia and home-sickness take hold of me I sense it as a longing to be at Bangalore not Shillong! Should I be ashamed? I know not.

I always knew college would come about. I went ahead with my preparation for GATE; the entire focus centred on a good score. Yes, I knew a good score meant back to college never contemplating how it would be to be back to a life of black-boards and classrooms. The mental preparation just wasn’t there. A couple of rejections from colleges which I hoped, pined and longed for dampened my spirit, frustration plunged lower and it felt like I had hit rock-bottom. Did a master’s degree mean the world to me that everything seemed meaningless and awkward? So much so that a strong sense of disappointment and being unjust to myself set in when I was, rather, happy with the work I had been doing. May be it was a sense of incompleteness, a race I had deserted and getting back to college meant chasing the distant indefinite goal. But when college actually happened why wasn’t I happy? I remember when the office staff of my department took me aside and mentioned that I had been selected for a master’s course at BIT Mesra there was no thrill. Is satisfaction relative? Does achievement mould into a stage of disappointment in the race for another dream, another goal? Were my goals somewhere else? Yes, NIT would have made me happier but can I be sure? Either case the decision to join college and to quit a job that offered me all, suddenly took a monstrous and ugly shape and I was dismayed. I had been supporting folks at home financially but now I will not be able to. Will they manage fine? Why was I being selfish? Do my dreams and goals mean everything and not those of my mother, my grandmother? I had believed that a masters degree would mean redemption of all that had occurred, of all that I had lived, been through, of all that I would have to live had not college happened. College synonymously stood for breaking free from the staleness that life seemed, much like the first rays of sunlight after weeks of rain and a grey and gloomy overcast sky. It had been a ‘do or die’ situation but it just was not. With such a confusion I chose to leave Bangalore.

Still expecting to avail a seat at NIT I began my innings here and now I am almost ruling this place and NIT, I’ve let go! It has been a month and two days. Life revolves around college and hostel, classes and assignments, library and mess. Unlike bachelors there was seldom any adjustment to make that I would otherwise fuss about. I blended in effortlessly. Common bathroom, not-so-clean mess, ill-maintained street lights inside the campus were accepted with little resistance. Test on two subjects are complete while three are sometime next week. Subjects are interesting but the merits and demerits of a deemed university are class-notes-equals-marks. Knowledge goes unnoticed but there are teachers who would appreciate it; it is an individual effort to amass as much as possible, I’ve learnt, and make the most of circumstances. While I remain grossly unhappy with some teachers and the methodology for teaching the rest are good. The students are yet again the same-the studious, the carefree, the meek, the brave and I am labelled ‘polite’. How I wish I could do away with his image.

In Bangalore I had my own space-the cupboard on the right, the coffee mug and Nandini Good Life, tea as sweet as sugar syrup on Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Malayali bakery with Abhinab, mulling over lunch, washing clothes and the elaborate ritual that it was to me, studying or reading in the hall, disappearing to the terrace to decipher the patterns on a tattered cloudy sky, watch the silvery reflection on a moon-lit night, feel the wind on my skin, solitary and long evening walks on weekends, ladoos and halwa and momos on Sunday evenings with colleagues, earphones perpetually plugged onto my ears, singing out aloud when cleaning, climbing three floors of our apartment building, the five floors of office and an adventuresome thirteen floors to the cafeteria, occasionally, when the elevators were brimming with people and hunger pangs drove us nuts, tea-breaks, pizza plans, novels, book club meets, never-ending bus rides, taking the dusty short-cut to the bus-stop, an entire Cadbury silk which I would finish off in ten minutes, black tea prepared by Abhinab, cursing our TL at work, fussing over my room-mate’s girlfriend sleeping over every now and then, discovering Bangalore with Rosun, the many lunches and dinners at his place, crying in a bus-stop, Kalmane, CCD, walnut brownies, a new found friend in Somdip, being a listener to Sandeep’s woes.

And here my day begins early for college is at 8 in the morning and I rather not wait at the endless queue to bathe et al. Classes in R&D building, Main Building, lunch, labs, a night stroll which I absolutely adore, the Sal and Gulmohar trees, canteens and shops that are called OC (outer co-operative located in one extreme corner of the campus) and CC (customer co-operative located relatively close to hostel and college building), Mahak the college canteen, a CCD express, a little class group, discussions on studies, a rather large room in one corner of hostel, cursing the Hostel clerk, my study table in one corner, piles of books.

A month here!

27th August, 2013

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