BITS happened in the summer of 2005, and ever since I reached Goa I have felt like a nomad. I felt at home at home and also, at BITS - my new home. Before coming to BITS I always traveled with my parents who ensured I was comfortable wherever we went. In BITS, I had many journeys and sojourns, without my parents, and they taught me how to make any place my home. The latest in the list is Bangalore.
Back in December last year, before I left the campus, I knew coming six months were going to be in Bangalore- thanks to PS2. I knew that after spending every single minute I was awake with friends, for the past three-and-a-half years, Bangalore was going to be difficult. without them. Even for someone like me who loves(loved??) solitude. That is the effect college, especially hostel, life had on me.
For those readers who don't understand the closeness and deep bonds of friendship that you develop in college, I don't know how to explain. I can just say, try staying away from your home, away from family after being dependent on them for more than 15 years of your life. Try being surrounded by hundreds of people sailing in the same boat as you. And then try to explain the complications of your day to day (happening?) college life to your family members sitting hundreds or thousands of kilometers from you. Try to stay fresh and alive and happy and perky as you move away from your loved ones. Try it. You will understand. Trust me.
For those who have the experience, well, what can I say, you know the feeling. Those of you reading this, who are still living this rosy period of life, my advice is live it to the fullest. And those of you who are out, you could join me in raising a toast to the days gone by- the golden period of our lives.
Ok enough! I am going off the track... So my campus life is over. It has ended and has brought me to this new stage-Practice School 2. The PS2 program is a weird feature. Actually it is a good entry into the world outside the campus- or a good introduction to the working environment. You are out of college and don't have the option of bunking or sleeping till after midday. You can't or at least wouldn't want to disappoint the host organisation, the BITSian ego in you will make sure of that. Yet, you are not into the corporate world. Unless you are really unlucky, chances are you will have a dozen BITSians for company. Your weekends will still be spent eating out, catching a movie and sometimes sitting on the footpaths (though less often now), with familiar faces. The only change is the background of the image. The objects remain the same.
Now out of the campus, it is a strange feeling of independence. This is the first time I am staying away from the sheltered environment provided my parents or BITS. No restrictions what so ever(except that I need to come to PS everyday!). And I am liking it, as I am sure most others are too. This freedom is even sweeter for my committed friends who can spend more time with their gfs/bfs without the fear of being caught by anyone(of course everyone fears the moral police). There is a lot more for them to do, and many more options to hang out, and more freedom, thus more demands on their time.
So, what happens to me when all my friends are busy with their bfs/gfs? Well, I am alone on the streets of Bangalore(after a point its boring to sit in a 12X12 feet room with three beds). I see many things around me which I hardly notice when I am in a group. I simply love the tiny bird hopping on the wet grass, the small helpless boy in tattered clothes selling tea to get some money for his dinner, the bright yellow shirt a wannabe metrosexual guy is flaunting, the speed at which Honda Civic crosses me, the look in the eyes of the pink faced one year old in his mom's arms, the look of affection in the mother's eyes, the smile on a pretty girl's face as she is busy typing on her iPhone, the assurance of protection that a father offers his son who is firmly holding his dad's hand, the happiness on the face of a young boy of five when his mom gets him a Happy Meal, the fascination on his face when he plays with the toy, the group of people standing on the road to cross the road, in a rush to reach their destinations on time, the guy wearing white shirt and stylish sunglasses at night, waiting for his girlfriend to come and sit behind on his CBZ, the girlfriend who is walking with great difficulty in her high heeled shoes, the last few rays of sun giving a brilliant glow to the sky, the big strong trees disappearing into the darkness of the night, the autowala haggling with two guys for ten bucks...and a lot more.
Sometimes I feel that silence and solitude are the best things in the world. It makes me look at things I often miss in my everyday busy schedule when I am hanging out with my friends. Things outside and inside. I absorb my surroundings better. I just sit at CCD with a book and cappucino. I get to checkout books in Landmark for hours, without having to worry about someone else. I eat what I want, when I want and all I want. I watch the stupidest movie ever made and laugh very hard. I go off to sleep contented in my heart-a weird kind of peace. I don't understand the feeling myself- I wish for more time alone.
And this new city has given me a lot of it, which I have used to reflect upon my past, savour the present and dream of my future. At the end of each day I feel that being a single ain't that bad. At least not in this city full of life and with a head brimming with thoughts.