College is over. I’m not emotional over it or anything. Oh, far from that rather. But I guess its time to face a few demons from my past.
From the first day of my college I had claimed that I would hate every bloody day of it. I had adamantly told my mom, dad, bro, Ritu... Anybody in hearing distance that, "I am going to this college just because it has a good name. I am going to hate every damn minute of it, not get along with a single person and generally hate college life."
Mom said, in her ever enigmatic style, "We’ll see... You said you hated your junior college too when you started, dint you... and you started liking it near the end."
No I did NOT. I hated junior college. I only liked the end coz I was involved in the first fest of Mithibai, Kshitij, and that took my mind off the hatefulness of college
Dad said, “At least go to college and then see...”
I agreed... Go to college and then see, but nevertheless I was sure I would hate it.
Bhai said, "Yeah yeah... You just wanna crib. If this is what u want in life then u better go for it even if u hate the means."
Hmm more agreeable...
Ritu said, "Oh sure... by the end of the year, you will have a huge group of friends and you'll forget all about me and our group."
I laughed at that one. Ritu, the ever hopeful one, always the optimist.
Finally, now I can tell them all that I was right (can I add as usual??)
I hated college till the last day of it, I saw it, tried it, but still hated it.
Yes I always looked upon college as the means to my end. To be closer to media. to understand, appreciate and love it. Now I HATE MEDIA. But love it, hate it... I’m with it. I breathe all things media.
And Ritu, about the friends and the group. I’m still grappling there. I have a curse on me babes, that I cant have a group other than you guys.
Yes college was terrible. College life was terrible. But while I say I still smile. Coz of one person. One person who insisted on entering my life in her own way and nudged around till there was place enough for her.
At the first day of college, I conducted my survey.
This one was pretty, this one was an idiot male chauvinist, this one was a all out flirt, this one was drop dead beautiful even if she was rebelling out it. this one was a pakka gujju and so many were pakka sindhis.
I kept my distance from all. I hung around till the lecture lasted. With the bell I d disappear from college. They made huge shows of celebrating people's birthdays, getting cake, plunging into it... Fighting for it. And I hated all of it.
Somewhere in between the first month, my brother left for USA.
A month after college started, was my birthday. if u wanted a cake on your birthday, u had to suck up to the right people who would start a movement in class and coerce everyone into shelling 10 bucks and go get a nice big cake. (60 students in class)
I hated the concept of it. And I hated the fact that people expected me to do the same sort of campaigning for my b day. My birthday was special to me. I saw no reason y it should be made a ruckus out of. Agreed I was terribly cynical that time. More than what I am right now. And I had a lot of bitterness inside me.
so I skipped college on my birthday. Everyone knew that I never bunked college. So it was noticed that I bunked the college right when it was going to be my day. A few people msged me, I was surprised but for the sake of courtesy I msged back a thanks. But I had no idea that I affected people with that move.
I had no idea that people had noticed my bunking. The next day in college was the same. a few people asked me y I dint turn up on my b day, and I politely gave them the cold shoulder. it was printed on my head that I hate all u guys, so stay away. Stay miles away. When people asked y I dint go out with the college groups I very clearly stated that I hated everyone in my college.
Then there was that project, in which I had to speak about anything I wanted. and inspite of preparing a speech about dreams, my favourite subject, at the last minute I changed it all and spoke impromptu about my brother. He had just recently gone whizzing off to states to study further. I got emotional while talking about him. I don’t think it showed. But I guess it struck a chord at the right places coz I topped that assignment.
I had no idea how many, or rather who I had affected with that assignment.
Soon after, we had a few more projects to be made in trios. I dreaded pairing up with anyone. 2 people saamne se approached me. And I agreed. One was a dud. The other was this one girl who I hated intensely. More than anyone else in class. Coz I thought she was really really rude. (She had made a rude remark coz she was made to sit in a crammed bench of three with four people and I had overheard it.) Infact, I had told Ritu that I was going to hate that girl for the rest of my college life. Very mysteriously Ritu had predicted that, “that girl would become my best friend by the end of the three years." I reminded her about how I dint need any more friends. I dint need anyone then.
Ofcourse I don’t need anyone now too.
Then Ritu left. She went to lucknow for her studies. Then Jatin left. I had decided to harden my heart. Friends left anyway. People who I cared about... Were either leaving, or I was slowly realizing that they were not what I thought they were. Divya had left days before my birthday, like she leaves every year. Anu had gone to med school to Pune. And Pune seemed far that time. Very far. There were other people, who I thought meant the world and more to me. But I was slowly realizing that things were not how they seemed to me. Rather I hadn't seen a lot of what I should have.
Amidst all this, the trio project ended. But even after that those girls kept calling me. I kept wondering y they called. I had never made small talk with them. But the one I hated so much, I could bear her now. n the one I thought was a stupid fool, still was a stupid fool. They’d call just to ask me how I was and why I dint turn up to college. I remember picking up the phone once, hearing her voice and thinking, "what, what does she want??" but she went on to ask me how I was.
but I met her in college today, she was just asking what I was doing, and that she was feeling bored and missing all the action we had during the project.
urm.. ok.. but.. well alright little did I know then that she was slowly cracking away at the walls in my mind. The walls I had erected to keep people away from me.
We soon started co coordinating notes, then the times we went to college. The stupid girl was left behind. We tried to spruce her up, but she was stuck in a rut. We became a team, Priyanka and me. I m sure most people who know me, would have guessed by now that its Priyanka I am talking about. Priyanka says that when I dint turn up to college on my birthday, I had impressed her with it. Why, is something she’s in a better position to answer. And that’s when she had decided that I was worth being friends with. Imagine.
I believe that my class thinks I am snooty, because I particularly try not to mingle with any of them.
Yes I hated college life, I hated college. But if I can say it with a smile right now, its coz of one person who's constant company got me used to her.
I tried blocking Priyanka the most I could out of my life. But she kept trying to bore her way through. I kept wondering why, she had one person she was contently in love with, she had a brother she was living with, parents who came down to visit her every now and then and took her out all the time when they were here. she had a best friend from her school who she was very very attached to. And I dint need her.
I had decided that I had had enough of people leaving me or deceiving me. I was not going to give anyone any chance anymore. But she kept hammering at the wall I had erected. She would drag me to movies I would want to see. She’s not the typical chic flick kind’s girl. She’s a horror movie specialist. I hate horrors. But she would drag me anyway. Not caring about what I wanted. I don’t know if I can get my point thru. She was not pampering me; she was pushing me to get a life... With her.
First year went by; she called the people who had deceived me all kinds of bastards. Oh, have I mentioned how totally totally different we are??
she used to notice these small things in people, and then she d have me in splits about those small things. how that one's roll of fat bulged out of her jeans, how that girl wore a shawl over her tank top to cover her shoulders and neck full of hickies. and I would normally overlook such things. they dint matter to me.. people dint matter.
she was passionate about everything and nothing. she would erupt very easily. and when she erupted, she would stutter out lava. She abused passionately, reacted passionately and felt deeply. while I hardly proceeded from the few basic words of abuse, distanced myself from feelings and reacted very appropriately. she would always urge me to get more deeper into things. she dragged me to the fresher's party our batch had given, where she refused to dance (she believes that she can dance only when she’s drunk or alone) and so surprisingly I dint dance too.
she would hate people, love people, care for them, talk to them. I would often wonder why she interacted with people when she dint care particularly about them. but she said nothing was lost in interacting. I would hate the very act of interacting with them. "time and my share of life was lost" I’d say.
she could be calculating too. she would gauge how useful who would be and maintain relations that way. and literally too. u never had to worry about people not paying u the money they owed u as long as Priyanka was around. she must have extracted money which I lent to someone out of that person so many times. she said, "when I dint hesitate before giving u money, why should I hesitate before asking u back for it"
she could be very avenging when it was hers who were hurt. in second year, some idiot macho guy from our class tried insulting me. I blew it off. but she simmered over it, until she gave it back to that guy in lord knows how many ways. every time he would pass her by, she would spew out the choicest of words for him benefit.
second year. god knows thru which miracle but the college placed us in the same working group. we realized that our thinking caps were on the same level. we matched. I had heard that she was difficult to work with. since she could be really snappy when she was in a snappy mood. and since it was her nature to be passionate it dint take much to trigger her into those moods. we both despised the politics that happened in our faculty. I was disgusted by it, so I preferred being indifferent to it. and she was so incensed by it that she had vowed to bite as much as she could out of the people who indulged in it.
by the end of second year, she had become pretty attached to me. she kept asking me if she meant just as much to me as I did to her. but I dint want to admit it to myself, telling her that was a faraway thought. she would all of a sudden one day tell me "love u pragni" before hanging up the phone. or another day she would kiss me on my cheek. she was showing me what I meant to her. I was still shutting her out. or maybe I was trying to convince myself that I had shut her out inspite of her affection.
she cared. that much was obvious. when the time came to choose groups ourselves in third year, it was but obvious that we would be together. there was no other way about it. no questions asked, no explanations given. anyone who wanted me in their group, had to accept her.. and anyone who wanted her, had to accept me.
by now I knew a lot about her, I knew her a lot better. but she still complained that I would never talk about my life, my problems with her. I had realized that her so called best friend was just a blood sucker. she had cared so much for her coz she really wanted someone to care about. her love, was true, and she was determined to make her long distance work and work for life. I had realized that she was very very devoted to her parents, even if she thought different.
she had very few people to love, so she loved intensely. she believed that I had a lot of friends, a lot of people who cared for me. so it would be very easy for me to chuck her aside someday. added to that was that she was expressive about her closeness to me, while I did still shut her out. at the beginning of third year, she saw me kidding with a guy from our class, who also considered me a good friend of his (thought I never did so). for some reason, she was high strung that day, and blew her cool. she thought that, I was going away from her and towards that moronic guy. we fought. a huge bitter fight. and I cried. she saw me crying coz of her for the first time. hell I think she saw me crying for the first time, or maybe the second. she knew how carefully I guarded my emotions. and seeing them out like that, and dug out coz of a stupid irrelevant fight. that day, she called me later and apologized. coz she had made me cry. she wrote me a mail. one which I will never erase from my inbox.
when I had an accident, she was present there. and very sick that time. but she immediately got up, left her illness aside and came to tend to me. she had insisted that she'd sleep overnight in the hospital with me. it was only after my mom forced her into going to my home to sleep co she herself was mighty sick did she leave. only to pester me the entire next day with her incessant banter. also she stole my nightshirt. she would always take away whatever caught her fancy in my closet. territorially. like it was her birthright. and oh, how can I forget the way she loved peeking into my closet. I had made it off-limits to her, and that made it more intriguing to her.
she used to come very frequently to my home. she became very close to my parents. especially my dad. she could gossip and joke for hours with him. when my dad would be out traveling, she d miss him. she would make me call him, so she could talk to him. no matter what was on the menu, mom would make sure that if Priyanka was coming home for lunch, there would be the sweet Gujrati dal she loved and rice with it.
she would worry about me putting in nights to work, she would worry about how I d do the computer work in our projects, coz she was the proverbial computer illiterate. by the end of third year, I had tried my best to give her as much comp knowledge as I had, while she had tried her best to give me fashion tips, buying tips and tips to recognize people. near the last few months of college she launched on a new mission.
to find a suitable guy for me. she declared that,"Pragni, I have realized that you’ve been upset long enough. and now its time for u to have some fun. to find a nice guy"
oh I forgot. somewhere near the end of second year she had taken permission from me to investigate thoroughly on the guy who I allow into my life in the future. she has decided that when I decided to marry she would find out every fucking detail about the guy, relevant or irrelevant.
till the end of third year, she had quite a few offers for me ready. she actually set me up with one of them too. laughably, coz I blissfully ignored the guy when he was plopped in front of me. she actually made him sit right in front of me and kept nudging me and asking me to talk to him!!
I wont say that we v been only happy the last three years. I imagine I have given her a lot of grief and so has she. innumerable times we have hurt each other, deeply. but innumerable times, we have realized that we can only hurt each other so much. things then get into perspective.
I have written this entire thing in past tense. not coz she has gone form my life or any such thing. but for the simple reason that she is not around me as of now. she's gone out of town for a few days. as a matter of fact I was on the phone with her just a few minutes ago.
one day during our exams, we had an intense discussion. she was trying to lighten me up about life. make me feel happier more often, laugh more often, cry more often, feel more often. she was asking me to not shut people out. I wondered then if she realized that I had shut her out too. I wouldn't have let her in, if she had not been so damn stubborn about entering into my life.
But what I m trying to do through this blog is that, I m trying to tell her, how much she means to me. Priyanka always complained that I never told her I love you the way I can say so to Ritu and Anu and I have always told her that Ritu is Ritu. its her place there. and today Priyanka I want to tell u that I love u. coz u have your place. and even if I still have not let u into a lot of places and nooks and crannies in my mind, u still mean just as much.
And I am writing this today to tell you, that I have been feeling unexplainably happy in the last few days. And I don’t think its only because of the end of exams, but also because of that long lecture you gave me brfore Direct Marketing Exams, about how I should want to be more happy, and how I should want to know people. And I have admitting this, so don’t dare tease me about the fact that you might have been marginally correct.
Also, I loved that t-shirt and the comb. but I m glad u have it. Happier that its with u than with me. coz I'll feel that you'll always have some things of mine that I loved. and that gives me comfort. BUT that does NOT mean that u can pick the new cucumber body lotion I have, nor the hand soap and no, not even the body spray!!
This is the first part of the series i have planned to write abt all the people close and impotant to me. This was written spontaenously. And by the end of it, I had planned to do so for all people who matter. Coming up next.. GUESS WHO