Home.

Leaving home, 
I had never
i m a g i n e d
how much 
I would look
forward to
coming back. 
Thought I 
had taken 
everything,
didn’t know
I had left my
h e a r t .
s o u l .
myself. 

What I Learnt in My First Month in University

Four days ago was one month since I moved out of my house to the hostel in my university. Here are my observations on how it has been:

1. Some teachers won’t give a damn if you won’t. They won’t bother if you are listening, if you’re napping, if you’re on your cell phones. Your education is in your hands. It is up to you to pay attention.

2. On the other hand, the teachers who do actually teach will not spoonfeed you. They will give you stepping stones, they will tell you what you want, in a manner that’ll make you want to rip off your hair. But at the end, you’ll get an idea of what they were talking about. You’ll be grateful that they didn’t tell you. You’ll be happy that you were able to arrive at what you did without anyone putting thoughts in your head.

3. There are no fixed schedules. Your sleeping pattern revolves around the work you have. You may have a class at 9 in the morning and the paper due the same morning. You will have to work till dawn, you will have to sleep for 3 hours and you’ll have to attend the class. 

4. Which is why, don’t procrastinate. If you do, you’ll have not have the satisfaction of having submitted a paper that you actually like. For the two papers that I’ve submitted so far, I have  worked and I enjoyed the process. Even though it kept me awake till 4, the feeling that I had before going to sleep was unparalleled.

5. You’ll have a lot of free time at hand. For people like me who have classes I only 2 days a week and who are literally the most shy and laziest people in the planet, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of sleep. It’ll beckon you, call you, force you in subordination so much that you’ll sleep 15 hours a day. You’ll have to resist that. I fell into that pattern and believe me, that week, I didn’t have more than 10-12 meals of the 21 meals I should have been having. 

6. Which is why, get involved. One of the best ways you can make friends is by getting involved. Find your interest and go for it. You’ll find your kind of people if you venture out of your comfort zone. Even if you can’t, sit on the quad, go to the library, sit in the café; you’ll find someone to talk to.

7. Saying that, there will come a time when you’ll lose your appetite. The mess food will taste like sand, each meal of each day and you will literally feel your appetite fading. And you would be able to go one for days on just water. At that time, eat. Go to tuck shops, make popcorn, buy a sandwich but eat. Nourishment is important.

8. Have a night out with friends. Just go to the park, and sit there. Walk around, let the dew kiss your feet, play music, wait for the stars to recede. Talk about yourselves, know each other, your pasts, presents, futures. Witness the sunrise, I swear, you’ll feel like you were meant for that day only. (Not to mention, sleep at six and miss the first class of the day!)

9. There will be times when you’ll feel homesick, you’ll feel alone, and miserable. You’ll miss your home, your family, your friends, your school. You’ll feel like crying all the things that you’ve felt since you left home. Cry. Cry your heart out, in the pillow, on a shoulder, in the afternoon, at night after everyone’s asleep. You’ll feel a lot better, you’ll feel lighter, you’ll feel more settled.
10. You are here to learn but you’re here to make memories too. Many of the people you meet will probably end up becoming your closest friends for the rest of your life. Which is why, choose them carefully. I’m not saying don’t talk to anyone. Rather, talk, but make sure that the people you pour your heart out to deserve you. Don’t settle for less. You’re worth a lot more than a toxic relationship. Never demerit yourself. 

These are the few things that I learnt, rather experienced, in the first month. Do they match your college life, or are they not what you experiences? I’d love to hear from you!

Until the next month, then!

Turning To Caffeine

I get that warm gushy, mushy feeling
as the last of the coffee swirls in my mouth,
crashing against the pink walls
it is controlled in, all the juices
from the body, blending perfectly
with the milk, and coffee, and water
and sugar from the pantry below the rooms.

I nestle comfortable in my chair,
my spine jutting with ease with the
Styrofoam under the red, cheap cloth
my knee perched up, ankle left loose
on the steel hand rest of the chair;
my ponytail playing chase with the
the slight air that the fan sends in my way.

Arms across the chest, my eyelids flutter,
just as they do when I feel droopy, the head
reminding me of the paper that I have due
and my heart, of the feather-like mattress
that crushes under me each night; as the eyes
shut close, the world starts to breathe and stops
as the smell of coffee warms my nostrils, yet again.

Nights At Uni.

The night was still young,
when the world started to stir;
Drowsy heads emerge
from under the cold blanket
called life, for life.
Groups flock to the courts
and to libraries and to
canopies and to the grounds,
celebrating the cool night
under the burning embers
in the distant sky. The trees
sway to the music
of the wind and grass
awaits the naked feet
caress it passionately.
The chirping of the crickets
is a lullaby to each and every
still deep in the slumber
and music to the others.
The turf inhales and exhales
with each breath everyone
takes and the gentle,
feel good movement
brings everyone alive
and makes everyone laugh
as life begins, begins, begins. 

The World Past Me Goes To Uni.

Hi guys.

It has been long since I’ve written a personal post, so here goes: I’m at my university!!!

Yes, after a month of decided of majors, subjects and colleges, I’ve come to this amazing place near my house, and it’s beautiful. I’ll be doing my major in English.

So, I dropped in yesterday afternoon, and the weather was majestic. I got myself registered, then went to my hotel, checked in and I explored the campus with my best friend from school (you read that right!!). I slept really early though, last night, because I was exhausted.

I couldn’t write yesterday as my laptop wasn’t connected to the wi-fi and so today, this was the number one thing on my priority list so that I could write this post.

It’s been two amazing days, the only problem being the bathrooms which are awful. They’re constantly wet, they constantly smell and it’s impossible to change our clothes in there. Also, today’s breakfast was uneatable.

That’ all for now folks. I’m really excited to be here, and hopefully, the next four years will be one of the best years of my life.

Give me all your wishes because I need them. And I’ll keep you updated with how my college life goes.

Lots of love,
Akanksha

Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti

Read this for reference before continuing.

Sixteen years later, a full fledged, voluptuous, long dark haired girl lies on a bedsheet on the floor of her room, next to the two mattresses, both of which are depressed with mountainous solids, covered in bedsheets and flanked by multiple pillows on either side- her parents.

The room is bathed in a gentle red hue and the air conditioner’s low, constant hum creates a drowsy, comfortable atmosphere. A guitar is in one corner of the room, against the wall, behind which the red lights twinkle lazily. The opposite wall is covered entirely with scraps of paper, some printed, some written on- by crayons, pencils, pens, markers, so much that the blue paint of the wall is hardly visible; things that may make no sense to someone who doesn’t look close enough. Each bit of paper contains thoughts.

It was something that the two sisters started earlier in the year. They put their thoughts on scraps of paper and struck them to the wall. Song lyrics, some random poems, lists, words, quotes, essays in the newspapers they liked, some important deadlines, written in bold; it was their mind on the wall. It contained candid snaps of their lives. There are times when each one of us wishes to read other people’s minds. The sisters’ minds were on this wall, right here.

In the background, from a small speaker, in a low, smooth voice, sings Jagjit Singh her father’s and her favorite shayari- Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti.

“It is an experience,” she had urged her parents who were both in their beds in the adjoining rooms when she had asked them to accompany her to her bedroom. “I want to give you The Experience.”

The Experience referred to something that she had, well, experienced just that evening. She’ll lose the lights and light up the red ones, she’ll set the temperature to an optimum, she’ll envelope her body up to her shoulders in a bedsheet, arms beside the body and play this song from the speaker. She’ll close her  eyes and let the song wash her over. She’ll inhale each beat, she’ll exhale each note, she’ll feel the music unravelling her, she’ll feel the words crawl up her skin. She’ll conjure images in her head, as each combination of words will make sense, second after she has registered them. She’ll let each chatoyant of every word that left his voice, enter her being and imprint permanently in her mind. Sometimes she will open her eyes and look at the shadows that the red lights will make in the room, and the music and the light will complement each other perfectly. She will think of songs that may make her feel the same way that she is feeling now. Her mind will produce a blank slate. That is when she will feel weightless.

Her parents were in the same position, eyes closed. She can feel the music weigh her eyes, and she knows that she’d be asleep soon. She pops her eyes open and looks at her parents’ resting bodies. And suddenly, she feels guilty.

In twenty three days, she would be leaving for college. For four years. For the first time, she’ll be away from them- away that she will never see them daily, away that she will not hassle with her mother over the quality of the food, away that she will not hug her father and kiss him goodnight, away that will not curse her sister for not having set the beds, away that her parents will not barge in on her before dawn and catch her on the phone. She felt guilty for leaving them with nothing after eighteen years of love and effort they put in for raising her; she felt guilty for leaving them empty handed. She felt guilty for having discovered The Experience so late that she won’t be able to compose a playlist of songs suitable for it. She felt guilty for receiving all the time. She felt guilty for taking so much from them. She felt guilty for having thought that she’d enjoy hostels, when the truth is that her heart would always be there, in this house, in this moment, when she is guilty and they are weightless.

Her parents were perfect. How can she ever have thought of leaving them, how could she have fought with them for something as stupid as a mobile phone? How could she have ever thought of living alone, embracing adulthood, when she still needed her mother to tell the doctor what was wrong whenever they visited one, for her? How could have she ever thought of doing laundry when she didn’t know how to operate a washing machine?

How could, how would she leave them? 

She looks at them. She wishes, suddenly, to be two once again, when her father came from the office, straight towards her for a hearty kiss, and her mother bathed her in a small bucket in the kitchen. She wishes to be two again, because she knows she’d have sixteen more years before she’d have to leave them.

Getting up from the floor, she goes and lies down between her parents, who are, both, fast asleep by now. She cuddle with her father, his arms around her. She extends her hands towards her mother, who holds them both between her own, warm palms, as Jagjit Singh sings in the background, “Voh kagaz ki kashti, voh baarish ka paani…”

*

Sorry for the long absence. Please check the Facebook page for details. You can follow TWPM on Instagram @theakankshavarma where I post lots, and regularly. Also follow at Twitter under @axavarma. Enjoy!