Thursday, February 12, 2009

A college experience......... what is it all about? People go on and on and on about huge campuses, working 24/7 to get that 4.0 GPA, attending wild parties, being accepted in a big student club..
All this while I was in India, I had this image of what it would be like when I would be a student here at this campus....I mean wow! Excitement ++
Yet you know, somehow I feel this past semester , great though it was academically and from the perspective of the whole 'college experience' view, I realised that there were few things missing.
Sure, it is very easy for me to sound ungrateful here, after all that hard work to come here , am I saying that Im not happy? Of course not! What I am trying to say however is that the vision I had , the things I was expecting from this campus and life here as a whole, was not enough. Or rather slightly distorted...What was it that I truly wanted? The faculty is brilliant here, the whole setup is just beyond my wildest dreams, Im doing good with my grades..attended some wild parties too! Then whats missing?
Sometimes we all just quickly forget what really is important in life. Of course noone knows for sure because importance changes from time to time and that itself is based on an equation by some obscene sociologist and so on and so forth..( Im really sorry I hope by now you have figured out how much I ramble on) So going back to what is important in life for ME. yes thats better and simpler to explain isnt it? What I realise is I missed my friends..my life, those little things, the spontaenous laughs, the inside jokes, many many many poses for photos..all that which I so enjoyed doing back home in Mumbai... Im sorry I just want to tell you guys about it all.
I have the best friends ever back home, practically family to me now. And I cannot tell you (but you probably know what im talking about) how much fun Iv had with them. I didnt have any wild parties, I didnt play in an indoor gym, I didnt run for president in any club, I didnt make the Dean's list. But there was pure happiness. I sucked at a subject, but with them, I aced a paper, but with them. We went to Hyderabad (an old city in central India) together for a holiday, spent amazing times together, did some awfully crazy things. We drank together secretly, shared our first beers together, just sat around and laughed, danced a lot, put on shows , laughed even more...heck I even donned a skirt and belly danced! I feel no shame in telling you all this because those were some of the happiest moments in my life. There were times when we would all just sit in my house, someone would play the guitar, we would all sing, eat kebabs, get emotional, laugh it off , sing some more, eat some more and just be happy. Other times the venue would change....there was this tiny chinese place near our college..a typical Mumbai roadside Indian-Chinese eatery...dirt cheap and very very tasty...we would all sit there, laugh and laugh and just have fun , and do all kinds of crazy things. After the noodles and chicken were consumed, then came the fresh lime sodas for all but rs. 5 per glass about 400 ml of it! (thats about a dime per glass) . But you know it was worth millions and millions and trillions. Those moments, in class, in the cafe, sitting beside them, impersonating the professors..comparing our test scores, completing assignments...just priceless.
I left them all behind , back in Mumbai, and I realised now after one whole semester, even though I talk to all of them every single day , that I was missing their rock solid presence in my life that I was so accustomed to. This was a whole new world...where everyone had been amazing to me but I had no real friends, not like those I left behind....that was what happiness was all about wasnt it? this is why I was feeling somehow incomplete..
I just wanna tell you guys that when you look forward to joining college, dont just believe that the experience is complete when you get an A grade in your IST class. NO it isnt. True happiness and satisfaction comes when you are complete ease, when the place feels like home. And it takes time. It never happens on the first day, or the 2nd day or the 3rd.....it takes a hell lot of time. But I will tell you that once you do find yourself, when you find your true friends , thats when it all becomes so much more worth it. Those small things I just went on about, I cant tell you how much they have shaped me more than any education in any classroom ever could or will. Today even if I miss them to the core, I still know that even though I am here on my own, I can make it...because I have their full support...and also Iv made some good friends here whom I can trust. That knowledge alone is enough for happiness. When you know that you have a friend to confide in, to cry to, to be happy with when a test goes wrong or right, thats when you know you have had the complete ' college experience' .
Its never about how big the campus is, if you have a couple of true friends sitting around, some sodas, some food, and maybe a guitar and a person who is a half decent singer, even though it might be in a shed , you know this is what they were talking about.

Dedicated to Mayetreyee Bishnu , Gaurang Bailoor, Ashwathy Nair, Farhad Zaiwalla, Chintan Joshi, Priyanka Hirwale, Rahul Mhambrey, Alina Lewis, Arnab Dasgupta...my best friends

1 comment:

Scott said...

Shantanu,

A beautifully written post. Glad that you understand what is important in life. I consider my friends to be my family - I spend more time with them than my own family.

Welcome to the Penn State family. I'm glad you're here.