“You forgot entering the out time again,” A chummy voice called behind me. As I turned and advanced towards my roommate, I saw her scratching our names hastily in an unduly overused register on a table and very soon we left the hostel gate on the second day of parade practice of NITS. Yes, it was necessary, rather obligatory, for every girl who has to leave her hostel premises even for the most frivolous of reasons should have her name jotted down. And I wasn’t accustomed to, alike almost all of the first years.
Rewinding time a little further, I’ll arrive on the day I placed my step in NIT Silchar for the first time. I could scent the exotic aroma of independence- the kind girls and guys in their late teens so long to experience. The thought of having no restrictions or bounds, none to guard how we eat, sleep or live; is like an intoxicant on its own. But there are fears too, for a girl especially, who has never left the protective cocoon free from cares and worries, only to live amongst all strange faces, in an alien city, absolutely unsure of what lies next. However the very first glance of this college took away my heart and I knew I loved it; the unending green, the dazzling water, the tranquillity of nature in the gentle zephyr, the fluffy white clouds in the undefiled blue above, and most of all the orange sky at dusk!
Parade sessions were mandatory till the Independence Day at NITS. Not that everyone loved those yet it was a relief we could finally pull in comfortable jeans after spending an entire day clad in a salwar suit embellished with an unruly dupatta. It was customary until the fresher’s social weren’t over. Being in minority had some ill effects. Say it be those incongruous eyes which sometimes meekly followed, sometimes halted us in the middle of the road for a brief introduction, or else the unruffled shower of verbal remarks which occasionally drenched us. It wasn’t that we weren’t alerted beforehand. Back in hostel, the entire batch had to gather every night to be told about these rules and some more rules and how we should have behaved during the day. Secondly there wasn’t a choice given to participate in any college event which involved singing and dancing.
Rumours here spread quickly. Many a times, we heard tales involving ourselves. Following that there was nothing left to do other than pondering over when on earth that had happened to us. We had our privileges though. The short queue for girls practically saved a lot of our time and whenever we had to attend some function intended towards simply augmenting the crowd, we could recede early because of the in time imposed on the girls.
The first year at NITS was a little erratic for everyone. Differences, fears, lonely tears of homesickness and frustration could not be averted at a whisk. But time made way for new things and life here became simpler. Beautiful. We all made friends and those friends are for a lifetime. The early morning woes for bathroom and later breakfast, brisk walks following a run to reach classes on time, evening tea on the terrace with the added snacks of laughter and the excellent view from where we sat and finally the late night addas in each other’s rooms became a norm of the day. We learned. We grew.
Between all these, a year passed by and we had to shift from our cherished hostel to another one. For people who may not know, it is painful to start everything from the scratch. Yet, by this time, for those who had adroitly mastered the knack of adjustment, setting up a new room didn’t cause much of a difficulty. Most of all, there we came across such an affectionate senior batch who were not only there to guide us but adored us like our own sisters and needless to say hostel felt like home again.
Along with time, responsibilities increased too. The division of everyone into individual branches added a load to studies. For some it mattered, for the coolest ones- it is nothing to be bothered about even today! The more we learnt about each other, the closer we came and the ones with common interests formed the best of friends. And birthday’s we planned, cakes we smeared, problems we shared, tears we shed; many of joy.
From all the time I have been here, this college has given me a lot of what I am today. In fact, it has changed me in some way or the other, perhaps all of us. Be it finally discovering the purpose of what we actually wanted from life or uncovering an exceptional talent within oneself when one wasn’t quite aware of, or confronting our shortcomings, strengths, tolerance and weaknesses.
Hearts break, people fall in love, people grow in love. There’s hatred, jealousy and competition too. Every small and big thing is like an invigorating journey.
I have had some of my best days in this place and I deem many others had too. It is almost unimaginable what turn life would have taken if today I happened to be in someplace else. All the memories here, ever so blissful, are worth treasuring.
Lastly I believe in the one thing people say and which many agree “we have four years to be irresponsible here. Work is for people with jobs. The work never ends, but college life sure does”!