“Inside the prism, something just happens to the white light, so that when it comes out of it, is not the same anymore.”
– Aayushi Sharma
During my three years on campus, I can easily point out that one thing which was as consistent in my life as the land and the sea breeze: my sigh of relief on hearing the 5 pm hour bell. The vigorous vibration of the gong, beating the life out of the metallic head, making it whine in the most annoying rattle ever, used to wake my nerves up and stir waves of happiness which a caged bird experiences, on being freed.
Today’s 5 pm bell though was going to be special: since it is the last semester on campus for us, our club juniors had arranged for a special event. The bell, like a dutiful soldier to my rescue, showed up at exactly 5 pm and that was my cue to storm out of the lab. I unbuttoned my lab-coat, which now gleams with pride, flashing the big brown stains of those acid attacks and countless assaults of chemicals it had successfully survived. I shoved it into my bag and the next thing I remember was unconsciously pacing towards the venue, hoping to reach in time, at least this time, for my last club event. When I opened the door, I surprisingly found quite a number of people already waiting for the event to start.
Strange, indeed, I thought to myself.
Maybe, all of us were slowly getting ourselves to accept that the BST and us, were destined to travel together only this far. It soon will be time to wave it a goodbye.
The event started on time, we all were given a random object (like a pen, rubber ducks, calculator etc.). The task was to knit a narrative, pivoted around the object. I was given a prism. Yes, one of those Pink Floyd album arts.
Sitting at the table, with old faces with whom I began my journey in college and new ones who were standing where once we stood, different bells rang in my head. I remembered the first event I conducted, for which I sincerely prepared for two whole evenings. We never did anything of this sort, back in school and I was pretty shocked and excited about the existence of such a culture. Being a socially awkward, introverted duckling, I didn’t know the concept of being “friendly” with seniors and I used to be terrified of them. And naturally, when I was given the responsibility of not only conducting the event but also choosing the winners, I was overjoyed and that pure happiness made me suspicious; the existential part of me felt like it was in El Dorado or an imaginary land like that.
That was the first time, I started liking people in general and that was when I knew, I can never help myself falling in love with college.
I was fiddling with the prism and was restlessly holding it in varied angles, making random rainbows on the walls and floor. Wow. What a fair invention…how it makes the seemingly plain, apparently dull, not-so-creative, white light split into 7 unique colours. Inside the prism, something just happens to the white light, so that when it comes out of it is not the same anymore.
You know how a chicken views the world through its colour blind eyes… and when I say, “world”, I mean its coop? That chicken was me, and the most of us, when we had just entered this patch of Hyderabad. There was either a yes or a no to a concept. The grey area, for us, didn’t exist. Neither did we know the magic of the VIBGYOR, till we met our prism.
Until 12th grade, most of us had a horse’s view of getting into a top-notch college. But, very few of us looked beyond that and questioned if we really wanted to spend four years studying engineering. The result was, some were becoming engineers by choice while most were becoming one of those machines that we study about in our courses. Either way, it has been a win-win game. Some pin-pointedly got the direction, they wanted to go towards, while some could pin-pointedly eliminate the road that they had as an option, but chose not to take. That is what I call the violet moment – when we recognise the capability of taking decisions and deciding what we want in life.
Like most of the twelfth grader Indian kids, I too was overly frustrated. And you know why that was? Because of that Sharmaji’s son who topped the medical or non-medical examination entrances. All Gupta uncles and Verma aunties know that they aren’t Sharmas either, but they still glorify who they aren’t and can never be. Most ironically, they also push us to wear that somebody else’s skin. BITS, I find, is a real Indigo for the victims of identity disorientation. We learn to be true to ourselves and be comfortable in our own shroud (no matter how messy it is :3)
Growing up has a few accomplices like anxiety, temper issues and insecurities, which sometimes make us feel like bundles of disaster. Not that we become any less of a mess, but we learn how to handle it. We learn that there is a difference between dealing with life seriously, and sincerely. The lite attitude is sometimes necessary to clear confusion. After all, a clear blue sky enjoys more sunshine than one smeared with thunderstorms.
Tiny noises in our head earlier used to feel like the thunder of a raging cloud pregnant with rain, ready to burst anytime. However, time made me realise that issues like these will only get upgraded. As college kids, we could take the liberty of losing our temper and diverting all frustration towards our parents, siblings or friends (and later, regret it, of course). But adulthood gives no such privilege. Each action has a price tag or a reward. Also, no matter how strong the storm is, we are supposed to remain green and handle it without losing a leaf, or getting uprooted. This, we won’t be doing for ourselves alone, but also for others who are relying on our shade.
As school kids we had our mums force feeding us oranges to save us from a vitamin C deficiency. As college students our friends would nurse us during one of those viral fevers. But as adults, we are the sole bearers of everything. From the steps we take to the choices we make, there won’t be anyone to watch us. Excuses won’t work, neither would laziness. Friends won’t be available at 1:30 am at night, neither would be the maggie stall with its orange soda.
* shudders *
Adulthood is gonna be odd.
Like all other BITSians I would miss my hostel corridor laced by the warmth of those yellow doors. This place, as a matter of fact, is where I discovered that non-canines too can be nice and cute. It has not only given me a big bag full of memories but also those unforgettable bonds and ties, I would want to keep in embrace forever.
At the end of four years each one of us will have a different timeline and a different fate to take back with us. Till now we have slept peacefully at night and woken up as students the next day, whining about the cruelty of an 8 am class. But how would it feel like to wake up under some other roof, not to walk up to that beloved red building, but to some claustrophobic cubicle with a computer screen beaming at us? How would it feel like to sip tea from a cup we don’t recognise, around cold faces we have never seen before? How dry would it be to not hear the 5 pm hour bell? A screw-up at work would be different from CGPA screw-ups in college, right?
Shuffling with my thoughts and fiddling with the prism, I pulled myself out of my mind palace, realising it is my turn to talk.
I now know the feelings of that guy, who is supposed to fly to a place away from comfort and familiarity, and face the unknown world. I now see why he wants to sit in the airport lounge and wait for the final call, so that he can steal those last few minutes next to home.
I feel like my final call happened too soon.
(DISCLAIMER: It is not the way it looks like: I am the antithesis of the Sharma everybody is looking for).
Cover Designed By Anshuman Das
Edited By Harsha Sista
Article Written By Aayushi Sharma