The entrance exam was appealing and for the first time in my life, I had nothing horrible to say about an exam. That made me want to get in to the course even more. There was this girl at the exam, big eyes and red lipstick. Her laughter sounded like wind chimes and the boy with her, I hoped was her brother; even tried to find resemblance in their appearance. I got home pretty early that day, probably the earliest I got home for the next three years; the wait for the results of the entrance test was excruciatingly painful that evening. It was 6pm. The BlogSpot which would post the results was being refreshed on my phone every two minutes. I waited. It was 6:30, my names wasn’t on the list. It was 6:34 and I almost cried; for the next ten minutes, I was lost, life didn’t make sense. I had no future prospects, and I’d already given up on Engineering. My parents were worried about important things like how difficult it would be to find a good bride for me, I roll my eyes as I type it. Christ University had kept my results on a waiting list and that didn’t sound promising.
I was texting a friend who was in the course, a big boy with a three page resume. Then my phone vibrated, it was an SMS from a Prof Arul Mani saying I’d made it through the entrance exam. And tomorrow was the interview, my heart made a leap. I was in the second group of interviewees. I met 3 respectable looking men who were going to be interviewing me. I had a long practiced response to questions about my writing and reading habits. It was a question I was sure was coming and my HOD of English from Jain told me to not overdo it. “Say you write when you read something interesting or when something catch’s your attention or interest.” I did realise it was true, but not as frequent as it sounded.
© Vinay, 2016
School had always made me feel like writing was a punishment and reading was pleasurable. And it was even better when my parents disapproved it. I started reading things secretly, under the sheets with a pen torch like Harry Potter. The interview ended and they told me to go prepare for things that are a part of the course and I’d gotten in. I got through all the formalities and payed my college fees on the last day prescribed just 10minutes before the bank closed and I was Josephite. A week later someone called asking why I didn’t pay my fees yet; I freaked, but it was mix up and I was still in.
This was the beginning of the new reading and writing life I wanted and hoped, would be what sets future for a life where I’d be rich, famous and happy. Sadly three years later I won’t be any of it, but I’d be satisfied and leaning towards a future where that happiness thing might just happen.
Like expected, I was on over-enthu cutlet like most people in my class and on the first day of class I ended up sitting next to the girl with big eyes. She was funny, smart, mature and prettier close up. She laughed like a phone ring tone. We were in the same tutorial group and would chill once every week as we waited for our tutor. But once it was confirmed that she wasn’t available, I didn’t pursue. Weeks turned to months and the semester grew into an academic year, by then I met more women and also started writing like a mother-fucker. My writing showed improvement that made me proud and my tutor said, there’s more that can be achieved and that will always be true.
The year had managed to not kill my dark soul and there was still hope for a re-awakening and getting back to the light. But the next two years had things in store for me that only an Indian song could capture and could also manage to tell how much I died. The first year was painful, stressful, over-whelming and consuming but all of this only turned into things I could write about. There was so much to read, the course introduced me to Joseph Brodsky, Mario Vargas Llosa, Marjane Satrapi and so many other poets, writers, foreign films (and film makers), bands and texts; I was overwhelmed but not saturated and took everything it could offer. My reading grew a taste for graphic novels and comics; I saw everything in new light and the world was a whole new place that I never knew existed around me and in every corner that I’d been walking around for my entire life.
© Vinay, 2016
Towards the end of the first year I met a girl who lived across the city, she might as well have lived in Hyderabad because that felt closer. There were sparks and then there weren’t. Then there were fireworks and then the explosions got out of control; life was spiralling out of control. But then I met a blue eyed girl who made me smile, who was funny, smart, and strong and could easily beat the shit out of me. She was here for a month, I knew but I let her become so much more than that, and when she left to go back to the land seven seas away, I was overwhelmed. It was more than her, it was how she made me feel. I felt loved, warm, happy, and that I could never feel sad again when she was around or running her hand through my hair. And we constantly sought an escape from prying eyes and ears to a quiet moment, life was adventurous.
Then she was gone and then I discovered disinterest, my writing increased because there was so much to write about. It kept my writing at good length and I had so much to say, almost every day for a long time. But my reading started taking a hit and reached to the basic of minimum class requirements and then done. I had so much to say, it turned into whining, but that helped purge out all things I held onto. The second year was a roller coaster, the girl from far away drove me crazy and managed to break me. Then I met a boy, it was nice. He was nice, but he was also scary and made me realise how he was no different from the girl from far away. Then the girl took a back seat, the boy and I were doing everything together, every day, week and month.
The friendship grew stronger and when I realised it was more, he’d already decided it was over and in the wind. It was crazy, violent and noisy, before we knew it the year had come to an end. I was fighting with him as much I used to talk to him and that too, ended. I still see him around, we don’t talk and after the confrontation where he yelled at me and ran, things were never the same again. And in all the confusion the second year was done and I was interning at the ladies finger magazine. The writing demands were constant enough to keep me and my mind occupied. I loved it, there was never any time for feeling sorry or to sit and do nothing.
© Vinay, 2016
Third year started and I’ve been waiting to leave. I didn’t want to come back, it was weird and uncomfortable. But I could leave for good and with a degree if I just put up with another year and that’s what it has been and probably will be. An attempt in shutting my eyes to let everything fly so I could run, jump and leave the minute it all stops, but it just doesn’t seem to want to halt. In this process of shutting eyes I’ve manged to not read or write and I’m using completion and assignment as an excuse to write, write and write more than required because that is all I seem to be able to write. But writing now is painful, not the constipation kind of pain but pain where every part of the body and mind is sad and just wants to fall off and stay in bed and never come back.