This post is in honor of my last exam in college. If I have missed you, know that you will forever and always be in my heart.
After the main orientation by the college in the Auditorium, we were asked to go to certain rooms to meet with our class mentors and get our timetables for the year and whatever else that the mentor had planned. Our classroom was in the third floor. It was the corner room behind the bio tech department, which I found strange. Nitya and I huffed and puffed to climb those three floors, only to be met with Rishi, who was standing there to inform all first years that the orientation was in the ground floor, in the Environmental Science department. She rolled her eyes and we climbed back downstairs.
The weirdest and most awkward day in all of Environmental Science students’ lives is the Orientation day. Not the one that the college collectively gives all of first years, but this is small special occasion: just for the Environmental Science “noobs”. Prabhakar sir makes it very memorable, with the two getting-to-know activities, we probably knew things about one another better than anybody else did on the first day itself.
In the first activity, we were supposed to stand in two concentric circles, one facing the other, and speak to the person opposite to you, looking into each other’s eyes while holding hands with the other person. After a few rounds of boys, the first girl I came across was Tenzin Passang. This lovely Tibetan had a sore throat that day. I think she wore a yellow kurta. Her voice was barely above a whisper and I had to lean in real close. It felt like we were conspiring against the whole new set of people. We giggled in low voices like little girls.
The second activity was a silent skit of any one of the two incomplete stories that Prabs had narrated us. I found myself in an all-girls group with Smriti, Indu, Sam, Passang and someone else — Jyothi, I think, and we performed the caterpillars on pilgrimage story and Passang was the tree. Once that was done, my original seat was gone and I sat at the edge next to a long-haired girl, also in a yellow kurta. I hadn’t met her in the first activity, so she introduced herself to me. A hand with long slender fingers to her chest, “Hi, I’m Samudyatha,” she said slowly. I smiled. She was probably the first Kannadiga that I’d come across that day, and I was a lot relieved that I didn’t have to feel so intimidated by everyone anymore.
Sometime in the following days after the orientation day, I was sitting in the third or second row, when I overheard two girls behind me speaking:
Girl one: Who is your OTP?
Girl two: What’s an OTP?
Such an abomination! I was only new into the world of “Fandom”, but even I knew what OTP meant. I turn around to face the two girls behind me.
Me: OTP? One True Pairing? Mine’s Everlark!
Girl one: Ooh, nice!
Me: Who’s yours?
Girl one: I actually have two. One is Percabeth, and another is from the Mortal Instruments. You know the series?
Me: *shakes head*
Girl one: Oh, the other OTP is from that. Malec.
Girl two: *MIA*
And that’s the story of how I met my first best fangirl friend, Indumathi Arunan.
The most memorable re-meet was with Prince. One morning, I was walking the long walk from the bus stop to college, when someone walked beside me: long legged, tall (of course) and eating biscuits. I recognized him from my new class. Harshith, was it…?
I don’t remember what I spoke to him, but he offered me bourbon biscuits, and I was so happy. I took one and munched on it hungrily. I was just finishing up that biscuit when he offered me another. I initially refused, but he just held it in front of me, his long fingers gripping the packet in a friendly manner. Breakfast-less as usual, I ate another one. He also offered me water, but I drank my own. Little did I know that he would become one of my best friends for life.
It was one sultry August Friday. It was Varamaha Lakshmi puja that day, and I remember wearing a new Chrome yellow kurta and olive green lycra pants and a matching dupatta. It was a really nice and sad day. I’d just joined my Creative Writing course, and the class started at 5 in the evening. My classes got over by 4, I think, and after sending off all my friends, (namely Samudyatha) I was thinking of doing something until class began. I ran into Poorvi in the canteen. I knew Poorvi from my 2nd PU coaching centre, and I think I spoke with her for a bit and she introduced me to Aquib. Then it started raining. We were confined to the humid walls of the canteen for a while before Poorvi got an idea: why not eat ice cream in the rain?
We went and bought ice cream in the canteen. Sadly, there were only two D’Daaz Vanilla with Chocolate Sauce ice cream that day, and Aquib, being the gentleman he is, let us girls buy them and he bought something else. We went all the way out of the canteen and to the ground and the humanities block. We went around the ground a couple of times, and then when it was time, I told them “byes” and left for class. The rain was a very fine drizzle and just settles on your skin and clothes and hair but doesn’t really seep in. it was wonderful.
I don’t remember what we spoke about, or even if we did. It was just one of those fine, fine days that remains in you for a really long time.
Then I went home after class, and sent Trance on his way to his originally intended home. Happy and Sad day.
One afternoon, Nairika and I almost made it in time for class. I had accompanied her to the Humanities block for something, and on the way back, we struck up a conversation that made us sit in the playground for more than twenty minutes, while she told me all about her past. That was one of the only times I’d spoken with her for long and so closely and it jarred me for a second that people can be so trusting towards not-well-known people.
Smriti had once vaguely mentioned about her school friend buying a nice camera and was joining our college for the Vocational Course on Film making. At that time, I didn’t give much thought. Sometime in the beginning of second year, I was running around for something (as usual I don’t remember why) when I met Smriti near the canteen. She introduced me to her school friend, Arun and I said,
“Hi, nice to meet you!”
(Or something along those lines…) and dashed off. The next thing I know we’re sitting at lunch with Arun and talking as if we’d been long lost friends. His hands are like a small child’s, rough on the outside but contrarily, soft to the touch.
Prince was speaking with this tall, athletic-looking boy one day, and I kept seeing him talking to Prince quite often after that. I asked Prince one day,
“Who is that guy that you talk to? He comes in our bus, no?”
“I forgot his name. I’ll find out soon again. But he lives near my house. CBZ guy. Also in my Kannada class.”
The same tall boy one day, on the way to the bus stop, asked me if I had a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, which he’d seen with one of his classmates earlier. I told him that I’d lend it to him whenever he wanted.
Today, we speak about a ton of things that I never thought I’d speak about. I often imagine his long veined arms and fingers furiously typing long texts late into the night. That’s Yeshas, bringing out the best versions of people.
The last day of Sanskrit class was the day where I realized I was going to miss it.
That class was thoroughly and neatly divided into boys’ side and girls’ side, and four of us, Vaishnavi, Tejasvini, Haimanthi and me, sat in the middle bench of the middle row and make trouble. Make trouble as in talk endlessly about things that varied from music to culture to castes to dirty jokes on the stories we were learning to fandoms. Everybody was new to me and I am so glad I’d found them. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the classes as much as I did if even one of them were missing.
I think people found it weird that I had days where I could not eat non vegetarian food. Those days are my “vegetarian” days, and on those days, Sam and Nairika and Smriti were happy that they’d gotten someone on their side.
Every afternoon, when DJ brought his plate of colourful biryani from the canteen, he asks me,
“Is it one of your vegetarian days?”
“It’s a Monday, Deej. I’ve been eating with you for more than a year now. What do you think?”
Sam pipes in, “Vegetarian today.”
DJ just sighs and eats his biryani, his fingers gracefully cleaning up the plate.
When we were up trekking the Kunti Betta I was very close to giving up at more than a few instances. Each time, Jyothi just pulled me up and forward. I was dressed in hiking shoes and a comfortable t shirt and stretchy jeans; she was in normal college clothes, chudidar and sandals.
Before third year started, Prabs had told us that three guys from the previous batch would be joining us for the year: Denzil, Chetan and Samuel. I’d known Denzil, whom Samudyatha and I call Danny and was really fun to hang out with; and we knew Chetan; he was quiet and brooding but underneath all that façade was one hell of a troublemaker. Samuel- now that name was new. And I did not expect him to be the way he is.
Samuel is smart and sarcastic. His quick wit is appreciated widely by most of our classmates (those who get the jokes) and especially by his namesake, Sam(udyatha). The Sam ‘n’ Sam duo is epic. If they had a stand-up comedy show, I’d be the first to buy tickets. His hands are like his personality: it looks like they don’t belong to the body and they do, at the same time.
I think this was sometime during fifth sem. Salka stayed at her uncle’s place in another part of JP Nagar, some 4 kilometers from my home. She invited me and Prince over for lunch one day, and she said she’d cook something very Tripura-n. Prince and I were excited. It was one of my chicken eating days and I knew she’d cook it. When I went to her place, I found out that she’d gotten some really bad news. But she insisted that she cook for us, and cook for us she did. Along with special chicken, she cooked us vegetables and rice. It was good food. And good food comes with a good show. We watched three out of twenty-something episodes of this Korean show called “My True Love From The Stars”, that Sonali had recommended, where the protagonist was absolutely OTT. I took the full show from her and watched it the rest of the week. It was a nice afternoon, even though I finished my lunch at about 5 in the evening.
Mine and Parvathi’s conversations are similar to tagging each other on Facebook memes.
Me: We should totally do this. (referring to a set of poetry prompts).
Her: Hell Yeah.
*After a few days of attempting the prompts*
Her: But it is hard dude.
Me: I know.
Her: My brain has gone numb.
Me: I KNOW.
One of the only other people apart from Sam that I wanted to keep a stall with during Meta was Nithya. I’d seen her art and I’d loved them all. And I knew she’d have plenty of ideas.
I was not wrong. Keeping a stall with her has been a really good experience. And to think we’d made such a good team! When she opens her book box, I will be first in line to get them.
That one nasty February Friday during third year ended on a sour note. I was hurrying to perform for my third final poetry slam during Meta after this “pointless experiment”. Sam was at my heels and Smriti also followed me. I asked her, “Where are you going, Smritz?”
“I want to see you perform.” She looked baffled that I would even ask such a question.
At that moment, I felt an immense surge of gratitude and love for my friends. They wanted to see me perform badly. If they’d asked me to launch a nuclear missile on the Vidhana Soudha that day, I would have gladly done it, without second thought.
Although, I didn’t get to perform it, I loved the piece that I wrote for it. I would’ve been very nervous (more than usual) because it was really honest and I think I would’ve scared away my few precious friends.
Naveen refused to be my talent for that week. I hadn’t done it in almost a year and his was only the second one in my third year. I was nervous, sure, but I was 100% sure that Naveen deserved all the fame and glory he could get. It took me a long time to convince him, and even then he wasn’t. Then I took the shortest method out as a final resort: tell Yeshas that Naveen was being stupid. It took Naveen a few hours to finally text me,
“Okay, I’ll do it.”
And I wondered why I didn’t take the shortcut earlier.
Naveen’s post, till date has about 600 views; the most on a single post and I can’t even get started on the response that I got from it. And to think that Naveen thought he didn’t deserve it.
To James, who’s been one of the kindest boys I’ve ever known in my life, to my namesake Pari, to Drishti and Srishti for being so lively and amazing and supportive and to Ismail and his morbid jokes, to all those people who have waved or smiled at me while passing each other in the corridors or in the bathrooms and sometimes asked each other “How are you?”, to all my present and former classmates I’ve not mentioned, to all the Graphic.Inc people, to Archana for making me laugh so hard that I was clutching my stomach with tears rolling down my cheeks and to Rajitha for being one of my biggest supporters for my writing,
You’ve made it all worth it.