Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Withdrawal symptoms

I get extremely agitated and tensed when I don't write for so long. So much happens in a span of a few days that to think of how to bring the words out succinctly is perplexing. I shall try.

*breathes deeply*

Out of the big lists of things that have happened, it is safe to say that the most significant of them is the fact that I now have a job. On the day of my last exam, I had three job offers in my hand. And only a couple of days ago, I had none. Funny how life works out sometimes. Just when I had accepted that it is highly likely that I might have to go home unemployed, something clicked. But I applied somewhere at the right place at the right time. So now, Bangalore it is. I'm excited and nervous. I'm exervous. I really like the city, my friends will also be there, I think I will enjoy my work. The thing I'm most looking forward to is managing my own finances. Finally, I'll be earning. No more a parasite. I would be producing, instead of consuming. I'm employed! :)

The first thing I felt after I received the call was.. relief. Not joy, not excitement. I just sighed and sat limp for a while at the thought that I would not have to give any more interviews. No more people sitting across me and judging me. It is time for me to really give everything I have. Just be good at something. To do something. Have an identity.

I'm not sure I'm handling it very well, though. The suddenness of this. Sure, I have a job. Is it really such a big achievement? To be honest, I'm quite terrified of what lies ahead. What if I don't perform well? What if I don't enjoy my work? What if I don't get along with the people? Plus, I'm going to the city alone. Looking for a place on my own. This time, it is permanent. This time, I cannot be unhappy. I have to mould myself in order to enjoy what I have.

One of the questions the interviewer asked me was, "If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?" He gave me no time to think, and for some reason I could only picture giraffes. I think I thought of them because they are so tall and slender, and well I have extremely long limbs. But to him, I had to give a substantive answer, so I said, "Because they have the advantage of reaching the inaccessible juicy leaves on the tall trees. Oh, and they can run free and wild on the grassy plains." And I had a faraway expression and a stupid grin on my face while I said that. (Inside my head I was shrieking at myself, "What?! Juicy leaves?! Grassy plains?! What did you just say to him? Be professional! Sound intelligent! You've blown it, blown it I say!") Thankfully, he just laughed and let it be. I think I'm always going to remember this. Giraffe. Sheesh :P

The other significant thing that happened and broke my heart to smithereens was that college got over. Completely. I felt it dawning over me when I had my last lunch in the mess, when I packed my bags till they looked like they were swollen and overflowing, when mom and dad came to wrap everything up and take me back home. My mom loved my campus. We sat together, tea cups in hand, watching the sunset. Dad said, "So your last sunset, eh?" And I swear I welled up. The hills contain too many, just too many memories.

People always complained while we were there. 'Oh it's so far away from civilization.' 'I hate coming back before 11.' There's nothing to do here.' 'It's so boring.' 'The mess food is so bad.' Many of them were happy to get rid of the place. I never understood them. How can you not love a place so beautiful? A campus so pretty with such good infrastructure? A nice, clean, comfortable hostel with a gorgeous view? One of my professors told me that we all take this place for granted and don't appreciate it for what it is. I told him that I did not. I felt lucky every day I was there. I would give up anything to be in a place with such natural beauty, than live in a concrete jungle full of honking cars and imposing buildings. I tried to soak it all in, because I knew I would not get two whole languorous years on such a picturesque campus.

It is a scientific fact that our brain has a habit of phasing out all the bad memories and retaining the good ones, and that is why when we look back on our childhood, we remember it fondly as if it was the best time ever. It probably was, but the point is, the more time passes, events seem grander than they were in our heads. I was probably miserable when I was eight, seeing as I hated school and fought furiously with my sister and brother and always had problems with math. But now when I think about it, I would give up everything up to be 8 again.

When it comes to my college life at Lavale, it was already so grand while it was happening. I don't need time to pass to look back at it and think of how wonderful the time was. I felt that when it was happening. I was so aware of it. It was Unagi. When I was running back to the hostel on a rainy day after class, half-drenched and laughing, I felt it. When I sipped hot coffee on a chilly night with my friends, felt the breeze blowing my hair back, and gazed at the sky which was always, always so amazingly clear, I felt it. When I sat in class and we laughed together at a joke our professor made, I felt it. When we all danced to a stupid Bollywood song at one of our go-to place for drinks, I felt it. I felt it in all those small moments. I felt thankful. I knew I was living one of the best, most amazing, most exciting years of my life. I can only wonder how grander they would appear when I am 50 and I think about them then.

I knew I was going through withdrawal symptoms when I woke up in the morning and it took me a couple of minutes to realize that I am not in my hostel room. I didn't see the pink curtains, with the shadows of the leaves dancing on it. I was in a room where I couldn't hear the chatter and laughter of the students at PMC. It took me a while to get out of bed.

I'm listening to a song called 'Daydreaming' by Dark Dark Dark which makes me think of it all the more. You will understand if you were a student on our campus.

"Oh now look to the east, great mountains remember me,
It's land I can see for miles, with only the wind whispering,
And oh if you knew what it meant to me,
You would see it too."

(One evening on the terrace)

(On the way to class)

(View from the hostel terrace)

(Depression point)

(View from the amphitheater)

(My room. And fairy lights)

(View from the football field at sunset)

(One beautiful, foggy evening)

I'll miss college terribly. I can't believe I won't go back to my room, meet Possum and break into our renditions of all the silly songs we sing. I can't believe I won't greet all my friends with warm hugs, high-fives and discuss our vacations. I can't believe I won't have the view. Oh, the view.

I had decided that after I write a post about it, I might get some closure. Then I will not look at my college life with woeful reminiscence, but a surreal satisfaction of living it. I was there. I lived it. It's time to look ahead. It's going to be frightening and maddening at times. But now I will be an adult in the truest sense of the word. I finally control the steering wheel of this car called life. And I can't wait.

Goodbye Lavale. You were incredible.


  1. I don't know if it's the connection to the hill or the thought of never being there again, but I feel this was your best work yet. Everything you said was painstakingly true. It's all over :'(

    1. Thanks Nayan. And yes, it's over. But something new and incredible is waiting to happen in the future :)

  2. Hi Astha

    I hope you're well. My name is Niti and I am Sowmya's friend from her college days. I stumbled upon your blog while I was looking for one particular post on her blog and when I read this one, I couldnt stop myself from writing to you. I sincerely hope you don't take offense to this kind of intrusion

    I just want to tell you that both Sowmya and I went through the EXACT same phase when we graduated from our college in Baroda. I went on to do my post grad, Sowmya took a break while she prepared for CAT, all our other friends got scattered. It really hurt for a while and we were nostalgic to the point of it being a physical ache. But today all of us look back and what we feel is a sense of great pride, a sense of contentment and a lot of joy - those 3 years were definitely the best ones of our lives... we loved, we hated, we fought, we learned and we made friendships for a lifetime. when I got married 2 years back, almost all of the gang was with me, BESIDE ME and they made every moment special for me. Even those who couldnt make it had me in their thoughts - there is no doubt about this

    I am SURE that you will have a great time in Bangalore, you will have fantastic experiences and you will experience an exhilirating sense of independence. someone at work will remind you of some buddy of yours, a flatmate would have the same cooking techniques as a friend, someone on the street will have the same smile as your besty and these are the things that will make the days beautiful.

    I LOVED the campus pics that you have posted. And I felt that every word that you wrote was written by one of us at some point or the other.

    I sincerely wish you the very best for everything that the future holds for you :)



    1. Hey Niti! I'm so glad you stopped by and commented. Your comment made me smile and feel better about it. You're so lucky you had such good times, and your friends stuck with you for so long. I would want to feel the same way as you're feeling when I reach that stage.

      Thanks for the comment! :)

  3. Your beautiful write-up just touched me. Left me speechless. Every single word I could relate to.
    Oh! the view.

    1. Thanks Somya. Being a Lavale resident yourself, I'm sure you can relate to what I wrote :)

  4. Bangalore is a great place. I stay here only, so I guess I can back my point. :D

    I too had similar emotions when my college was over and was turning a new leaf in my life.

    But a new beginning is all that you need. And as for friends, they stay with you as long as you can remember, forever perhaps. :)

    Take Care. :)

  5. I miss college too. I hope you made the most out of your time there. And congrats on the job - that is relief :-)

  6. pretty nice blog, following :)

    1. Thank you :) Shall check out your blog as well!

  7. My first time on your blog? Perhaps!

    Life is like that....3 offers and then none :) Also, what a beautiful place to study. My college campus was not the best however still loved it to the core.

    All the best for the new job. I felt the same when I had the first offer letter. The feeling is just cold, weird, nothing ness sort of. It all turned out alright eventually :)

    1. Hey Chintan! Yes, this is your first time on my blog :) I guess we all have that bond with our college campuses, no matter how they are. Thank you so much :)

  8. Its over..!! So soon…
    I have been following and looking forward for each of your posts since 'the last day at Agra' and the first glimpse of SIMC campus to your internship days and now the last day at the hills. I was like.. what! 2 years!!
    I can't imagine (well, partially I can from your euphoric posts mostly about clouds and rain :)) how epic it'd be to spend whole 2 important years of your life at such a dreamlike beautiful place. And its the same thing that makes the last days painful and coming days nostalgic.
    Congrats for your job. I know it is such a relief!
    You know one thing so good about your life is, you have documented most of the lovely and memorable and epic moments and penned down all your moods, thoughts, feelings, ideologies here on ur blog.
    You can revisit it anytime and have a glimpse of it!
    Like ‘ oh so this ws the day wen it rained and I was so blissfully happy!’ or the “F.R.I.E.N.D.S-ish life” at govindpuri and this revisit will make ur day..
    Lots of best wishes for the new phase of your life and will look forward for your posts from b’lore.
    Whenver I visit your blog, it induce a sense of ‘life is so innocent and full of charm and beautiful and fun’ :)
    or atleast that “world is a beautiful place as long as people like you live and write”

    1. Hello! I can't believe somebody has been following my blog so regularly! It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you :)
      I do feel happy about the fact that I wrote about all the good and bad, (but mostly good) things in life, and now I can go back and read about it all over again :)
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! <3

  9. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.


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