Friday, March 27, 2009


I tucked away yet another dog-eared script in my cardboard box today. It is a box I've had since my first semester, in which I keep symbols of times I consider worth preserving. It holds a movie ticket from my first ever date, one earring from a pair I once wore everywhere before I lost its mate, a few scribbles, and four scripts: one of each PAF I worked on.

After eleven hours of near-oblivious sleep, I feel human again, albeit rather displaced. It's strange to not have to bolt my food and rush for practice, or to open gmail and not have to send a mail deciding meeting times. Last night after the PAF and dinner, we broke off reluctantly, our good nights trailing. After weeks of working, eating, dozing and thinking together, such a parting seemed too final, too concrete to accept. Today, ever since we woke up, we find ourselves gravitating towards each other's rooms with snippets of memories or to relate familiar jokes.

Every PAF I've done has a special place in my heart. There was Kharashein, where after weeks of sticking newspapers together and painting endless rolls of chart paper orange, I got to stand on the first floor of our chawl and at the high point of the PAF, scream. Ashaayein, where I would wait for hours and hours to sing harmonies to the theme song. U Turn where I finally learnt to what levels of perfection a PAF's background score could be taken, and then yesterday, Nazaffgarh Express, where I got to work with old friends and make some new ones. I discovered afresh how incredibly talented and modest people can be and was both shamed and inspired.

At a time when I was desperately afraid of growing cynical and misanthropic, this was just what I needed. Now it's time to carry on, faith reaffirmed.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax...

It's strange to feel old at 21. But I suppose college does that to you. Last night, after yet another 2am walk up the length of the campus, I got to thinking about how familiar things seem now, after nearly four years in IIT. I'm unused to such familiarity, it throws me off. I'm far more used to packing up and leaving, confident that I'm leaving whatever messes I've made behind and am proceeding to a new place and yet another fresh start, with brand new messes waiting to be made. It is far harder, I realise now, to stay put and work things out. I'm not very good at it.

Last night's walk had almost a sense of deja vu. The night air felt as cool as it always has, in my countless such walks in the past four years. There were the usual puttering autos that slowed down hopefully when they spotted me. The customary bunch of drunk students singing loudly as they walked back to their hostel. Flexes fluttering in the wind, advertising events from musical nights to quizzing competitions. The scraping of plastic chairs outside the Coffee Day Express as a final bunch of students scrambled to get their caffeine fixes before closing time. The lamp post casting a yellow glare on a bunch of tired freshies with a ladder, putting up yet another flex. The familiar canoodling couples outside my hostel gate. And of course, the watchman fast asleep, with his feet up on the table.

There is comfort in this familiarity. I have closer friends than I've ever had before. Perhaps as A remarked last night, if we weren't living together in the same hostel, sharing the same mess and foozeball table, we wouldn't be friends. But seeing as we are, we accept each other, faults and whimsies. I wonder if I'll ever find such complete acceptance elsewhere.

I thought such sameness would tire me or grate on my nerves. But instead, I find myself clutching at moments, intent upon making them memories before they slip away. This next year is to be just that- a time for rest and contemplation, for dreams and ambition and most of all, a time to remember. Before I'm once again flung into the world outside.