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.