Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The feeling of getting old

You probably wouldn't get the feeling behind this post unless you have a firsthand experience.  Last week, I happened to visit the NIT Calicut campus for some work.  The college was bathed in a festive mood with students celebrating their annual fest, Tathva.

Two young voices sitting on the registration desk announcing timings and registration details for about-to-start events sounded fresh on the microphone.  Teens frantically pacing all around between different makeshift stalls were effervescent in their colourful tees and shredded style jeans.  Those unconcerned couples were spotted walking carelessly chewing peanuts or licking icecreams.  Moving a bit farther, there was a small gathering cheering a bunch of guys dancing on a small stage probably made for impromptu competitions.  The onstage mood seemed to reverberate across the spectators - jubilant and ecstatic, clapping noisily, everyone seemed to be engrossed with the display of energy, youth, excitement, life!

And there I was, standing a couple of yards away across the road with thoughts moving to and fro my mind like those students cycling past their Hero and Avon cycles on the campus' main road.  Nostalgic reflections of college days were the first passers by - the festive spirit of Srijan at ISM bounced back with all its fervor - what energy we had to roam around and shout and at least witness everything that used to happen over the three days!  There used to be life - amidst canteen and hostel backyard chats, amidst elocutions and solos and JAMs, amidst bonhomie of the entire campus at the upperground, amidst midnight trips to GT Road's Khalsa or to Ram Charitra Singh's tea stall on Dhanbad station.  And it's hardly the same now - the euphoria has been waning over the years.

To wash the thoughts all away, I went for lunch at the good old Lovely Dhaba just outside the NIT campus.  It didn't prove much of a respite.  The place was thronged with even more students - small groups of teenage boys and girls chatting incessantly on topics which I feel I have come a long way from.  You yourself don't realise when you changed, or got so much subdued with the waves of time ironing out many of those bubbles of your personality.  You don't realise, or probably don't want to accept, the difference which time brought into you with those few months of job and higher studies interspersed between college life and present.  And pretty much ironically, its time which throws you back sometimes to ensure you understand the reality, that things do change.  It's not a good feeling though, to know that you have aged.