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For the last two years, the students dreamt of going back to campus between lazy metro hues, canteen chilli potatoes and piquant smelling classrooms. These two years have been a labyrinth of indeterminate grief, isolation and a repetitive lifestyle.
The pre-COVID era filled with normalcy has been missed but through time, we got adjustable with the changes; the reopening of my university was a distant vision.
I was in my first year when the pandemic started. Everyone says our batch is at least lucky to receive a farewell this time. But I stare in xeroxed silence, can we say goodbye to our university life which has not been lived and imbibed? Returning to university again makes me wonder if I have lost two years of my life.
I remember packing my bags and leaving for my home state on March 14, 2020. Two years down the lane, I am back after a long pause. I feel like I am stuck in an elevator on the fourteenth floor in a skyscraper. The world has moved on, they have utilised their time while I lived in a loop of indecisiveness of will.
Last week, I went to a bookshop in Kamala Nagar, Delhi. Before the pandemic, at the start of the semester, we used to come here to buy books. I was centred around students buying entrance manuals, bargaining for a copy of the Iliad or conversing in hushed voices, how the next shop gave more discount.
The shop-owner said to me, “The books I sent you during lockdown you have read right? Paisa vasool hogaya ” Sudden flashbacks came in the mind of the nights I lived in torpor sharing hospital contacts, being afraid of my parent’s health or staring blankly at the blanched poster of Moriarty in my dust baked room. I had a room, many didn’t, I read somewhat-others couldn’t.
And no bureaucratic academic and legal institutions will see at the end what you have been through, what you have become. Being productive and being happy are two different things. Both of which were difficult to be tamed in that feeble mind of ours.
In two months, I will graduate. I still feel I am the naive kid who went to the seniors class on the first day of college. Looking at the juniors, I desperately wish to be at their age. I think over and over again what could I have done if I was on campus one year ago. Regrets and resilience fight with each other. Could I have been different? I isolated myself from social events and became a homebody thinking the digital life will continue forever.
Now that I look back, I have lost the years of youth. It feels good to be young again, but the prospect of the future eludes me. I came in my first year with rigid ambitions, which have passed by-lanes of billboard posters and empty billiard board rooms. An externalised pressure works to figure out the future.
I am grateful to be back again. I sat on the oak bench of the classroom to listen to lectures on partition and discuss theologies. The essence of normalcy makes me believe I could do more. From the drumbeats and perfect monologues by drama society members to the chilly potato of the canteen which became less tasty, life goes on. I wish I could have stayed a little longer. The days are passing by in the split of a second, maybe that’s how the trajectory of time works.
I hope I can come out of my homebody lifestyle. Times have been tough and it might take a little longer to adapt to the changes within the self and others. But please do try to converse, see the sunset by old Dilli or play with colours. The bygone days of our youth are the most cherishable, we don’t know where life will lead us, all we have as is now in this frightening second.
I might sound like a dishevelled grandma tired from work, but I mean it as the series Twenty five-twenty one’s Yi-jin, “It feels good to be young again”. May you find solace in whatever way you go.
Image Credits: Google Photos
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Source: Author’s own opinion
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This post is tagged under: University, college, reopening, Covid, anxiety, graduation, final year, productivity, youth, Twenty Five Twenty One, anxiety, COVID, pandemic, student life, DU, college life
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