Hiding in Plane Sight

All I can do is think and feel,

Write and question,

Sometimes to myself, Well. most of the time!

 

But I crave conversations too…

I just never seem to make it.

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Silence, why?

I was talking to an old friend from school today. Oh, no. I was just chatting. Talking is a very different activity. Anyway, we practically lived together for two years during our JEE preparations. We hadn’t been in touch lately. So, it was nice to have a ‘chat’ with him today. It was mostly about our lives and career etc.

I am presently in my fourth year, the second last year before my graduation. And to tell you the truth, I am still very unsure of what to do hereon. I think about it a lot, in a very subdued way. I read books, newspapers etc. I write. Sometimes, I feel that I do this to escape from reality that this engineering thing did not work out for me. Honestly, I didnt try hard enough.

And this is true for many people around me. This was also the feeling I got from my friend today. And there is rarely any conversation about this – I mean not in terms of criticising the system that got here. I mean real conversation about what to do with being here.There is a lack of criticism of our own selves who unpurposefully came here and yet have not found a purpose.

If you know me at all, you can safely assume that I am not a good talker. Starting a conversation is even more difficult for me. So, it – the complain of a lack of conversation – is a little hypocrital coming from me. But I can write, so here I am, doing that.

What am I doing here, is a question I must be asking ourselves, infact I do ask this to myself sometimes. It seems too self-righteous. Maybe it is. But that shouldn’t stop me from looking for an answer. However, it is just too easy for me to settle into a passive behavior where the college time table decides my activities of the day. Other than that, I read and avoid people. Until the next day. And it becomes an easy routine.

I remember talking about our careers to my wingies last year after midsems. We were so determined to figure out what we wanted to do in those few days of holidays after midsems. But then the routine took over and we are, more or less, still in the same place. I mean, our rooms are one floor above but who cares. We watch movies, TV series, videos on YouTube, some play gamea, crack a few jokes, criticise a few people, talk about what’s wrong with things around us.

Sometimes I feel like there is a cynical hidden purpose to our evasion from having meaningful conversations about our future, and that is to hide away from reality – a reality that is not too apparent to a whole lot of us. I truly admire my colleagues from the 4-year program who will brave the placements season this year. I feel that we, from 5-year program, are all too cozy in the belief that this one extra year will suddenly enlighten us about our futures.

So I return to my silence. And I hate being silent. I dislike misunderstanding others and being so misunderstood myself. I loathe being unable to move ahead, in the easiness of the ‘hectic schedule’ that leaves a lot of time every day for me.

I hate that I sometimes go to places, to talk to people, to professors and returning back because I cannot bring myself to talk to them. I hate when I have to put an impossible amount of effort to speak to those closest to me because I sometimes feel too self-righteous, or too self-occupied or self-pity.

But I still feel an urge to talk, about a lot of things. If only I could do that. Things may not be very different. But they definitely wouldn’t be the same.

“I’m not alone” @ Gymkhana Grounds IIT Bombay

“I’m not alone” – the melody of Alan Walker plays in my ear as I begin my jog along the running track inside the gymkhana grounds. And I’m not alone indeed – men and women, boys and girls, teens and tweens – delightfully play in the vast quadrangle lined with trees wide open.

They are ahead of me and behind me, some playing, some exercising and some are just wandering around lost in the cool air that envelopes as together. As I approach the basketball arena, I amused by players maneuvering their hands and body to throw the sphere into the hoop. A hit and then two miss – and so it goes on. I tried throwing once in our hostel arena…I failed.

A light ball hits me in my reverie. It is a plastic air-filled ball. I look around and find a little boy coming towards me ever so slowly, yet as fast as his small steps allow. He smiles as he sees me kick the ball towards him. It misses him by a few inches. His face track the ball until it stops. He turns towards me, throws me another smile and runs towards the ball. I don’t know if he saw me smile back.

At one corner, a group of students are practicing some form of art or civil defence…I am not sure. I see them every day doing what they do with dedication. I wonder what it is but I soon find myself right in front of the pavilion approaching the football arena. Here I see some kids and men alike, trying to gain control of the one elusive ball. At the far end, some women are dong the same.

A guy, dressed in a jersey, pauses me requesting to jog outside of the cricket field. I notice that players have taken their positions as the cricket General Championship game is on. I happily oblige and go on. I see many toddlers and tweens playing with sand in a small square arena. I don’t really know the purpose of that sand area in one side of the field. But I am amused by the carelessness and activity that has descended on that rather little area, colonized by little frames. Their parents sit around chatting and gazing.

There is a hockey match going on too, beyond the small partition which seats many people, tired and refreshed alike. I see some men and women playing Frisbee beside the track. And boy, aren’t they loving it! Some men and a few kids practise cricket in the nets. I see some people sitting on the stair cases in pairs or groups of three, some are alone. I wonder what they are talking about, if they have come to cheer for their hostel in the cricket match.

The song in my ear has changed. “I’m afraid our aim is out of sight…” – I hear as a football comes towards me. I wonder if I should kick it back. I feel reluctant because I am not good at it. But I inevitable find myself kicking back the ball. A man, probably the goalkeeper, signals thumbs up as I look up. It makes me feel good…“Alive…” rings in my ear.

A few women have gathered near the metal stairs, furiously exercising as a group. One of them, lying apart, is doing pushups – I find myself counting. As she reaches ten, I realize I am about to step onto the field again. So, I change course and continue.

Last week, I had seen a professor from our department playing cricket with his daughter with a plastic bat and ball. The ball was mostly sliding along the ground, but her daughter hopped happily every time she would make contact. It was a bit amusing because I had mostly heard him talk about abstract scientific and engineering concepts till now. This, seeing him happy and vulnerable, was surprisingly refreshing.

Halfway through what I am sure would be the last round of today, I am beginning to feel a little tardy myself. I started this jogging just a few weeks ago. Before that I had not stepped here in the last two and a half years, other than for Mood Indigo PopularNite. But now that I come here regularly, this place refreshes me after a long day in lecture halls and labs. And  I can be fairly sure that I’m not alone. This place is the true microcosm of IITB community.

Blurred Vision…

Have you looked at a picture
Crisply focussed on an object,
Ever so enogmatic,
While many other details
Blur in the background?

It mystifies under your gaze
As your deciphering attempts turn futile
While you stand fascinated
Confused and frustrated.

I could sight the stranger
A few feet away from me.
But not find the friend
At the end of the street.

Time seemed sandwiched
Into an acute past-future subset
With little room to manoeuvre,
Neither clear memories nor vision

The trees seemed spread
Indistinct on a childish water painting
The people, silhouette
Sprinting all over the place.

I could still feel the wind
Puffing the curls of my hair,
While my eyes still searched
For a vision less blurred.
If only I could find it…

Pictures and Words…

There are moments when you see a picture and a rush of emotions flush your brain. After that rush, there is a sudden silence when you try to find words to explain those emotions to yourself. You know pretty much how futile that attempt is going to be. But you try anyway.

capture

Books

Where are you now…