It’s been more than a year after college started. College is one of those critical, epoch-making points in your life, apparently. It changes people. Nobodies from high school become celebrities in college. The introverted nerd from your class now posts pictures of himself sporting a mooch and aviators with his pouting lady friends. And then there are the hippie traveller ones (yes, you, guy with the Bullet which I see on my newsfeed atleast twice a week). You get the point – they all change. Assume new avatars, shrug off old inhibitions and insecurities, reveal their true selves.
So, scrolling through my phone gallery sometime back, I wondered how much I had changed, or whether I had changed at all. I had definitely changed. The girl who would walk all around the colony to her house just to avoid the cats along the shorter path now lived with two of them sleeping outside her room. And the one who lost maybe around fifteen water bottles during the whole length of her school life thanks to her ‘absent-mindedness’ hadn’t lost her wallet, credit card or phone for a whole year (yes, it’s a big thing. Ask my mother.) And not just these little things, bigger things were changing in my head too – my viewpoints on several things, my convictions, my priorities.
But watching a video of my brother annoying my sister sitting on our sofa in our living room, I wondered if some other things had changed at all. The girl who second-guessed most of the things she did at some times and hastily took decisions at others still stayed behind. So did the pretentious writer and the confused, stammering speaker. 19 years have passed by, and I still find it hard to say no to anybody or anything.
In the ugly transition from childhood to adulthood, people expect it to be all like how it is in the movies: most of us changing seamlessly from one phase to another. For some people, things are that easy. But when faced with a choice of what to hold on to and what to leave behind, a rush of images coloured with nostalgia and a hoodlum of voices in your head leave you confused about whether you’re really here or there. Or whether you can find a common ground and be here and there at the same time. Or whether you can be here, with a little bit of there inside of you. They’re all options; how is the question. Rather, why: why is the true question.
But always, no matter how lost you seem in this sea of conflicts, there will be a simple voice, the voice of truth giving you the answers to questions that you always knew. Digging the voices from within – all that advice you gave others, all those lessons learnt from experience – presented on a whole new plate and then served back to you. And then, faced with a clearer picture, you will realise that the world wasn’t so complicated after all – that it is, in fact, quite simple, like the choices you make between what has to leave, and what has to stay.