Sreeparna Basu writes on Life @ UPES

I remember the first time I had seen the University. I was intimidated. But at the same time, I had this feeling of thrill in the pit of my stomach. The buildings are a shade of gray. Hence, the college did not look so bright. However, it was my college. I could already feel the sense of belonging seeping through.

I made a few friends in the first few classes. Rather, our group was the biggest in class, a group of 10. We always stuck together. But then time and life’s whims set us apart. It is rightly said, you don’t end up with the same group you started with. I retained one friend who, most fortunately, grew to be my best friend and has remained so over time. I have remained at the campus hostel for three years now. I remember the first year when the hostel ground was quite small such that it had a homey aura about it.

There is a backyard where I used to go and listen to music and look up at the sky. And the view is breath- taking. The mountains, the stars, and the moon peeping from behind the clouds. Oh! The stars. If you are lucky, you even get to see Venus. Never before had I chanced upon such clear skies and lush greenery.

Freshers’ is quite a memorable day. There’s a DJ round at the sports field and it has been something of a coincidence that it rains every year. We were apprehensive at first but our predisposition and the music set the tone for the event and we danced in the rain with even more zeal. Serendipity is defined as finding something good without looking for it. Come to think of it, I would like to believe that Dehra has been a serendipity. Bidholi, set in the lap of nature, is where I have witnessed more than four rainbows together and the moon and the sun at the same time in the sky.

I had auditioned for the cultural societies and got selected in the dramatics wing of one. Acting not only makes you stage free but also helps you in everyday life. The better the actor you are, the quicker you will be able to pull yourself out of difficult situations. We used to practice at Chitrakoot.

The incoming batches will not know of it. The place has been demolished and in its stead, some new building will procure. I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish new blocks won’t come up, no trees cut, no memories scarred. I wish the college remained as it was, not a brick moved or replaced. I wish the campus grounds hadn’t become so crowded where you couldn’t find a place to sit, where years from now if we ever returned we wouldn’t have to strain our memories to remember how the blocks, we have classes in, looked like.

But then it’s a necessary change, a change that I have to acclimatize myself with and live and grow with. I was once taking a walk with my society’s scriptwriter, who looks at the world with rainbow colored glasses when he said that the college’s background scenery is different every day, 365 days of the year, you only have to look.

I have met quite a few people during the tenure of college. Some people exist to irritate you and some to make you feel loved. Unfortunately, the latter will be few and hard to find. Situations will not always be as you want them to be. As a good man once said, “Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” Life is going to change once you move from school to college. You will actually grow up, learn, make mistakes, then learn some more and mature. The process is not going to be easy but then what fun is it otherwise? One fine day you will find yourself as gloomy as the overcast skies, lost in self- introspection, where nothing in life makes sense, where the world strikes you as a bad place filled with evil people and then the very next day you will wake up and find a new friend who restores your faith in yourself and in humanity.

You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” Life is going to change once you move from school to college. You will actually grow up, learn, make mistakes, then learn some more and mature. The process is not going to be easy but then what fun is it otherwise? One fine day you will find yourself as gloomy as the overcast skies, lost in self- introspection, where nothing in life makes sense, where the world strikes you as a bad place filled with evil people and then the very next day you will wake up and find a new friend who restores your faith in yourself and in humanity.

Above all, you will discover yourself, not your aptitude or skills or hobbies but your true self, what you are made of and who you are. And in the end, you will learn how to be strong…. Alone.

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