It was a cold February day. The distant high reaches were all blanketed in a uniform layer of snow which fell the other night. The azure sky with white peaks below provided a picture-postcard view. Despite the picturesque environment, my mind was elsewhere - drifting somewhere in a faraway meadow like a feather blown helter-skelter.
The class 12 results were out and the marks were not in the least what I had expected. That churned a storm in my head and an endless bout of melancholy in my heart. Nonetheless I made a journey to the capital hoping against hope that I could somehow squeeze myself into one of the many undergrad courses being offered by the premier learning institute in the country. But that dusty gusty day of April at the YHSS ground sealed my fate and closed off the door to Sherubtse – the peak of learning.
Two months after that unforgettable day at YHSS ground, I was in Chennai amidst the hustle and bustle of a fast-growing metropolitan city. Patrician College of Arts and Science, located right in the heart of the city, was to be my host for the next three years. The initial days were quite unpleasant with no friends and very less talking. The temperatures soared way over 30 degrees on most days and it was like stepping into a furnace. However, time whizzed by as it always does and slowly I began liking the entire set-up – the city, the college, the college mates, the lecturers and the heat, of course.
Even in my wildest and craziest dream did I not figure out the reality of myself studying in a catholic co-educational institutions thousands of miles away from home, yet the feeling of being home ever present. Chennai had been a wonderful home away from a home. With each passing exam, we would eagerly look forward often with dread to the three-night two-day journey back home by rail. And once inside that machine chugging all along its tracks, it was always a potpourri of feelings.
Patrician college has been a wonderful platform for learning. This is evident from its motto- To seek, To strive, To find. Of the many special memories the college has given me, the lifetime privilege of getting to attend a talk by HH The Dalai Lama and a handshake from the Indian Missile man and former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam will forever be etched in my mind.
Another sliver off the glass of memory from Chennai is romance. With both bitter and sweet memories in store, it will be hard not to reminisce those episodes where Cupid started shooting his arrows indiscriminately! And after being struck by one, life turned out different-it took a fairy course and I loved it with all my senses. A number from a friend, a text message next, a call and it would always be followed by a rendezvous either by the beach or at the movies. With text message exchanges that would cross way over to the other side of the mid-night to calls that would create a void in your account to AWOL from class to a pick-up at the rail station followed by a walk to the beach…I recall it all and I cherish them all because they have all left an indelible mark. All goes well and it is a date on the terrace on a moon-lit night with curiously excited mosquitoes bearing witness to all that would ensue. We were lovers wed on a starry south Indian night, each having taken our own vows. The ‘Yes I do’ reverberating in tandem with the breeze; both lost in reverie. We were love-struck.
Although love is a sacred union akin to marriage, a love triangle never is. So one fine December day, after a good six months, my romance took a tail-spin and all that remained was a broken heart and a bruised ego. However, Cupid shot his arrow after a yearlong hiatus and the wounds began to heal and the heart started to love…and it still loves.
On a steamy May day, I bade farewell to a place which was my home for a good three years. And with me I brought home a degree which I felt would ensure that I will go on collecting even sweeter memories down the line.
Today as I write this from my room here at the Royal Institute of Management, my mind slips from my grasp and hurries to the beautiful beaches, ultra-modern shopping malls, theme parks, water worlds and a lot more places I’ve been to and had the memories to bring from. As I end my journey to this point with this post I look forward to a more intriguing and eventful journey ahead.