This article was submitted to Ergo by Varun Srinivasan, a second-semester student at the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. He’s an avid movie buff, violin & theater enthusiast, and takes great interest in life’s ironies and jokes, while observing in the safe comfort of his pajamas.
Years before college, we dream of it. Months before it, there are frustrations and days before it is just a tornado of confusion, chaos and the clutter of last minute packing; of empty shelves, halfhearted goodbyes and full-mouthed kisses.
Welcome. Your world is about to change.
Not really. Your world will go as far as to maybe adjust a bit towards the left and check itself in the mirror. It will come prepared for the social Armageddon, but face an itch instead. You will wake up with the sense of productivity only stationery can give you but after the sun soon glides over your head you will recede back into eternal safety of the thought of doing things tomorrow. Let me stop right there, it’s already running into the mainstream idea of expectation versus reality posts. This isn’t that, this piece is to tip the scales and balance the abundance of reality checklists about college, with things that will change, for which you didn’t prepare, but find yourself in the middle anyway.
This is about the silent rebelling. This is about the small, small things that will take part in your everyday activities. You see, I basically grew up in a temple. I used to wake up to the dulcet tones of MS Subbalakshmi’s Suprabhatam as my alarm clock, I grew up learning Carnatic music with Linkin Park in my earphones; being told to go sleep at 10 and spent my pooja hours secretly watching Dragon Ball Z on my phone. So you can understand when I say that when I went to college, like every dumb boy ever, went on my quest to find a world of sex, drugs and women.
Yeah, this is about college rebelling. The vices are all around me, but where I’ve made my home is in the vices that will never make papers or stories, but only indescribable moments of happiness.
First best friend. Undoubtedly, its cholesterol. Of course I started off with a budget, of course I resolved to work out, but it wasn’t long before I was the reason franchisees could make a profit in Gujarat. My first vice is the food surging in my body, from the lusciously spread out channa puri of Havmor, pizza crafted like art at Sam’s, and rolls topped off with sentiment more than mayonnaise (Hogger’s is legendary). For those times when the wallet is light, an unnecessarily large congregation of chefs will gather in your room trying to make Maggi, but making jabs instead. Soul food for soulful times.
The second love. You know things have changed when you start eyeing books with more diligence than girls. Especially in a law school with 30% women reservation and 100% book sensation, it’s a problem. The Ratanlal & Dhirajlal’s are the hot ones and the out-of-league ones. The Bangia’s are the guilty crushes. You don’t want to be seen with them, but it’s much easier to handle when the exam is 6 hours away and you’ve spent the entire day just figuring out where to study from. You see, the problem isn’t how much to study or how to study, it’s where to study from. The hot ones give you street rep and the guilty ones help you pass. (in your papers, that is. At this point I’m employing analogies to evade the risk of sounding like a geek.)
The third world tragedy. Social life, of course. There are two problems. First, the vigour with which you entered university with Vans sneakers and leather jackets dissipates quickly when you don’t have hot water in the common bathrooms. Life’s biggest problems are laundry and showers, and the clubbing aspirations take a backseat as the shoes become sock holders and the leather jackets become comforters for the night. The second problem is that when you start to juggle three assignments in two hours worth one lifetime, the priorities change. “Going out” becomes the wild act of making the trip to your friend’s room and sitting on your posterior all night, making no value addition to your legal education.
The fourth wall breaks. In the narration of life there are those random times when you slip into a conversation with your narrator. Too cryptic? God. At the risk of sounding like a missionary, I did end up finding faith, or more appropriately, the divine conversation. It isn’t that mystic as it sounds, it’s usually the frustrated silences that Taylor Swift (because you WILL need her during tough times of drafting and citing bulky memorandums) can’t fill in the darkest moments. When all else fails, the eye in the sky is just a constant reaffirming faith that I will find the right case law, that the mess food will taste fine and that I may hope to salvage hope out of a schedule designed to kill it. Who knew, all this time I sneaked DBZ episodes at home during poojas would come back for a reboot.
The five-angled brand. Pentagram, our national fest. A great break for the participants, and a brilliant way to lose weight for those organizing it. As tradition dictates, first years do the legwork. And this appears to be a pattern in most committees, which brings me to the idea of extra curriculars. “Because you need breaks from busy schedules.” What kind of a break makes you work more than you did before? You’d think that would act as a deterrent, but there is a attractive allure to watch politics work magic behind the veil of culturals, the Frank Underwood’s coming together with Eli Gold’s, the odd charm of malice and alcohol. People bond over it, people drink over it, and people build relationships over it.
As I move to the next semester, I also know all of this will change. The thing about college is, there is incentive both to not change the aforementioned, remain this way and continue in the safety of this knowledge, or with every new semester, take one of these apart and change it to your liking. The risk comes with great rewards, unexpected outcomes yet thoroughly fascinating memories. So when I say go ahead, rebel in college, Im not asking you to switch to alcohol. I’m asking you, daring you in fact, to mix up approaches, pick a different authoritative book, join a different committee, find a different faith, a different party to go to and a different formula in different semesters to finally reach that one perfect objective: self actualization. (Just kidding, it’s placement. Find a job or you’ll end up writing for college magazines.)
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