Alma mater

When was the last time you visited college??

I visited my grad school after eight long years. You won’t believe how excited I was. All the memories were flashing in-front of my eyes. 

I don’t know from where to start. Let me start from the beginning 🙂 

After my 12th board, I wanted to go for engineering because 

  1. Bhaiya did engineering 
  2. I thought it was really cool to stay away from parents so I would be free to do anything at anytime and no one will say a word to me.
  3. I never had an insight of what I should do with my career so engineering was an easy option. The only thing I knew was I have to study something in order to get a job!

I took a year gap to prepare for engineering entrance exams. I could not clear IIT JEE and AIEEE obviously as I was never focused. Also, because I was preparing for the above stated (1, 2, 3) reasons and didn’t really want to do engineering. In that respect, I really admire darling sister. She was focused since 9th grade about her career, what she wanted to study, from which university and where would she like to start her career from (as in which company, what job etc.). Everything was clear to her. And she made sure she was always on right track towards her dream job. 

Coming back to me now, I got some rank in Orissa Jee and was called for counselling in August-September. Meanwhile, my parents decided I should not sit idle and waste another year in order to wait for the Orissa Jee result. They suggested me to apply in the colleges for basic science / arts / vocational courses. Well, even then I had my own tantrums. I didn’t want to study “Arts”. Seriously!!! Yes, I said that. Because, again, I was not sure what would I do by doing “Arts”. 

Other colleges would take admission on the basis of marks obtained in 12th board exam but St. Xavier’s College used to take entrance test for all the branches. I gave admission test for Mathematics and Physics. I wanted to take Maths, particularly, only because Papa was a masters in maths. I never liked Physics because of the teacher who taught physics in school and, chemistry was always so confusing that I really never understood. 

The physics teacher in school had once told me that I would never do anything in my life. I will sit at home and will spend my dad’s money. Yes! That’s what he said. He made that comment only because I did an experiment wrong during our practical sessions. In spite of encouraging students to excel, he was discouraging me. I was so disappointed with his comment that I started crying. That’s why I never liked physics! 

Unfortunately or fortunately, I cleared Physics entrance in St. Xavier’s college for Bachelors degree. My name was on the third list. I was really horrified with the fact that I will be studying physics. Will I be able to understand what they teach? What if the professors in college were like my school physics teacher? What if I flunk in exams? So many things were going in my head. But, then, I thought these classes/lectures are temporary because I was secretly waiting for the Orissa Jee counselling. It was first day of the college, and I reached college an hour before the lecture time. I am the kind of person who prefers to be on time or before time. 

College campus
College campus

For an hour I was just roaming around in the department, going through the noticeboard where there was the  admission list. I got a chance to look at it to know who all will be attending lectures with me. I got my eyes on the anti-raging notices saying ‘senior students are not allowed to rag the fresher, in case of any ragging complaints the student will be suspended for that semester’, the syllabus for first semester, attendance notice warning students if they fail to achieve 80% attendance then they wont be allowed to sit in the semester exams, and previous semester’s result list among other things. After doing time pass for one hour it was time for me to attend my first lecture. I was getting goosebumps and exactly the same feeling as Lucky gets in the movie Main Hoon Na, when he visits his college library first time ever.

The first lecture was taken by Prof Dipankar Dey (DDey sir we used to call him), head of Physics department. I really didn’t know at that time who he was until one of the students sitting next to me told that he’s the HOD. He took the lecture of Mathematical Physics. He made that session so interesting that my hatred for physics vanished in the very first lecture. 

After the first lecture, I thought there won’t be any more lectures. But we had all the scheduled lectures. I had an impression that normal colleges would not be regular in terms of classes and students would be more free to roam around. But I was wrong. St. Xavier’s college, being an autonomous institution, was very strict in terms of lectures and discipline. With each passing day, I started enjoying physics. I didn’t make much friends because I thought I was there for some time only. By the time my Orissa JEE counselling came, I had already attended two months of college and got busy with the assignments and practical stuffs. 

I went for my Orissa JEE counselling. My turn was in second half of the day, but there was a big screen where we could see the seats filled in different colleges. Till the time my turn came to fill the form for the desired college and branch, almost all the seats in good colleges were filled. I had two options: Engineering from some random college in a branch which i never thought of or Physics from St Xavier’s College. I was just thinking during the whole counselling process and was discussing with Papa about future plans. Then all of a sudden I stood up and asked Papa to come with me. He somehow sensed my decision. The only thing he said was lets wait for your turn but since I was not ready to sit, we came out in the middle of the counselling. The only thing Papa asked was whether I was sure about it? Would I not regret later? I confidently said I won’t regret. I came back to Ranchi with a happy heart. Next day I went to college and everything seemed so good. I sat with new girls and became friends with them (Ankita, Rafia and Spriha). For the next three years, these three girls and I were inseparable. We would come to the college together, sit together on first bench, would prepare for semester exams together. I made other friends also from my department as well as from other departments. But these girls were special. Mummy would pack lunch for me and she would ensure she packed something new for me everyday. After the lectures in college I would ensure I reach home on time and get back to study. No roaming around in college after lectures. Sometimes after college if we would want to spend time together then either they would come to my place or I would go to there place but no hanging around outside. No movie, no birthday treat in restaurants, no shopping, nothing. It was not that our parents would restrict us from all these things, it was just that I wanted to spend more of my time in figuring out what next. Three years passed in a blink without realizing when and how. It felt like yesterday I was there in the college as a fresher and today I was an alumni. But I was somehow happy that college got over and I got admission in NIT Rourkela for Masters in Physics. I was more happy because of the option 2 I stated in the beginning of the post. 

After a few days Mummy moved to Kolkata with Papa and after a few months of their stay there, they moved to Mumbai. After completing my masters, I came back to Mumbai. I got a job in Mumbai and then in Bangalore. I never went back to Ranchi after my graduation.Two years back Mummy Papa moved to Jamshedpur. Since we are now working professionals, our vacations depends upon manager’s yes/no and if there is any important deadline to meet. With all these things my frequency of visiting home has reduced to twice / thrice a year. For some it may be sufficient but I feel if I could visit home more often. 

There are two ways to go Jamshedpur from Bangalore: a) take flight to Ranchi and from Ranchi take bus/cab to Jamshedpur, b) take flight to Kolkata and from there they can catch a train to Jamshedpur. Till last year I was taking route b. Only this time I thought of going home via Ranchi. This is the less tiring route. I have decided that from now on I would take this route only. After spending a few days in Jamshedpur, it was time for me to be back to work. Since my flight was from Ranchi, I decided to go a little early and meet a very dear friend (Rishabh) who got engaged just a day before. Due to some function at my place I could not attend his engagement. Rishabh is an Art of Living student and Geologist by profession.

Rishabh and I
Rishabh and I

We decided to meet at college. I was really excited to go back to college and see how much the college has changed. I was also excited to be back in Ranchi after 8 long years. I got down from bus and took a cycle rickshaw to college. Every single thing took me back to the time spent during the year 2000 – 2010. It reminded me of so many things. Going to Papa’s office, shopping with Mummy Papa in church complex, spending summer vacation at Tripathi uncle’s place, eating ice cream at Firayalal, going to wool house or Kashmir vastralaya with Mummy during winters because she would knit sweaters for us, that New Lords tailor where Papa would give his shirt and pair of trousers to get stitched, Punjab sweets from where we would buy sweets, Hanuman Mandir where Mummy would take me to every Tuesday, Daily market where I used to go with Mummy on Sundays to buy fresh vegetables. I don’t remember when was the last time I had cycle rickshaw ride so I ensured I get on one of them. Later I realised I was smiling like an idiot. 

Church complex
Church complex

With all the memories flashing in front of me I reached college. I didn’t see much crowd in the college maybe because of exams or maybe because of summer vacation. The college has changed a lot but the scooty stand and Xerox counter is still the same. The very first change I noticed was the auditorium, they have named the auditorium in the loving memory of late Father C De Brouwer. He was an inspiration. The second change that I noticed was they have changed the library entrance. The college has expanded and new buildings were there. Construction is still going on. Now they have new building for Arts, Humanities and Mass Communication. The boundary wall between the old St John’s school and our college is no more as the college has taken that part of the school. Some departments have been shifted to St John’s school premises. The chapel has been renewed and shifted to a new place. Earlier the chapel used to be open for students also. In fact, darling sister has been to chapel. But the year I joined college they closed chapel for students as they found that students were missing the lectures and doing time pass in chapel. The old canteen has been renewed. And the new canteen has a playing area too. They have kept indoor games also. The owner of old canteen now sits near the St John’s school premise. After roaming around in the college for one hour we decided to sit in the canteen. It was then I realised that in my three years in college I never visited canteen. When I confessed this to Rishabh he said you missed the fun. He, then, started telling me about the time he spent in college canteen, about his elections and college fest. While he was telling me his stories of college canteen, the only thing that was coming to my mind was – can I just go back to my college days? In order to focus on studies and career I somehow missed enjoying the college life!! 

Me
Just outside the college canteen. Happy me!

It’s very important to enjoy every phase of life without getting stressed out for the future. Be focused towards your goal and dreams but don’t forget to enjoy the present. With this, Baba Nimisha Kashyap is signing off with a hope to write another blog post soon.

 

Diwali

late-night-after-diwali-018It’s quarter to 4 in the morning, I’m still up, watching lights in my room which I decorated for Diwali, and sipping coffee. My love for coffee and lights will be eternal. I want to see my room decorated with fairy lights throughout the year. The fairy lights in the room keep channging its position with time. Sometime its simply hanging on the wall, at times it just hangs around my pic collage. Fairy light decoration makes me extremely happy. May be that’s why I like Diwali (the festival of lights) more than any other festivals. This was my third Diwali away from home, first time it was in the year 2011. I was in my final year of MSc in Rourkela, and Mom Dad were in Mumbai. Just a day off on Diwali stopped me from going home. Second time was in the year 2016. I had some urgent project deliveries hence couldn’t make it home. Third time was last year i.e. 2017. I was in Mountain View for some project!I miss Diwali at home. Mom would prepare the puja thali, Dad would wear dhoti and do evening puja. I used to be busy all day checking out for easiest rangoli design. I used to draw rangoli every year without a fail. Every year my design would be the same except for the colours. When we (bhaiya, darling sister and I) were in school, Diwali meant bursting crackers, playing with different kind of sparklers, anaar (flower pot), chakri, rocket, eating lots of sweets and helping mom in lighting diyas. Fairy lights were not common in those days. There used to be a secret competition among the kids on whose crackers would be noisiest. Mom and dad would stand in the balcony to see us bursting crackers and ensure we don’t hurt ourselves. Now that we are grown ups, we understand that bursting crackers is nonsense. It might be a way of expressing happiness or a symbol of celebration but with time it seems more like adding to the pollution and mere waste of money. People celebrate Diwali as a symbol of victory. Victory of good over evil. I think the major festivals in India (Holi, Durga Puja, Diwali) has the same significance “victory of good over evil” but with different stories.  With this I’ll end up this story hoping to write new stories soon.

Bench

Bench ~ clicked by me

One day, a bench like this will be residing in my garden. I’ll have my morning coffee on it. That would be a time when I would have grown old, I will have kids and they would be somewhere in the world earning for their living. I won’t have the tension of projects, deadline, meetings etc., because by that time I would have retired.

I would often lie on the bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches romancing with the nature, till the time I could see moon and stars.

But for now, I have to run office, I’m getting late for a meeting and I also have a project deadline to meet.

*Starts running*

P.S. This pic has been taken by me at Nandi Hills, Bangalore, Karnataka, India. 

Sardar ji Uncle

12797948_1758731601025782_1269249174_aDr. Tirath S. Sehmbhi from Punjab, young, dynamic and 67. All I know about him is that he is in London for the past 45 years or may be more. He did his studies from Imperial College, London University. He works at my client’s site. I had heard a lot about him from my other colleagues who keep visiting the client’s site. Now that I am at the client’s site, I met him. When you see someone in the foreign land from the same country as you are from, you feel connected. I was also feeling connected to this Uncle and may be the uncle was also feeling the same. He is senior at the work place so ideally I should call him by his name i.e. Tirath or “Sir” but I call him uncle. He is not talkative but, yes, he has lot of stories to tell, and, sadly, no one to listen them. “I am more patriotic than anyone living in India”, his favourite dialogue, he keeps telling us. I have never questioned his patriotism and don’t have any intention to do that.

It’s my second week in Cambridge. I went office on my usual time. At lunch time, I asked him if he would join me. It has become a routine now to ask him. Without a fail he would reply, “Beta main to lunch ghar se laata hu”. Today he saw I didn’t have lunch with me he asked me before I could ask him, “Beta ji aapka lunch kidhar hai”. I told him I keep fast on Tuesdays, and, therefore I didn’t bring lunch with me. To which he asked me if I take fruits. I told him that I do take fruits but forgot to bring it today. He offered me his fruit bowl which he would take after his lunch daily. I was a little embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say him. I was quiet for a moment, then I said I had fruits in the morning, thanks anyway. On that he said “le lo beta, isi bahane mujhe yaad to karoge”.I took the fruit bowl, said thank you and I went.

Even if he had not offered his fruit bowl, then also, he would have been remembered always. It’s hard to forget someone that you know you’ll remember always. 🙂

Sardar ji Uncle will always be remembered for his kindness, stories and of course fruit bowl.

The moon is a loyal companion..

There is something about moon that attracts me towards it. I find moon super romantic. I feel it has a story to narrate. Millions of people talk to moon about their dreams and wishes. Moon keeps our secrets. It watches us from far, notices the change in us and never complains about it. I can spend all my night (in fact have spent most of my nights) talking to moon without getting bored. Moon knows all my secrets. It knows when I’m happy and when I’m sad. It knows the reason of my teary eyes and sleepless nights. And i know, it wont betray me. It will keep my secrets till i die and after that too.

The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. *Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.*

-from the novel “Shatter me”

The pic has been clicked by me.