18th July 2016 – 22nd December 2017
On the first day of college, I remember being awestruck by the architecture, intimidated by the size of the campus, unsure of whether I would fit in, and quite certain that I would never locate my classroom through the labyrinth of staircases. I was hesitant to order in the canteen, confused about where to sit during lunch and shocked at the large number of people in the ‘Foyer’.
Fast forward to now, and I’m still awestruck by the architecture, the only difference being that now when I walk into college, I know exactly where I have to be, I can navigate the staircases blindfolded, the people in the canteen know my order before I place it, and I am now used to finding familiar faces in large crowds. Most importantly though, I met a bunch of unlikely people who turned into my family.
To all the friends I made in college- I want to thank you for allowing me to be myself (as cliché as this sounds). Thank you for befriending the Hamilton-singing, book-reading, unusually chirpy and extremely vocal feminist with the unhealthy chai obsession. Thank you for not abandoning me even when I’m moody, loud and obnoxious, and eating all your food without permission. Here’s to bunking lectures and talking about absolutely nothing in the foyer, to all the movies we went for and all birthdays we celebrated. To laughing at inside jokes and making fun of crushes. To taking secret santa very seriously and to bonding with each other’s families. To themed wednesdays, and concerts, and sleepovers, and quite literally every single time we’ve hung out. Group dynamics change, and some of you came and went, but the memories we’ve made can still get me through a bad day. Each one of you is a gem, and I can write a book on how much you mean to me, but for now I just want to say that I’ve got your backs regardless of whether we stay in touch.
On the 22nd of December, as I stood in the quad at our “farewell” (if you can call it that), staring at the building that had been home for almost 2 years, I couldn’t hold back the tears because even the thought of not coming back next year was incomprehensible to me.
I don’t know how to live in a world where Anna’s tea isn’t at my disposal at all times.
I don’t know how to go on without seeing people I’m so used to meeting everyday. I know that there are so many faces I’ve seen for the last time, and it hurts because if I had more time in college, I could’ve strengthened so many friendships and created so many more memories. The thought of leaving home prematurely made me miserable.
It wasn’t until much later in the day, while singing ‘Yaaron’ (completely off-key) at the top of my lungs in the shadiest part of Kit-Kat, with the people I love the most, that I realized everything would be okay, because our friendships were built on the foundation of facing death together (death being science in HSC) and living to tell the tale. I know we’ll find our way back to each other because mutual hatred for calculus and organic chemistry bonds people for life
I wish I could say that I had the “Complete Xavier’s Experience” but I was here for less than two years, and I know I didn’t experience even half of what the college has to offer. Nevertheless I feel like I’m leaving with a truckload of memories. To me, college is getting rejected by the cats in the canteen, it’s getting emotional during AM night because you realise your life has no purpose now that Malhar is over. It’s buying a brownie on a bad day, and it’s sitting in the quad alone, just admiring the architecture (until the watchman drives you away of course). It’s the teachers we love,the teachers we hate and the ones who are just there. It’s breaking test tubes in the chem lab, manipulating all our physics practical readings and missing bio pracs because we were 0.0001 seconds late. It’s scrambling to finish assignments and begging for attendance. It’s being irritated about not getting network anywhere but being grateful to spend real quality time with people without phones in the way. It’s Malhar pav, Chicken dragon and BBC. It’s walks in the woods, and impromptu photo shoots, napping in the MMR and admiring the chapel. It’s discovering new passageways and staring at the view from the terrace. It’s not being able to focus in the library because it’s so beautiful and being stuck amidst an actual sea of people blocking your path on the ‘Hogwarts staircase’. It’s Sunlight, Lalit and Kitkat, drinking from a conical flask at Ahar, and getting Khepsa at Mao’s. It’s figuring out which department to join for Malhar and wearing the volunteer t-shirts with unabashed pride. It’s dancing like crazy on Traditional Day, and dressing up for Hindi Divas. It’s clapping when someone breaks a glass in the foyer and singing happy birthday for complete strangers. It’s trying to decide whether you want chaat, or maggi, or chinese bhel , or chicken paratha and then changing your mind again. Most importantly though, it’s cringing at the college song but singing along anyway.
I picked this college for two reasons only- 1) intuition and 2) the campus. Some may argue that there are many more factors I should’ve considered, and they’re probably right, but to everyone who told me that I shouldn’t go to Xavier’s because it’s not a “science college” or because the attendance is too strict, I’m so glad I didn’t listen to any of you. Sure the college has its flaws (*major* flaws) and sure, they treat science students like second class citizens sometimes (not an exaggeration), but the experience I’ve had here (short as it may have been) has been unique and unforgettable, and I don’t regret a second of it.
Turns out, it gave me roots and wings after all.