Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Into The 'Real' World...

(6th month of the year 2003)
The BE final semester exams were over a few days ago. COEP had a deserted look compared to the bustle during the exams. However the final year students still came at times in order to finish pending work related to their projects or at times for their final project presentation. The 500 odd students of the 2003 batch were suddenly out of college. During the four years they spent there few thought about how they would feel once this life was over, and now that it was, few knew what to think, or even feel. It was again one of those transitional phases in life. When one is forced to move out of ones comfort zone and re-learn to live.
These were some of the myriad thoughts that went through my mind as I waited for my project partners to arrive. It was the day of our final presentation. A few days earlier we had given a demonstration of the project, and that had almost been a major fiasco due to no fault of ours. It worked out at the last minute as was often the case in engineering and we got through. Were we lucky that we scraped through or were we unlucky to get into the stupid situation in the first place? One of those questions whose answer always will elude me. Anyway, that is a discussion left for another day.
The project presentation went quite well. At the end of it the external examiner was peacefully snoring, our guide looked mystified while we were just relieved that it was finally over. We packed our stuff and left. Once I reached home it hit. I was out of college. I was an engineer. And I was to leave home for my first job in two days. Two days, that’s all I got to get ready and step into another world. Little was I to know that this was a precursor of things to come. Ironically the day I was to leave was my birthday. So once again it heralded the beginning of a new life. And as our group assembled at my house I looked on, and wondered. Would we ever sit the same way again? Would we ever chat away without a care in the world? Would we see this whole group together ever again? To this day the answer remains in the negative. But we dint know that then. All we knew was that each one of us was heading out to new lands, across the length and breadth of the country. With promises to keep in touch we parted. That was the last birthday I celebrated. And that was the first day of my new life.
I made my final preparations and set off that afternoon with my parents. As the train slowly pulled out of the platform I quietly looked out of the window, soaking in the sight of the city which had been my home for nearly 22 years. Each message on my cell phone made me painfully aware that there was no looking back. The train, immune to such emotions, went nonchalantly over the tracks it knew so well. The monsoons had arrived and the Western Ghats were adorned with lush green foliage. I dint know green had such a wide variety of shades. As I looked into the misty valleys it brought back childhood memories of the times when I wondered what lay in those uninhabited valleys. And then imagination took over and conjured up a plethora of possibilities, each more ingenious and exciting than the previous. "Beep beep"… I was brought out of my reverie by the all so familiar message tone of my Nokia. Another of my friends was wishing me good luck. Yeah, I needed that.
It was late evening when the train pulled into one of the busiest stations of the commercial capital of India, Dadar Junction, Mumbai. As I looked at the teeming masses rushing past me I realized I was there, in India’s city of dreams; into the real world.


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