Yesterday we graduated in orange robes. I felt even less young. Three and a half years jostled in my mind-I did not know which memory to select, I only had this overwhelming urge to cry. But instead we laughed, we laughed and smiled and posed for pictures. It was a beautiful day.
I hoped that some of my old friends whom I still love very much would forget differences for a day and come and well, talk. I wanted the old times, my heart and head throbbed with the old times. I remembered the first few months and then the friends I made, and I remembered that awful crush that I had and how even that faded, and how everything fades. I remembered the ganja and the smokes and how someone or the other always sings in front of Milonda's. Instead of crying, I laughed and posed for pictures.
I remembered how childish we were in those days. How Prayag completed Kubla Khan. How Nandita impressed me with her khistifying/bartending/writing skills. How Raju could decimate people with a few words, and love them with a hug. How Howlie baked cake and called a spade a spade and never inhaled a Classic. How Sreemoyee slapped my bum. How Suki called her boyfriend her baby. (And how Bandy was always dandy :P)How Sanjukta forgave me despite me not returning her french khata for days, and how awed I felt when she zoomed around in her "big cars." When she broke up, it became "big car"... :P Sion's red shirt, and Diyasreedi's li'l jaunts and Satra's amazing bari and string of ahem, well nevermind. And this and that and this and mostly...well now the important part...
Yesterday I received a medal which maybe I didn't even really deserve. This medal business is always dicey to begin with, and my friends-Nandita and Prayag-could easily have received it as well, and really, it didn't make much of a difference at all. My parents came in the morning and they were in a bit of a hurry and they went away after this, without even waiting to meet me and/or take a picture. I guess it didn't strike them that I have grown up and do not feel ashamed to meet my parents in the educational institute I study in. Anyway so they left, and I waited and waited to receive the degree scroll. We queued up in line. It was the fag end of the afternoon, who would even clap for us? So we decided to cheer ourselves. The entire class.
Amlanda, our beloved Head, came to call out our names. My name was announced. There was a cheer. OK, a resounding cheer. I was so amazed that I almost fell off the dias. Tears welled up in my eyes but of course, well, I laughed. Then Nandita's name was announced. I hadn't even left the stage yet but I turned around and started clapping. Amlanda gave me the closest thing to a glare and I hurriedly left the stage.
Then the fun began. We cheered as every name was announced, and it was the happiest moment of my life. We realized vaguely how significant it was for each of us-the closing of a decisive chapter in our lives. We respected that, we loved the memories we shared (even if those memories could never be relived again)... and every person received a standing ovation. Especially our football hero, Reuben. (Go Manchester United!) No other department had expected this, and by gad, everyone was surprised, and Amlanda laughingly asked us to chup!
We poured outside for the group photos. But I sneaked in to relive a little portion of my memories. N.D. was receiving his degree scroll. I missed quite a few of the group photos as a result. I remembered how we started going out after knowing each other for a week or so. It was a bit absurd, we must have been really desperate. We were nothing alike; he would spout philosophy like a most boring old man, and I would listen open-mouthed. And his sense of humour was non-existent while I thought I had a sense of humour. (I don't, I am terribly inane.) Nilanjan Das was rumoured to be sattvik and I was enamoured of him. I was ready to renounce mod, maagee and mangsho for him- but alas, I later discovered the fraud liked all three. :P Especially alcohol, which he strongly condemned. How much older and long-suffering you looked yesterday Baudolino. It was so strange to think: two years. I am proud of your many accomplishments. I know you will succeed in every philosophical pie that you put your finger in. It is one thing to command respect and awe, but isn't it a greater thing to command love?
I should not have given up poetry. This was my mistake. I must write, I am not an obscene machine. Yesterday as I felt the cold winter sun and the palpable love, as I looked for some people who eluded me and with whom I desperately wanted to take a few pictures, as N.D. and I stared unconvincingly into each other's eyes for Bandy's camera, I felt that I was neither penseur nor poser. I had become a posy in my own life, a wilting posy. I need control and decisiveness, and I think I need love, but you can't command love, can you? My parents would obviously clap for me, but when I heard the cheers and when I received the hugs and claps and whistles when we stood there-friends and non-friends - I realized that I am wrong.
Human attachment is far more complex, beautiful and spontaneous than one can ever possibly realize.