2 pm, Goosh, Mom and Dad come downstairs to see me off. Suitcase in hand. Goosh was super excited. I think he thought we were all going out. Then he saw me get into this auto and go off. ALONE. Without him. A confused, lost expression on his face. Ooh, I’ll never forget that look. I had tears in my eyes. And the auto-wala giving me quizzical looks.
5 pm: Head from office straight to IIM.
6 pm: Get off at the main gate. Walk right into a time warp.
I walked in about 15 steps and felt like I was transported back in time. To 1996. I stopped, parked my suitcase on the roadside and called up Mom.
July, 1996, on a day just like this..they dropped me off at IITB. I remember that day so clearly. It was raining cats and dogs. The way it does only in Bombay. The got an auto after much ado and drove off into the rain at around 5pm to catch a 7pm train .. which is cutting it quite close by bombay standards.
I walk into IIMB.. and I feel I’m back at IITB.
Uncanny resemblance. The clean wide roads. Paved with the same kinda trees. All wet from the recent shower. Those same small teeny leaves covering the road, sticking to my chappals. The smell of wet earth, wet leaves attacking my nostrils. The clean cool air swirling all around, engulfing me.
And I kept walking. Like a little girl coming back home. Thrilled. Nostalgic. Unbelieving.
Just so thrilled. That I kept walking. Randomly. Forgetting all instructions about where / how I was supposed to go. Just kept walking randomly, dragging my suitcase behind me. Soaking in the air. The trees. The open sky. The fresh rain. The green. The brown.
And oohed and aahed and sighed in my heart.
Jeans and chappals. Backpack.Walking. And more walking. Just like it was all those years ago. 14 yrs ago.
And it seemed so unreal. Like those 14 long yrs in between just werent. I had to keep reminding myself, that I’m 31 now. A mom, a wife. And so much else. But the little girl in me, was just jumping with joy. She had found herself again. Free atlast!! From the shackles the ‘real world’ had imposed. From herself.
I’m sounding cuckoo arent I.
Just cant tell you how wonderful it feels to be on campus. How much I miss IITB campus. How I miss the open skies. The green trees. The wind in my hair. The rain in my face.
How far and distant I’ve become from the girl I used to be. So disconnected. So discontent.
I miss the ‘me’ I used to be, back then.
That apart.. there’s something to be said about places like these. I dont know how or why these 2 places are so similar.
But the 1 hour I spent walking up to the hostel here at IIMB.. was more refreshing, more nourishing, more soul satisfying than any resort or holiday I’ve been on. No kidding. I called up HD and told him – we’re having our next vacation right here!
In that 1 hour, all the madness of the past few months. The chaos in my life. The exhaustion. Was all washed away. Like I was once again, 18.
I sooo want Goosh and HD to be here. And my parents too. Maybe they would understand what I mean. IITB in 1996. IIMB in 2010. Damn. When did all those years go by!?!?!?!
I remember it so clearly.
The countless hours spent just walking. By the lake. On the hills. The hours spent sitting on MB terrace. Doing nothing. Just staring out into space. Walking in the rain. Barefoot. No umbrella. Soaked. And enjoying it. Walking by the lake, post mid-night, torch in hand – hoping to catch a glimpse of the leopard. Trekking. Skating. Karate class. Sleeping thru regular class. For most of the 5 yrs there. Sneaking up on audi’s terrace, the night before an exam, to watch a ‘leonid shower‘. Queuing up at the MB phone booth, after 10 pm, coz the STD rates were 1/4th. The glasses of GKR after each trek. Monginis, Vadilal’s and those Maggi bondas.
Those are the things I remember from the college days. Not any course. Not assignments. Not grades.
And I’m rambling.
Suffice it to say, that I’m in love with this campus. In just the 1 hour of daylight that I was here. And I wish Goosh & HD were here too.
So tomorrow morning, first thing, I’m gonna find out how I can get a guest house / room booking and bring them in.
Or find out how to become a prof here so that I can live on campus forever! 😉