Winter break

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“SLEEP!”

After all the nights when sleep was ignored in pursuit of more pressing matters like assignments that were due two hours ago and 3am walks with friends, something a lot of first-years are looking forward to in their winter break is sleep. Sleeping without being woken by your neighbour’s alarm, without having an 8:30 am class, without setting your alarm to ring in three hours, seem like distant dreams until the vacations begin.

Vying for the first place with sleep is food. After months of dal and dal and dal, with the rare paneer and chicken making their way into the mess, a lot of people have begun to crave home food. Despite there being a decent variety of Indian cuisines on campus, there is nothing as good as an idli from Chennai or a vada pav from Mumbai.

Many of the first-years who are going back home are excited to return, if only to catch a break from the endless stream of assignments and deadlines. The comfort of home and family is also something many are looking forward to. For those who are looking at the winter break as an opportunity to relax and get fresh for the next whirlwind of a semester, the vacation plan is to enjoy all the leisure they did not get when there was a pressing workload. Some of the ways they have found to relax and have fun are golfing, video-gaming, netflix-ing, and going to different places in their home-city.

There are multiple other things some people are planning on doing alongside unwinding from the first semester. Aditi Mishra, for one, will not only be reading novels but also different books in order to prepare for her psychology major. Bhavya Khare will be spending her time working at an internship and eating as much cake as she can. Deepraj Pandey will be go-karting for the first time and catching up with friends, while also prepping for his hackathon and being part of organising a startup summit. There are multiple others who are also planning on interning at different organizations and reading up on books for their next semester, in an attempt to gear up for college and what comes ahead.

There is no lack of wanderlust among first-year Ashokans. The month long winter break presents a wonderful opportunity for travel and exploration. Aditya Burra, for one, will be taking a solo trip to Bombay, Chennai and Pondicherry to discover new places and meet new people with the kind of freedom only travelling alone grants you. Vandita Bajaj is planning on backpacking with a friend. There are multiple other places that first-years are planning to go to, not only to explore but also to spend time with family and friends. These include Amsterdam, Goa and Hong Kong, among others.

However, not all first-years are leaving the campus for all of the vacation. Some international students who might be staying back are thinking of going on a road trip in the break. Other plans include interning, and taking the time to be with oneself and plan the road ahead.

“Will you miss Ashoka?” When this question was posed to the students leaving for the winter, an array of responses was given. For some, the answer was crystal clear and they replied with a confident “Of course!”. After having grown used to cycling in the middle of the night, sitting at the Dhaba with a cup of chai, rushing to shower before the hot water runs out and listening to music on the sunny lawns, the idea of being away from it all for a month seems strange. On being asked what they will miss the most, first years replied with

“The people!” “The clubs!”

“The freedom!”

Himadri Agarwal said, and she probably accurately sums it up for many people, “I didn’t realise I’d be feeling so attached to Ashoka this soon.” However, this is not the feeling of some others who would like a break from the campus to get away from the sometimes-suffocating nature of it. There are those who think they will miss their friends but probably not the place. There are also those who believe that they will not miss Ashoka in the beginning, but will yearn to return as time goes by.

Overall, among the students who are going off-campus, there are mixed feelings regarding the winter break, regarding the idea of leaving Ashoka for so long for the first time. Only January 22nd will tell what winter break actually did for the first-years, and until then, all that they can do is hope not to run out of coffee in the finals week, and plan for the exciting month ahead.

Edited by Nayanika Guha

All images are curated by Sanjna Misra.