Feels Like I’m Back at Ashoka…

Edited by - Pragyna Divakar

 

The plastic card with my picture and reference ID on its face sighed with relief upon becoming functional yet again. How? It got its job back which was to validate the fact that the person entering the Ashoka campus, after a month’s break, was me and no one else. Likewise, a step into the campus transformed me into a productive individual once again. We both weren’t jobless anymore. The announcement I made authoritatively a month back at home, “I am here to eat and sleep!” changed a bit upon returning back to “I am here to eat and sleep IF I get the time to do so.” Yes, without an exclamation mark this time.

             

             

   Besides the feelings of responsibility, punctuality, and slight uncertainty mixed with excitement, there were certain things that helped me familiarize myself with the place once again. As soon as I entered the campus, a disc flying from one end to the oher in the fields made me realize that I was no more in an ignorant place where the frisbee was nothing but a means to keep the naughtiest and the least athletic kid engaged. Frisbee is indeed a tough sport here!

 

As I gazed at the skies above, I felt my phone beep several times. Unsurprisingly,  they were all emails calling out to me from different corners of the campus, some trying to drag me into an interview for Banjaara, some calling out for Ubuntu, some for a literary meet, but definitely no Shaadi.com, Naukri. com, Kundli.com which knew my life and status more than I did. Making my way through the flashy emails, I happened upon the “Dining Menu” for the week. More than a menu, I consider it a guard against the cold winds as the tabulated food items it contains define my desire to step out towards the mess or rest in the warmth, satisfying myself with my old companion — Maggi noodles. Yes, no more of a self-decided menu than back at home.

          It takes time to sink into the atmosphere of a place after not being in association with it for some time. At times, you have sleepless nights. But luckily, the national highway around Ashoka makes it a point to entertain you in the midst of those long nights with the loaded trucks which honk “Dhoom Machale” or “Naagin”. Or if not that, the abrupt fire alarms which go off whenever and however they wish to, without any initiation, provide further entertainment. After surviving through the nights, the first mornings offer you new beginnings, puffy wallets, and a fully-equipped stationery kit. The fascinating thing is that all of the three change drastically without one realizing it, especially the obvious yet shocking deflation of the last two. Blame the food outlets! Nevermind, let’s move on. As one perseveres through the first week, the second week brings forth realizations on the accuracy of course choices once the readings start pouring in. The savior in such situations is none else but the generous OAA (Office of Academic Affairs).

 

                                     

 

         Experiences like these bring back the sense of familiarity required to adjust to the ‘home away from home’. If not these, then the typical Ashokan phrases like, ‘It’s a construct’, ‘I have FOMO’, ‘That’s a legitimate question’, ‘Legit Dude’, will always be in the air to remind you that you are back at Ashoka.