I remember the first time I was in IIT. It’s ironically the only time I was involved in their grand fest Rendezvous. It strikes me just know as I’m typing and thinking about it, he keeps telling me about him being the coordinator of the event. It was the same year that I was there for the very first time. A music competition. We made a fool of ourselves. Of course didn’t win anything. That was also the first time someone (a college senior) said it’s strange you are single! I blushed. No one else had thought so! Or they would have said. I did not own boyfriend/s then. Just out of school.
It was the first time I was in their auditorium. The one in the reception hall. It was a dark hall. Lit with style and air conditioned. It was a bright breezy day outside. To think of it IIT is mostly bright and breezy. Even on the dullest days. Or are those the memory? Bright and breezy memories… with him. Not one dull moment. There was so much time when we would just sit silent! Quiet. Hush. But the world went on with its buzzing sound. Everyone talking, walking, laughing, the leaves, the planes, the doors, the water induction machine, the wind, the sound of so many things. Every sound individually startling you because you never realized it’s existence! The rickshaws, the cars, the bikes, the cycles, sipping coffee, coke bottle opening. And amid all the noise we sat quiet. Just listening. Not one dull moment.
I remember I reached there with a few other people in someone’s car (a maruti 800). We were picked up from the college. Shruti’s dad was a prof, she lived there. She was such a showoff like she owned the place. We got out of the car in front of the institute building’s entrance. The notice board was what I saw first. It was a cool morning. I was awed. The place was clean and beautiful. It was green and quiet. From the rest of Delhi. There were fat shy looking boys passing by. I formed my stereotype. Owww… toppers! Nerd? Boring K but awe there was. How can you walk into IIT and not feel low about yourself if you were born and brought up in India by Indian parent and the Indian Media? But I had come to sing. I took it rather seriously then. Till that day I mean. I hadn’t realized that day was so important! I didn’t know so many things happened. Changed, altered! I didn’t know then that that day would form and shape my life so unknowingly, so much!
I remember leaving that place. It was vast and I was lost. It was straight road. I wasn’t lost. I was tired. Just wanted to know I was walking the right way. It was hot, walking under the sun for so long. I had never been somewhere which belonged so much to the students! To young people. I have often heard me being interrupted when I say that. I don’t know the education system there. I’m sure I don’t want to. But the place in isolation. Just its physicality. Belonged to something familiar. Which was not challenging. Not questioning. Not admonishing. Just a peer. A friendly peer who would be more than glad to guide you in case you don’t recognize the roads.
I didn’t go back there for a long time. And then it became home.