It is in moments you’re drowned in nostalgia that you really estimate the value of cameras: the closest human beings have come to turning back time. For me, this thought hits hardest when I’m recalling my time at college, inarguably the most exciting years of my life. Living as an in-betweener, simultaneously hanging by the loose threads of the fading teens and grabbing onto the shiny strings of adulthood. Years of uncaring bliss (the Purani Jeans kind), new experiences, always waiting on a big, impulsive adventure to pop up around the next corner.
When these memories come flooding, I need only look into my camera roll. I am transported to a time that is now long in the past, but as vivid as if it were only yesterday that I was sprawled out on the sunny lawns during lecture hours with friends. And friends, oh, the friends! One never finds friends again as they do in college, for they have travelled through life’s most momentous checkpoints with you. Some may still be best friends, some may have lost touch, some may have gone down different roads: but no matter, we know they did and always will occupy special spaces in our lives.
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Missing College Days: A Pandemic Without A Vaccine
Tahira Kashyap, author and wife of actor Ayushmann Khurrana, too recently impressed upon this nostalgia with a blast from the past on social media. With an old picture of herself, Khurrana, and journalist Manisha Pande from college, Kashyap recalled the days of “red eyes, CD’s, collarbones, self stylised fringes ( called flicks back then), never ending giggles and constant butterflies in the stomach!”
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Kashyap and Khurrana’s love story as childhood sweethearts dating back to their school years is widely known. And their candy-pink love doesn’t seem to have aged a bit in over 20 years of togetherness. The couple’s camaraderie on social media is still reflective of old-school, unadulterated young romance. Khurrana – with ever the persona of the college-going youth that he has always embodied for some reason – too shared the same college picture and wrote, “Circa 2003. College days. Sigh. Was such a dork.”
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Years In College: Never Before, Never After
For a long time, when I was asked what I wanted to be in life, I would simply say “student.” And I loved being cocooned within the gates of college so much that I did it twice (no, I didn’t fail, I pursued a postgraduate diploma after graduation). If given the chance, I would do it a third time in a heartbeat. Contrary to the popular preference of college-goers, I quite appreciated my hours in class too, as much as I valued lounging listlessly with friends on street corners.
There is just so much discourse, intellect, and experience floating around in classes that it becomes hard to avoid soaking yourself in it. A balancing act may sound like a dorky idea to the raving party animal. But if there’s one thing that my stint at two colleges has taught me, it’s that there is no time like your college years to really grow into a citizen of the world. The multitude of contrasting cultures that exist within college spaces at one given time is brilliant and not like anything you’ll ever encounter again in life.
College is an ethereal dreamtime, sandwiched between years of endless grinding with homework first, and then office-work. And even though it won’t be romantic all the time, and there may be existential frustrations, identity crises, and heartbreaks along this road of confused youth, you will realise they were but tiny bumpers in your journey that have made you the person you are today. Because when college becomes past memory, those old photographs and wistful smiles will carry you for all time to come.
Views expressed are the author’s own.