A Head Full of Dreams
Anonymous | Dec 12, 2016
NIT Rourkela - an institute that has been at the helm of its kind, year in, year out; an institute that has ignited many minds and no doubt will continue doing so; the old fables, the instituted belief of paving the way for younger generations, the people, the food, the buildings - the charms the old ones mouth and the novelty the new ones vent; everything about this institution remains nostalgic with many decades. That is why, even after a year has gone by, I still obsess over the campus often pestering my friends to take a trip down its lanes.
However, in the light of new things not happening around my vicinity, my mind has been yearning for a different perspective.
I belong to Homi Bhabha Hall of Residence which is unquestionably the one hall of residence with an exceptionally unsavoury reputation preceding it in every way possible. The facilities are well known to be despicable and repeated surveys seem to have been an evidence for that matter even though, in reality, having managed to accomplish very little. That aside, what really bothers me about this hall is the grave underlying fact that every one of us here looks enervated. Dull. Every day feels the same. Every week feels the same. It’s like we are part of a constant never ending loop apart from the times when the humdrum of exams or placement pressure roars loud. But, that too, has become a routine for most of us. Someone has caged us into a drab grey box, indeed.
I flash back to my childhood days and can easily remember the Glucon D commercials where the sun was shown to be sucking the energy out of people’s lives with an imaginary straw, bearing a devilish smirk in its poorly animated face, and how Glucose helped us rejuvenate from that. Though now I suppose even glucose no longer possesses the ability to instil exhilaration into the dull, routine-oriented and hackneyed lives such as ours.
Is this something that is plaguing only my hall of residence? I don’t think so.
The other day, I was going back to my hostel in the afternoon happily hogging over the lab class that had just gotten suspended. I saw the security guard by the entry gate to my Hall premises deeply rapt in something. When I got closer, I saw that he was solving numerical problems from a book named “DET (Diploma Engineering Test) Entrance Guide”. I Smiled and contemplated about the rather trite notion that a security personnel feels the need to do a diploma especially when he is in his mid-20s. But that thought did not hold me for long. Nor was it able to save me from reflexively opening Facebook having reached my room. Most of us have a very close knitted relationship with Facebook indeed; Check-ins, status updates, opinions, counter opinions, virtual fights, and abuses; we have walls to be climbed and browsed, hashtags to be fed, timelines to be stalked, and so much more.
In the evening, the same day, I was going out and I saw him right where I had last seen him, doing exactly what I had last seen him doing. And I saw him studying the next day, and the next day, and the next day and been seeing him ever since, sitting on his peaceful chair, solving numerical problems with a confident stride in his pen which knows its master will have no future without it, and all the while covering his duty for the afternoon shift side by side. For the first few days that I saw him, I used to think about it a little bit longer than the last time, up until to the day when my chest, upon seeing him, got all puffed up with pride.
I befriended him. Not much, but just enough for me to be able to ask, “Bhaina, kana padhucha?!” (Brother, what are you reading?) every time I pass by. He grins, humbly nods and answers “Trigonometric Identities. Quadratic equations. Compound Interest”. Like a nerdy kid who doesn’t like to be bothered when he is just about to solve a problem. One day, while my friend was studying, the caretaker of the Hall parked in front of the gate and was about to come in, I won’t forget the urgent James Bond style in which he smuggled back the books into his bag and sat there with a sturdy look glued to his face. How ironic! I went back to all those times when I used to open up my books whenever Maa came into my room.
I feel a life ballooning inside me every time I see him. No wonder every time I pass through the entry gate, I wish for him to be there. And every time he is there, it lifts my spirit up just a little bit more. A young security guard with a future so uncertain. And he was determined to change that. Problems sprout out routinely throughout his life, threatening to derail his hopes, but our man smiles and fights them with dignity and grace.
And yes! I do feel rejuvenated now.