Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Year Gone

I think that it is at times like these that we really begin to think about the ways of our fellow human beings. Another year is another start to everything all over again. Which is the common conception. But sometimes, it is not quite as simple as that. One might want to start all over again. He might want to resume things exactly from their original yester-state. He might even want to renounce all of it altogether and go and find something entirely new and extraordinary.

But newcomers, nonetheless in a school or college, always bring with them a breath of freshness and a hint of unexplored change.

The only unfortunate thing being that the feeling barely lasts.

It is maybe wrong to say that people can’t change from the ways that they are used to, from what might be considered an ‘older’ you to a freshly conceived ‘new’ self, but there is a need for transparency in the whole change. I mean, there have to be mirrors up there reflecting every bit of the transmogrification. There should be ledgers listing out the distinctions. There should be people complementing you on the newly manufactured self. All these testify to the usefulness and the accomplishment of change. But if you really think about it, these are impossible to have. You can’t really put mirrors up in every street corner you enter, every corridor you pass. You can’t really update the ledger on daily changes. Changes, when they occur, and if they do occur, tend to be very imperceptible to the common observing eye. You can’t really expect those around you to notice all the new-ness of the wonderful things you have done with yourself, because they would be busy trying to rectify their own old ways, and manufacturing new ones. So everyone is constantly busy with all this new business, and you can’t really hope to make much of yourself in the new crowd. Of course, occasionally, you will get the impression that you are doing an incredible job in the change department, but such fleeting, ephemeral ideas will really put you on a wild goose chase looking for compliments.

Not that compliments are unwarranted either. Some people flock together and form lovely little cohorts of change. Their whole being and their entire agenda is directed at the achievement of a new look. This is sometimes a useful thing, as more often than not, the old one really did annoy you a lot in the last year. They eat at new places. They talk to new people. They talk in new ways. They dress differently, some for the better and some to look unintentionally more obnoxious than before. They think of new things to say and do whilst in class. All this affects however a minority of the populace. The rest simply go on doing the same old things with a zest for change, but with every evidence of behaving to the contrary.

The slightly mystifying thing about the conscientious ‘changed’ is that they do in the beginning manage a very good impression of their newly-acquired ways. They seem willing to display them, eager to improve on them, and hell bent on discussing them amongst themselves. But casually, and almost unknowingly, nothing ever really changes. All the wonderful things that their fellow classmates and the like are introduced to suddenly vaporize, leaving them shorn of all the old and embarrassed of the vestiges of the newly put-on. Some people call it a fa├žade. But I don’t think they should trivialize the seriousness of change by calling it that.

The best thing about all of this is that eventually, you are always allowed to come back to where you started and start being yourself, or maybe an amalgam of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ self, without the slightest hesitation. That however takes a while. From my vantage point right now, a lot of the old and ridiculous are intersecting and clashing in the middle of this tepid time, causing not any little inconvenience to the college. But that, and this is another topic altogether, is the mark of an institution on its way to the mrityu ghat.

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