Something has been growing heavy on my mind for a long time now. It started in the first year at university. Every subsequent year has incrementally added to the impression. Now, I am almost certain. Certain that this is probably true. And there is nothing I can invent to refute it. Of course the context is specific to college years, and below, in descending order of numbers and ascending strength. It’s been my experience that whenever someone, a new person, comes into contact with a certain group of people, the experience has a certain bitterness. Bitter is a very particular word, but for want of substitutes, it will do. I don’t know where this stems from, or if at all it’s something that comes from either one side or the other. There is something almost automatic about it – sui generis. The new person enters a group sitting around and talking at a table in the café, or a party, and intuitively tries to fall in with the conversation, or the atmosphere. He or she tries to say something prefatory. Something relating to the talk at the table. He or she sits down, speaks to others, or maybe not. But ultimately, a few people secede and make some clandestine remarks and gestures. A grimace sometimes, sometimes a look of annoyance, frowning eyebrows et al. The littlest unfamiliar gesture, the littlest idiosyncrasy enervates those two. They feel beleaguered by this addition to their sitting party. It’s an added egg in an overladen nest, and they skip off to bitch on a separate bough. I’ve felt the same about certain people. Unconsciously even. A girl particularly with her gesticulation and twanging tone never fails to make me grimace. Outside the café. A word or two snidely to our common friend, and I’m off. It’s enervating, no doubt. But why the restlessness? Why the unspoken acrimony? And more often than not, it doesn’t even need a good enough reason (which is not to say, of course, that my disliking this girl for her twanging South Delhi tone is reasonable). Some people, particularly girls, most from the second year (I presume), have this deliberate, and tedious, look on their faces when someone else traipses along to sit next to them at the dhaba tree. It’s fallacious. Worse off, I’ve begun to do the same thing when unwarranted, people come to park their seats at the same spot. We’re getting worse than the territorial pye dogs on campus. Who knows? – tomorrow, we could barking viciously at each other, too. I thought that maturity would inevitably come to me in college. I would be spontaneous and my behaviour would be unhindered. But this is a den of intensified aberrations of insecurity, a den of mutual hostility, a forever pungent air – a tenuous thread that easily snaps – and snapping, scathing, razor-sharp, embittered scissors abound.