Summer evenings…..one of the most inscrutable and mysterious things of my college life here in IIT Kanpur.
The pace of life here is quite fast, maybe not as much as may seem outside, but still we’ve got plenty of things to do, including studies and other ritualistic activities, supposed to be done in college (many won’t agree with me, i think they are right to a certain extent, but then again, everything works differently with different people). In such cases many desires, or modes of living, which are incompatible with the way of life here, get stunted when faced with reality.
One of my desires or mode of living is desire for a secluded, lonely, easy life, dedicated to one’s passion and interest (which is nothing to brag about actually, it’s more of a Victorian attitude of listless intelligentsia 😉 ). But of course, in such a competitive and bustling environment, filled with academic pressure, opportunity hunting, projects, thesis, internships, recommendation, job and higher studies preparation, such a thing is something only to dream about, especially when you are confused and floundered by the vast amount of opportunities and interests constantly colliding with each other, unable to decide a course of action and stick to it, which very much happens to be my case.
But still, interestingly, i’ve had my moments of such life, in my completely haywire and roller-coaster (not a good one) ride of a life here. Three years have passed. First i’ve had a taste of such life in my first year summer vacations, when i chose to stay here for database course. I had picked up one of the most unlike-me reasons to stay here, as i was soon to discover, only to stay here and enjoy the freedom from parents-determined restricted life at home and 24 hours free internet here. My stay was a disaster. I barely attended 4 classes in first 15 days, relentlessly occupying myself in surfing, listening to songs, getting up late, staying cooped up in my bed, half-sleepy, throughout the day. As my 2nd semester’s result came at around last week of May, which was a bigger disaster, i was crumbling by weight of self-contradicting tendencies and desires, and a direction-less life going on autopilot. I came back home, leaving the course in between, which i would have failed anyway if i had stayed back.
My second summer, after the end of my 2nd year, was a quite pleasant one, and was a near-perfect experience of life i desired. This, i say, is regardless of the fruits that summer bore for me, for which i had to pay, and am paying dearly, for many years to come. Two months, complete seclusion, no active intereference. It was heaven, marred only by my inefficient way of enjoying my solitude. The time i had spent in campus that summer, i described in my diary as probably the best time of my college life. That summer, i listened to countless new artists, made new favorites, and basically a whole new era started in terms of music for me. Literature-wise, i didn’t break much of a new ground, as i already referred due to my inefficient time management. But the thing i’ll always remember that time for, is the time i spent with nature, with my friend Aditya, evening walks, nightouts of roof stargazing, and at a later stage, nighttime discussions with Sourav Poddar. I spent a hell lot of time, with the two of these guys, talking and lying and stargazing on my block’s roof, lazying up in cool breeze of summer nights. Days went by inconspicuously, as i remained glued to my laptop, immersed in the depths of music history and wikipedia. Summer evenings were always special for me, when the stupor of day became unbearable and i had to go out of my room, to Aditya’s hostel, roaming in the campus, at MT. That stupor provokes some kind of mental suffocation where, coming out in the open air, you breathe in full gasps, letting loose mental horses, and a torrent of thoughts suddenly come pouring out in your mind, with such suddenness that you are knocked out-cold with it, unable to register each thought separately (i’ve never been able a good accountant of my thoughts anyways :D). This subtle aspect differentiates summer nights and summer evenings. Summer nights are spent leisurely chilling out on roof after wasting copious amounts of time on chatting or doing banal stuff on laptop. On the other hand, summer evenings are a desperate escape from the stuffy swelter of day, and noontime information huntings on wikipedia or novels. It’s like a computer heating up after intensive work in a hot room. Information overload. Our campus too is quite beautiful for such idle wandering on clear summer evenings.
My second summer was the longest time i have spent this way. But it wasn’ as secluded. Not that it was a bad thing, though. I had my friends, Aditya, Sourav, Atul there with me. On the other hand, the next two periods i’ve spent here are perfect both in terms of solitude and the other aspects i’ve described above. First of them was when i had to abruptly return to campus in December last year. Now, strictly it wasn’t summer, but all the characteristics are exactly as i would have desired them in such a case. The most awesome thing about it was the utter solitude i got. It was one of the most beautiful days, in terms of natural beauty. Utter solitude, not a single living being’s presence for hours, let alone human. I would keep reading Crime and Punishment, scooped up in my bed like a patient(for sure it was having a similar effect on my mind), for hours on, until i couldn’t take the intensity of it anymore, and i would go out, watching the beautiful stillness of night, the fog floating in front of my eyes, and i was transported to completely another world, where i was the only living creature around. It was what i would like my heaven to be. Perfectly beautiful. That was the perfect solitude for me, and i enjoyed every moment of it.
And lastly, here we arrive at this summer of ’11. It has been only 5 days after exams. But it’s all over the same again. My internship starts from 16th May and i am supposed to run back home as soon as i can, but i just don’t feel like it :D. Day after day, i keep extending my stay here, postponing going to gwalior (not that i hate going there). Here in the solitude of my thoughts, i create a world of my own, full of million colors, music, literature, archival huntings, summer evenings. On my way to canteen et al, i stop suddenly, in the middle of the stairs, transfixed by the beauty of afternoon sun, still hanging a safe distance above horizon, jolly yellow, and the intense lucidity of the landscape. You can cleary see each shade of every color of every single object. As i hung on the banister, face up to the sun letting its heat warm my skin, a queer question was coming in my mind: ‘Have you ever smelled warm air?’ It smells so good. This feeling is indescribable. I guess i have a strange connection with nature which alters my perception of it from the normal one. Strange and a very strong connection. I smell sunlight, drink the colors off the grass with my eyes. There’s just one problem. Whenever i go out in the evening, i get a very strong urge to talk to someone, the solitude get very pronounced and asserts itself in the form of loneliness. But i know it’s much more than that. It’s a need, an urge to let all the weird perceptions and torrent of thoughts out to someone. But the only problem is, i don’t know how to translate it all from my language to theirs.
Morning and evening, they were the first beautiful mysteries of this world i encountered, and i still don’t get tired of exploring them. Over the years, my contact with morning has diminished quite a bit, owing to lifestyle problems, but it has remained intact with evening. I guess even if it takes my whole life, i’ll not be able to fathom the full depth of their beauty.
And summer evenings, remain as beautiful as they were three years ago when i came here, without a single change, defying the sacred law of change……