Monday, March 19, 2007

The day the Earth (and my campus) stood still

Time. Always slipping away. A moment here, next there, and then gone.

The academic rigors here comprise more of time pressure than peer pressure, in my opinion. The crescendo is built up in the first term and continues unabated into the second term. But, come third term, things have started to slacken a bit. Maybe we got used to "the system" or "the system" had used enough of us. :D

This weekend (March 16th to 18th) was a true 60 hours stretch of passivity. Thats a rare treat coming the way of first year-ites. I had virtually forgotten that I have ever lived through such weekends. After catching "300" in theater on Friday, the following two days were dedicated to snuggling into my bed. To keep my metabolism running, I would take brief breaks of 30 to 60 min., gulp some food supplies down my throat, take a leak, and sprawl back under the covers.

By Sunday evening, I was feeling terribly groggy. There were indistinguishable white streaks in front of my eyes and a buzzing sound playing in my head. I decided to take a stroll around the campus to feel my muscles. The scene was of a spooky silence. The campus, which is usually thumping and rocking at the late evening hours, had a dull and dark fortitude about it. Perhaps, it was an insignia of the sentiments displayed by second year-ites as they left the campus after two gritty years of life spent inside these huge concrete slabbed walls. The usual lovers of hard rock were all gone and no blaring sounds were coming from their balconies. The first-years, too, had decided to hibernate on this particular weekend. Some had afforded to visit Bangalore for attending Iron Maiden concert while others had taken up bike trips to places around Ahmedabad.

I lied down on one of the circles. The circle is an integral part of the architectural geometry here. In the New Campus, dorms have circles made into the walls next to the entrance. These circles must be 4 feet in diameter and provide a concrete hammock of sorts at their base. I stretched myself like a chord on this circle. The fast paced last 9 months soon started flashing in my mind. The greatest change which I realized had occurred in me was to get into a habit of being busy.

For the majority part of undergrad life and non-working hours of work life, there had never been an overbearing feeling of time getting wasted. In fact, wasting time in glib talks probably is the strongest element in the collective memory of all undergrad students. There was always enough time for extended walks down the lanes, gyan sessions on the stadium benches and even religious discourse of sorts at the temple inside the institute boundaries. Even for the three years in job, just lying around the house on a weekend was the accepted practice (save for catching a movie at the nearby multiplex).

All this has changed. The continuous pressure of deadlines and forthcoming schedules maintains an urgency at the sub-conscious level. The sudden void which occurred this weekend was thus strange. I had an uneasy feeling of a need to "do something". Except for the perennial long term plans which never get executed, there was no short-term objective at that moment. It was a sickening feeling. Also, it was surprising that I was missing the tight schedule which otherwise gets its fair share of curses and expletives. Perhaps in a way, the relentless schedule prevents the queries regarding "higher purpose of life" popping in the mind.

The working week has commenced. Yet, things haven't yet started ticking. Two of three classes scheduled for tomorrow have been canceled. Couldn't have asked for more in the first term but it never came at that time. However, at present it makes me think how can I put this "free time" to best use.

For one, "sleeping" as an option is definitely out of the window.

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