Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Turn Back The Clock

Another day is ended
And I still can’t sleep
Remembering my yesterdays
I begin to weep
If I could have it over
Live my life again
I wouldn’t change a single day

It was a spur of the moment decision. We were driving to Singaperumal Temple at around 6:00 PM on a saturday night. We were driving out of Madras and crossed Tambaram. We were going towards Kattangulathur and Vandalur. Driving along the familiar path brought back memories of a distant time. I asked my father, " can you tell the security guard I was an ex-student here, some 6 years before and I would like to go inside and visit the place". When told so, the security guard took a look at me, he smiled and said "sure! why not" and let us in. It was a funny feeling and I could feel my hair stand on the skin at the prospect of the experience. I was entering through the gates of my undergrad college ( Crescent Engineering College) after six years. Words fail a person during such moments. These are moments when the meaning of "involuntary behavior" comes into picture and teach us the power of emotions that govern a person's life. We may think we are always in control of our emotions. The truth is, its not as easy as it sounds.

I wish that I could turn back the clock
Bring the wheels of time to stop
Back to the days when life was so much better

Going through the gates and driving through the splendid road that led us to the college buildings was like a journey back in time. The greenery of the trees in the pathway reminded me of forgotten treasures - My memories. I was entering a time machine. We travelled through a rather long winding road surrounded by trees ( which often promtped jokes by people entering my colege gates " And miles to go before I sleep" ). The juxstapositioning of life was splendid. My fiance was sitting next to me and I almost felt like I was introducing my future to my past. An experience which I strongly encourage everybody to journey through.

Lying here in silence
Picture in my hand
Of a boy I still resemble
But I no longer understand
And as the tears run freely
How I realise they were the best years of my life

You know how it feels when you want to say "its changed! but its still the same". I felt it and I was thoroughly enjoying the experience. There was a new flashy auditorium that greeted us, as we turned into the road which would lead us to the college buildings. The auditorium, as grand as it looked, was a rude shock to me. I was expecting volley ball courts and some more trees in the place where this gigantic building stood. There was new map drawn on a newly raised big wall near the Physical training room. This map helped us locate different departments in the college. But this map was telling me in a subtle way " I, your college, have grown big".

You might say it’s just
A case of giving up
But without these memories where is the love
Where is the love

I ran around the college like a kid in search of treasure. My fiance would have probably been thinking " so! whats the fuss all about". My mom later told me that my dad had done the same thing and showed her around his school (which he had attended for 12 years). It runs in the family she remarked. She still remembers the excitement on his face when he showed her around his school. Maybe 30 years from now my to-be wife would be saying the same thing her children.

If I could have it over
Live my life again
I wouldn’t change a single day

I showed them the class rooms I studied in. Showed the historical tree under which many of my friends prepared for the exams in the 11:59:58'th hour ( i am sure that tree determined 20% of Jai's examination results). That tree was still there. The corridor of superstition was still there ( i used to sit in a particular place and study for five minutes before going to exam.. sounds silly now! but it was big for me then).

Why can’t I turn back the clock
Bring the wheels of time to a stop
Back to the days
Oh no no
I remember when
Life was so good
I’d go back If I could

The playground where we played cricket was still the same. My thoughts flashed to a time when my classmate Anwar slipped and fell on his face while trying to catch a ball during a cricket game. Right in front of a girl he wanted to impress. I took photographs and kept clicking away until my digital camera could hold no more. The cafeteria, which featured Viswanath and his GRE book as a permenant feature, had changed. It now accomodates more people and has a hut sort of fancy eating cubicles that you would find in palm beaches.

The classrooms evoked a thousand stories that still remain undocumented. The way Mohan would hide Viswanaths tennis racket in the girl's desks (girl sat in a separate place which was in a small way disconnected from the boys desk) or the casual air with which we would cut classes and go straight toe the movies at 11:10 in the morning. For those who are interested I saw Bhats restaurant on the way back. I travelled back to innocent times when we had so many things look forward to. Our lives were waiting to be sculpted and our life-companions were just a dream without a face ( at least for some of us). I don't think any other experience in my life's journey can match the happiness, the innocence and the lack of care for harsh world realities, that my four years in Crescent. As humble as Crescent is when compare to the greatest institutions in the world, a college has to do a lot ( really a lot) to make feel as proud to be an alum of it, as I feel being an alumni of Crescent. I think the people maketh a place. There is the concrete too.. but its the people that count.

It was not a specific incident that made those four years beautiful. It was a million little things that seemed to envelope a person in those four years. It was in the air that we breathed, in the trees we saw. Now I could almost feel at least a few hundreds of those little things among the million things we had left behind six years before. It reminded me of what I thought about life then. The emotion was surreal. It took a burned out digital camera and thickening darkness to pull me out of the place. The stories I narrated made my co-travellers amused. More at the speed and the emotion at which I was narrating to them than the contents of narration itself. To me the story was the essence - To them it was the story teller. As I left the place, I constantly loked back - I was not looking for anything that was palpable or visible. But I was searching for memories that this place was hiding. Was there a pearl I had forgotten? Was there an anecdote that lies buried in the subconcious which this place might help uncover? In this hour long journey, I had uncovered hundreds of pearls and helped transition the incidents and associated emotions to my concious memory. When I make my next trip, in a half dozen years time, I may not be able to recover so much hidden treasures as I did now. But I know one thing for sure, the feeling in the air that surrounded me, shall remain. Life: Its just magic.

Oh oh I wouldn’t change a single day
Don’t let the memories slip away
I wouldn’t change a single day
Don’t let the memories slip away

P.S: The Lyrics is from the song " Turn back the clock" by Johnny hates Jazz.


Atta Girl said...

AWESOME post!!! Especially loved the 'introducing my future to my past' part :-)

I am myself so nostalgic about my post-grad institute. You write too well...Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Pls. upload the pictures and send them across. I'm sure Jai would like to see them.

Hawkeye said...

atta girl,

thanks for saying "atta boy". btw yon ur question on deleting comments. below every comment is the time of posting and near it is a trashbox sort of picture. Click on it and u will see the commment dissapppear.


I am trying to upload pictures but my comp has had a uge virus attack. its in my yahoo photos.

Anonymous said...

Hi bharath;
I liked the way you narrated ,esp when you said I introduce my future to the past.

I too felt the same way when I went to Crescent in 2001.(but I did not have).I mean the memories pops inside my mind.

Just guess who is this my name has 3 letters
starts with 'A' .
Ends with 'V'
and a 'K' in between.
and It may sound like 'AKV' to you.

Congrats for your marriage

Suresh Ramani said...

"I wouldn’t change a single day"

The above sentiment reminded me of the concept of Uberman (with double dots over 'U') or the Ultimate man in Friedrich Neitschke's philosophy. Nietschke describes a scenario in which you are forced to live your life over and over again without any change whatsoever. The idea is to live life in such a way as to want to live it over and over again without any change.

I guess, the essay is too short to cover all the categories of memories of the four-year college. To me, the every day journey to Crescent and back would be an integral part of those memories.

The auditorium looks grand. I bet the pic of the classroom in the photo album is our 3rd sem's classroom .. "the corridor of superstition" -- ha ha .. it would be hard to find a free pillar on that corridor on the day of the exam.


Arvind said...

Bharath, you're lucky dude!! Not that it would mean anything (I'm married to a girl I met in the same college) but I don't think I ever want to go back to my college!! Well at least not now..
SBOA evokes the kind of emotion you talk about though.. strangely, I have much better memories from school!

anantha said...

Wow... awesome post... am a sucker for such sentiment.

Anonymous said...

I love this past... Love to read it again to brought back some of my memories.... atleast thru these kind of articles...

- Muruga