It was finally nice to "get away from it all". The past 4 months have been quite intense. The 4 hour/day sleeps, the cramming all was getting to me. When you read the prep books and listen to career search advise from MBA2s - you come across lines like "it is easy to over prepare and burn out. take a break during the new year". You think "thats for others, not for us - we are used to all work and no play". But a lot of us found out the stupidity of that assumption. And by Christmas we were begging for rest. So most of the students began to make plans for vacation.
Thanks to a quickly arranged re-union by one undergrad friend, I had a chance to go to Chicago to meet some old college friends. I am one of those folks who likes to look back at the past frequently and fondly. I think this will happen to most people. Someday all of us will get married (well most) and get buried in everyday activities. Suddenly you are pulled out from the routine and presented with a chance to meet old classmates, who are also married and equally curious to find out the whereabouts of their past classmates. The thrill of seeing old 'dogs' in a family setting is too valuable to pass.
I guess when we are in college, we don't really imagine the future as 5 potbellied/bald 50 year olds meeting each other up with our spouses. In college its all about 'today'. Education is an incidental thing. Its the friends, the fun that forms the main purpose. At that time we are all a bunch of half-shorts playing cricket on the beach, eating in Gangotri, going to Saarang and sqeezing out mileage from the last drop of fuel in the Kinetic Hondas, Yamahas and Chetaks. In my mind that was the last of the carefree days. I seriously had no purpose in getting up on Monday morning and going to college, except to hang around with friends. Today that is unimaginable. Bunking classes and sitting in the canteen/under the tree seems like being in heaven today but it was nothing then. I understand that nostalgia makes the past appear much better than it really was. But still it is so sweet. We talked about the guy who tried to take a running catch in front of a girl, missed the ball, which hit his face and he fell flat on the ground. We talked about those nervous proposals, who ran behind who, the paper rockets on new teachers, dorm escapades, and beasant nagar beach episodes. Our friends had names like jollu babs, kaatu panni, idea mini, booman, cholarajan, psycho, periappa etc. I am pretty sure most ex-college students can relate to this.
Seeing the same half-pant dudes and dorks - today - is a gift. Because it compresses time and teaches you the vagaries of life. From Potheri to Chicago may not be a big leap in todays age. But it is still a leap. Beyond geography, it is the people your friends end up with that is more interesting. There are dreams and then there are college dreams. 8-10 years after college is an interesting time to take stock and find out how everybody started and where they are right now. Who married who? Will two classmates end up with each other? Who has progressed where? This is not seen in a judgemental/evaluative way but in a more romantic way. In an effort to understand the fickle nature of life. It provides an interesting setting for extrapolating how we all might end up in another 40-50 years. Sometimes I ask my dad about his childhood friend and he said this about a friend who passed away "He was a great person. he was poor, no father and two sisters to sustain. he studied under the street lights and rose to become secratary to the government. my village has produced great people". I am thinking if that friend knew he was doing this. I am also thinking what one-liner will be attached to me by my friends. And vice versa. The big picture is interesting and scary.
Anyway. I return to reality. The big push begins tomorrow. To where I wonder...