The recent ‘Commencement speech’ trend that’s making the rounds on social media got me thinking what I would have liked to hear when I graduated couple of years ago.
Don’t worry, this is not meant to be a perspective on wisdom. Just thinking of what could have been.
When I graduated in the thick of recession in 2009, everyone had just one question in mind —What the hell am I going to do with this media degree? So did I. Until I realize now (after being a journalist for little over 2 years) that it’s the media that managed to cash in the most out of it. As sad as it is, in 9 hours of work I edit, write, read at least 18 stories on recession— one more doubtful, more morbid than the other.
Anyway, the point of that navel-gazing anecdote was that, we need someone to tell us that education is this wonderwall— this only thing that will never let you down, no matter how bogged down you are by its debt. Of course, all of that depends on what you take of it and make of it.
I wish someone told me that while it is important to be bold and deft in the ‘real world’ (I am STILL waiting for someone to tell me what it exactly means) it is also important to celebrate endings. Live it up like it won’t last till the next morning.
I wish someone had told me to watch as many movies I can, be open to get blown away by everything that comes your way. Because very you soon realise that all the things you dream of doing when you grow up, get a job, gets thrown out of the window. And you cannot find a trace of it, not even in old letters, music or conversations.
I wish someone had told me to dance, just dance to the most obscure songs, at all odd times of the day and with almost everyone you know. Because, when you are forced to dance at ‘office parties’ that mean squat to you is when you know what it feels like to let music flow into your skin and respond to it.
I wish someone had taught me how to keep in touch well. I say well because it is very difficult for college friends to remain just that and NOT grow up.
I wish someone had urged all of us to fall in love because that’s when you have the time to do all the ‘nothing’ you want to do with the one you love.
I wish someone had told me that when you graduate, you will feel like a snake shedding its skin. One that you’ll look for everywhere.
And for these reasons, I wish there are commencement speeches before you enter college. Not one of those preachy, ‘if-you-do-this-you’ll-be-expelled-kind’ but really nudge you into a story that you will not be a part of but one that you will write.
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some instructions on writing and life.
- Machine coffee
- Late winter winds
- Not-so-comfortable new Gmail view
- Not enough time for books
- Old playlist
- Early mornings
- Old colours
- Holidays that are yet to come
But on the upside, I do have a nice theme.
The first half of the month went in anticipation and excitement and the second passed away in sheer remembrance. The ‘in between’ was what summed up everything.
October is much like Wednesday( the month is SO mid-week). It allows you to dry up and lets you leave the dampness with all its heat and braces you to welcome the autumn.
There are new conversations
new mornings (albeit late ones)
It lets you breathe the cold air and makes you to want to lick it, this October.
I dreaded the midnight strike of the 17th. I wished and hoped there was some way I could just make time stop. I wished time could let me have my eternal 22 dream. I really did not want to go further. Further into a life of boring mundane work, less ice-cream, more face cream, no bike rides, only train rides.
I wanted to hold on everything beautiful that has happened to me(for some reason, I thought 23 is when EVERYTHING turns upside down). I wanted life to teach me all the lessons in my 22nd year because I believed that my character-building days were behind me.
I wanted to be smallest bird in the endless sky, the tiniest fish in the wide blue ocean, the smallest ice flake in a huge mountain of ice-cream, that tiny bit of chocolate in Charlie’s factory, the thinnest ray of sunshine, the softest voice in the chorus and the most common word in a 1000 word book. Why? Because, it’s the best feeling to be comforted, to be protected, to be swept by warmth and shelter.
But, a wonderful gift from the most WONDERFUL person in the world taught me how you could be the exact opposite and still have the same feeling of warmth covering you. Who’d have have thought, that there are SO many wonderful people thinking and willing to say SUCH wonderful things about that one tiniest person in the whole universe.
So, when the midnight struck, I put on a brave face and was willing to look at 23 in the eye with the fierceness that a little birthday girl of 5 could have had. But turns out, the people around you are willing to you that without allowing you to be a ‘just-another’. And, I am hugely grateful for that.
When I thought of all the people who turn , 33, 43, 53, 63, 73, 83, 93 , 103 (Rajasthan surprises the world in many ways) with every break of dawn, I am convinced that 23 is still a tiny spot in this whole big universe.
“We’ll figure it out” - I have often wondered whether it shows resistance or hope.
I think we need to “figure it out” soon.
Saying goodbyes is difficult. It’s a lot more difficult when it truncates a just-blooming friendship.
You don’t know what to miss as there aren’t sufficient bus rides, rainfalls, meals, play dates and trips to make up a decent repository of memories. I recently discovered that you don’t need one.
So long as you have one perfect start to a new year,
One amazing morning English breakfast,
A ‘perfectly-tender’ Steak dinner weaved with interesting discussion about travel, music, books and French philosophers,
A 40 km bike ride of the most wonderful beach-town in the country,
A beer-breezer cheers on a crisp humid evening,
And a thin-crust-almost-Italian pizza while swaying to a very faint sound of a faraway Indie band,
And a great welcome to a city one has never been, I think you are good to go.
So here it is my friend, I know it would have been perfect to have one last amazing breakfast, but maybe we can have it on a different shore known to neither of us.
So we can discover something together and add to our memory basket.
For now, we can settle with this