I am a university student once more, a grad student at that. I walked into university yesterday as a changed person. My ID card hung around my neck like an albatross. It says ‘Postgraduate’ in block letters and the security smiled at me letting me know I was welcome. Every person I met said, “Welcome back!” and the first thing I was told in the morning was that people who go on a leave of absence rarely return. Being one of the few is a talent I have and with that piece of information, I got myself back on the system once more.
I knew from the outset this was a place I belonged in. I am happiest when I am a student, it’s got its sharp edges, it’s not easy and at every step you doubt yourself because you’re surrounded by people who are brilliant. But once you feel that thrill, it’s better than any drug. I am a knowledge junkie. So yes I own that ID with pride. When the library official took my photo for the new ID he exclaimed, “You look so scholarly in the photo!” I cringed and we both laughed.
I may look scholarly but I have a long way to go. But yesterday put an end to the doubts about my return. I thought as far as my course is concerned I may have lost a year due to the gap, and it was the opposite, I gained a year. So now in the morning as I finish this blog and get ready for classes I feel excited. Sure, I don’t know if I’ll find new people to talk to, considering people would have found their groups. I suppose it’ll take a bit of time but it’ll happen.
I am listening to Punjabi pop as I write this. I always become more Indian when I leave the country. I don’t know why that is. Maybe that’s how my homesickness manifests. I am slowly inching forward, setting up my notice board, arranging books and getting the basic stuff done.
My friends back home keep me sane, we video call each other and laugh together. Of course, I miss home, there’s no doubt about it. But technology has advanced and distance is only a mirage now. It helps to have my mother here. She’s a darling, and I like to take her around show her bits of my life she never got to see before. When she’ll be gone, I’ll be fine. It’s a good thing I’ll be going home in the holidays.
It’s not as cold as one would think and the snow has been absent this winter. Global warming is real. We rarely stop to think about the climate by looking at it as an inconvenience, but the changes haven’t been overdramatised. But nonetheless life goes on as we pretend things are ok as long as we are still alive.
I am seeing my future now, what seemed blank before is slowly developing like a polaroid. This is what adult life is, right? A pigeonhole existence, and nomadic presence. I can see myself cooking breakfast like I did this morning, planning my day and managing all of it myself. Our parents did it and now we will too. If it’s not a university ID card it’ll be one for the job and many more for the government, the bank, etc.
Kids? Savour the comfort you have, rely on your parents, enjoy the luxury of having someone take care of you. Adulthood is only glamorous on paper and in movies, nobody depicts the mundane existence of millions of adults. Ask yourself why nobody has made a movie on filing taxes or paying bills or deciding to do laundry when one runs out of clothes.
We all are destined for this life. Some make this exciting by travelling or socialising or reaching the highest positions in their jobs. But most of us will be trying to get by. I think it’s ok because I want to make just enough money to purchase all the books I want and build a wonderful pantry in my home. I am not interested in much else.
We don’t realise it when we become adults or when we are kids. On my new ID card is the face of a girl who is uncertain, who is just getting used to her own skin. She is a child in the guise of an adult, trying to convince others that she is one but only fooling herself and no one else.