If you’ve entered your final year in college and that deliciously overpowering sense existential gloom hasn’t settled in yet, well, I don’t like you very much. It did on me, resulting in some fabulous “Look, the world is ending!” sort of conversations with friends. I discovered most of the city’s “shady” cafes and side alleys in my final year exchanging shamelessly emo old-Bollywood-movie type of dialogues with friends equally distraught at the impending “parting of ways”, equally lazy to bravely confront the towering pile of assignments. If you somehow manage to survive this onslaught of paperwork, the emotional turmoil of being thrown together with people you thought you would never have to bother to bestow even a fake smile on to work on projects which could decide if you get that old degree or not – what one has to endure for that piece of paper, seriously – you can breathe in peace. Not.
Once you leave college, there will be times when you will think the world outside your room a giant piece of clockwork: you will sense the slowness of time, watch the leaves fall, smell the roses, and, um, so on in that vein. But mostly, you’ll feel things along the lines of: Uh, SHE got a job? SHE got THAT job? What, SHE made it into that university? God, what am I doing with my life? When you’re not dying in the throes of crippling jealousy, the chill of being shut off by those who appeared to be close friends in college, trying to get over feeling like a huge waste of space, getting on your parents’ nerves, you’ll probably read worthless books, turn into an internet (and god knows what other) addict, have migraine-inducing movie marathons, listen to Justin Bieber, basically, practice endless hours of vice and get on your parents’ nerves more.
That’s all very well and, to be honest, having so much time on your hands is not all bad. Very occasionally, you’ll end up doing or discovering something useful. (For me it was the life-altering realization – after thinking covertly for months that Justin Bieber wasn’t that bad – that the girl I thought was Bieber’s singing partner was actually Justin Bieber.)
But, you know, try and do something, okay? (I am not talking to those smug, “I’ve got my life all figured out” types.) After all, it is your life, and you aren’t Moses that the seas will part for you willingly: sometimes you have to hack at the sides of clouds with a sledgehammer to find the silver lining. Do that little bit of work for yourself, then take off on your crazy adventures, and one day when you’re wandering around the city wallowing beatifically in a quagmire of self-pity, inside that great big piece of clockwork that keeps thudding behind your back all day all night, something will click into place.
This smug little piece purporting to dispense graduation wisdom was written for the Journalism newsletter For Now (Mount Carmel College, Bangalore) in August, 2011, after one of my juniors requested me to write something for them . Obviously, I’m not an expert. Read with caution.