I think of college as a form of hermitage. A hermitage surrounded by bars and pubs? Yes. A hermitage whose visible form of worship is ogling at heavenly bodies (of course you get the lame pun)? Yes. But a hermitage nonetheless. For it fulfils that primary criterion that all self-respecting hermits look for in standard hermitage real estate.
What is that hermits want? What is it that they look for in a prospective hermitage location, even a kaam-chalao one, considering they are unable to book prime spots atop a craggy mountain-peak in snowy Himalayas (my image of a perfect hermitage being affixed in my mind from Tintin In Tibet)? The foremost requisite for a hermitage is that it should allow you to indulge in whatever it is you choose, without outside interference.
Hence, proved. Aah! The science student's most satisfying comeback line at the end of any maths question. I sign mine with a flourish I can't help.
Anyway, I was saying, hence I conclude that college has assumed the form of a hermitage.
What has that got to do with anything, you ask? I mean, whats your friggin' point, you say? I shall tell you, oh impatient loud-mouthed reader. You see, I like it that way. I love the fact that my college is hermitagish (new word alert!).
Some would say its a bad thing, not being in touch with the world's affairs. Vital moments in our planet's history pass me by without causing a ripple in the calm, serene pond that I'm using here as a metaphor for life. Appreciate my refreshing use of profound imagery na? But the thing is, I realize I'm not missing out on much.
Because when I come back home, waiting to be dazzled by the wonders of Indian civilization, whose company I have been bereft of for the past few months, what I see is shocking. Is it a trick of mine eyes? Is it a hallucination of some extraordinarily strange kind? Can this be really real? Not just shocking, its positively revolting. In thesaurus mode, I shall go to the extent of calling it absolutely disgusting too. And bile-inducingly vomitous. Another new word I believe. Thank you.
Let me attempt to list what I've noticed dashed up about the world since I got back in touch:
India is a retarded society, with all the attention-span and creative appreciation of a 3 year old slightly special child who can be entertained even by your lacklustre-at-best-but-usually-painful-to-the-senses imitation of Santa Claus and Habu Baba and whatever else you think you're a hit with. Give us no sense. Give us no plan. Tell us we have no self-respect and you're just going to take our money and laugh at us and then come scrunch us beneath your titanic heels. Use us as pawns on a chessboard you haven't dusted in years because you dont even bloody care about the game. We do not mind. Just as long as one scene in fifty is vaguely comical, and Shahrukh Khan is in the rest.
So, Om Shanti Om becomes a super-duper mega blockbuster hit. Never mind that the hero has a body that could have been ousted by any rickshaw-puller on the streets of Kolkata. We shall call it a farce. Leave your thinking caps home! Dont be so highbrow, so condescending, so arty-shmarty! We're Indians! We suck!
You see, when it's farce and you already proclaim it so, anything goes. Even trash.
2. TV News
I dont even know how to really approach this issue. So I'll just say it and you can then justifiably recoil in horror. Sit back and breathe calmly. This could be a serious shock. I saw two news channels covering (as their Breaking News no less) the goings and comings on WWE. Yes. Let me break it to you in stages. News like this dealt in one blow can be fatal. So, it was WWE. The headline read something like the Great Khali being irritated and angered by diminutive Irishman Finlay. The video inset was of the giant monster guy taking apart a little Irish chap. And the news presenter spoke not in jest. She spoke with brevity, and calm, and stoic seriousness. She could have been talking about elections or more boys falling down more holes in the ground, you would think.
This is what Indian News has come to. I look forward to catching them discuss recent slaps (and what affect they could have on the maan-maryada of the parivaar) on Kyunki Saas Bhi blah blah blah... one of these days. Interestingly, I dont know so please tell me, is the Ba creature still alive?? My last rib-tickling memory is of when she went to attend fashion school along with her great-grandchildren.
3. The Big Huge Explosion
Ok, it might not have been big and huge, but it was an explosion all right. McDonald's, the only one in Kolkata, exploded due to some gas-cylinder disagreeing with it's working conditions. Something like that. Glass shattered, cars outside were damaged, the door flew apart, and one person died. Since then, shutters have remained drawn on the location plus one big brown ugly over its frontage, right in the middle of Park Street.
Nice how we're supposed to be developing and letting (those blood-sucking) capitalists finally into our communist city of harmony and brotherhood (nice riot by the way. ah! a mere brotherly fight! children will be children!). But also very strange how no renovation or demolition or any sort of work is done upon the site, to atleast clean up the ugly stain on wonderful Park Street by Christmas time. 'Tis a shame.
4. That man
I refer to Himesh. Since my college began, and I delved deeper and deeper into the roots of hard rock and metal mayhem, one man has been steadily hacking away at the roots of good Hindi music, and all the signs of music and singing ability from the face of Bollywood. Himesh Reshammiya.
It was you who fed him, when the snake was merely a snake-ling. Then he does a movie. And you go and watch it. And then you go and watch it too. And so on and so forth, until the creep has enough money to think he's actually above the karaoke now. And disaster falls. He's prepared a sequel. You fools! Look what you've done!
Are you excited that this time he's going to be without a cap? That you shall be allowed to gaze upon the tufts and tangles of beautiful long hair upon that big head I dearly want to introduce my hammer to? Are you, really?
Why? Why you did that?
To focus on things cleaner and safer, it's not entirely true that everything has only gone down and soiled itself since I stopped calling back and finding out how it was. There remain some positives, and we can be quite proud of them.
1. India is getting richer and richer. The Ambanis are skipping higher and higher on a trampoline that is getting stronger and stronger. Tata shall buy over Jaguar, despite the ridiculous, almost childlike outrage expressed by the foreign companies involved in this.
2. We haven't really forgotten how to play cricket. We actually won! We didnt look back to see if anyone was closing in, and won the damn race already. And we're winning since. Plus, something I honestly did not expect. The Dada is back. With superpowers this time. Yay! Time for a kangaroo steak now.
I feel, the world could yet be a happy place. Lets just bang some people on the head a few times first. And we'll see from there.