Friday, November 03, 2006

A Day When....

Everything went wrong. Well, almost everything.

I thought it would take me a long time to hate this place. But then, I got fever. Wednesday night, I came home with a slight temperature running. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought and gone back to doing the daily chores. Just that I soon found myself too tired to cook or study. I collapsed on the carpet.

I would have been that way had a friend not called. Something seemed wrong from my voice, and she insisted that I come over for dinner. She gave me a ride, cooked me dinner, gave me medicines, and offered her living room since I was too ill to get back home.

The next morning, I found myself feeling better. I waved her a goodbye and got back home. Since classes started a little late that day, I might have some time for a shower and a brunch.

The shower, I had. I still had some 40 minutes before classes started. I thought I’d rest a while, just lie down and listen to music so that I didn’t doze off.

And doze off, I did. When I woke up with a start and squinted at my wristwatch, I knew that the classes had just started about a minute back.

Shit !!!!

I couldn’t afford to miss classes because we had to make a small submission every week based on that day’s class. If you were absent, you couldn’t make the submission. No handouts were available online. I called up a friend to ask if she had reached class. She didn’t even pick up the phone.

Wearing my shoes and taking the keys with as little time as possible, I dashed for the door. From my home, I have to walk down a straight lane for a few minutes, and then wait for two signals to cross the road and then get to the bus stop. It’s like a “T” where I walk on the vertical line of the “T” to take the bus on the horizontal line. This means that even while I walk, I can see the buses running. 

And just when I thought I would cross the first signal and still make it on time, I saw the shuttle leaving. There was no way I could have done anything but helplessly see it go. This isn’t India where you wave at the bus from a distance and the bus stops in the middle of the road, never mind the honking cars behind. The next one was 15 minutes later.

It had been drizzling all morning. I made it to the bus stop fine. But Mr. Murphy had more drama in store. At least three different buses took me to the department from home. But none of them came. Other buses came and left. People at the bus stop came and left. And I just kept standing there. I had even forgotten my umbrella. Surely I looked like a drowned rat in trouble.

It is then that I felt the first few drops of tears trickle down my eyes. I wouldn’t have noticed it since it seamlessly mingled with the rain on my face. I will never forget that day when I kept hugging the wooden plank in the bus stop, waiting for the bus and weeping. I realized what it meant to be alone and a foreigner in a new country. 

Would I skip class and go home, and live with the burden of feeling like an irresponsible person because I had dozed off ?

I don’t know why but I kept waiting for the bus. The bus eventually came and I took it. By the time I reached my department, I was already 30 minutes late. The class was 50 minutes long, in one of those huge auditoriums where you entered from the front door and climbed the steps so that when you came in, everyone could see you. There was no escape from a back door. I was still debating if I should enter the auditorium. It felt humiliating.

I did. I must have been real desperate to make it that day. When I entered, I thought that a thousand eyes were on me, judging me. I wished I could turn into a whiff of smoke and merge into oblivion. But I did not. I crept in silently, wishing that people would not recognize me. This is one of those seminar classes that both the students and the faculty attend. 

And just when I’ve climbed a few steps and taken a vacant seat and settled in, I craned my neck to look to my left to see the Chair of our department and the head of this class look at me.

I wish that the ground had opened up and engulfed me. But nothing fortunate like that happened. 

I did attend the last leg of the lecture. But it is on that day that I realized how difficult life had become for me. Sometimes, you fail to appreciate your family and take everything for granted. You fight, you complain, you whine. I'm not saying that the role of my family is to be my alarm clock and my cook. I hated that my parents did not like me studying late at nights, objected to long phone conversations and frequent eating outs, and absolutely did not allow sleep overs. So I argued, rebelled, and left home. I realize that you need a family, not only to force you to do the right things at the right time, but also to give you that overall love and support that essentially forms the backbone of your well-being.



Anonymous said...

SUNSHINE IT WAS THE VERY TOUCHING BLOG, we student some time forget to respect our parents and do whatever our little brain force to do.....

it was really the good one .

Anonymous said...

You know, what you've written is so true --- and so touching. Things that we take for granted, things that we even stand up and fight against with our near and dear ones: it takes their absence to remind us of their worth. I know the horrible sinking feeling you get when a thousand eyes stare at you as if accusing you of not being at par with them... but I think you did the right thing by deciding to go into the class after all. It must have taken a lot of courage to brave the psychological pressure and still go in and listen to the lecture. I know you must have been terribly weakened and tired by the fever and all to have fell asleep and being late for the class. But I am also glad to see that you are fighting it out. That piece of wood you were hugging when you were weeping perhaps signifies a lot more than just the piece of wood: it is representative of the inanimate cold ruthless world around us, where you need to fight every inch of the way to survive --- where our tears are just a drop amidst the thousands of tears raining all around. Don't worry things will be ok: if there is rain, there will be 'sunshine' too. You have friends around yourself, and may God bless that angelic senior of yours who helped you that night. You will do well, don't worry: you are not going to lose the battle. Hang in there... Your post seemed straight out of the depths of your heart re... it touched a chord somewhere.

syrals said...

Very true, whatever you have penned in here...I am just hoping that you will be alright soon. Thank God for that senior of yours! take care.

romram said...

I had the same feeling yesterday, when I was made to realize that I hadn't called home for a week.... uufff... I felt so bad....
Anyways, which school are you in?

Anonymous said...

pardon me for saying this but going into a depressed mood and missing your family every time you fall, is going to do you no good.

face the music. and do your crying in the rain. i think that's what your parents would have wanted you to do.

Anonymous said...

It was a very touching post and a very true one at that! I'm thankful that ur senior came in at the right moment. Also, kudos to you for having braved rain, illness and pressure to attend the classes! I'm sure you'd do well. Take care!

Ashok Kumar Bhardwaj (Udham Singh) said...

That was a nice one.. I am reading you after a long time.. so for full story, I have to read them all, but this one's interesting because the similar feeling was there when I first missed a class. Now it doesn't bother. To save that sort of problems, I left going there :DD

Anonymous said...

hi sunshine,
hope you will be feeling better by the time u read this.
as u get to know more people n make a network of friends, they will be ur family away from home. this is how i survived in hostel.
dont worry. u will be fine.
-dharna :)

Anonymous said...

aaaawwww... Its been 4 years since I left hostel. I went to a hostel 7 years back but this blog broght back those memories. I can still remember those days crystal clear. You know what... once you make friends here you will have a lot of fun. The feeling of being on your own, taking care of yourself and being responsible is amazing. It takes time to get used to it but it is great fun after that. I am sure you will be alright!! Take care.


desperado said...

i guess u have braved much more than just these stares to even get to this foreign land...u'll do great dont worry...but yeah these subtle things would always be there....doesnt matter how old you get...u'll always miss home...if u dont then there is a problem
also maybe try to think of good ur senior who helped you

dont worry will keep shining

Anonymous said...

One always misses home, but I guess the whole idea of stepping out of the safe confines of your home and experiencing both, the good and the bad side of the world is what global education is all about.

Please take good care of yourself. Wishing you a speedy recovery. :)

ggop said...

Cheer up - when one is sick, even slight depression gets magnified.

I'm sure you will return the favor your senior did for another lonely homesick junior next fall. :-)


Di said...

i know dear..sometimes theres nothing like home...cheers to r families..

Anonymous said...

chill it Sunshine ... remember the whole downpour of friends and family before ur departure ... ??? ... and u weren't really feeling much ... seems like table is turning ... as always life remains crazy ...

ME ... !!!