In my usual fashion of pretending like I’m older than I actually am, I reminisce about Jindal as if I have passed out already.
“Life is so uncertain: you never know what could happen. One way to deal with that is to keep your pyjamas washed.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
I was not-so-recently jolted from my state of lethargy induced by a post-board exam uneventfulness into the colourful, riotous campus of Jindal Global University where I learnt that change is the only constant and that one can write 3000 words in 3 hours provided one has enough coffee and enough motivation.
By motivation I mean deadline.
By deadline I mean the one that was extended by three weeks because your Professor was a student once upon a time and understands procrastination.
But assignments aren’t the only way you learn here. Everything, and I mean everything is a valuable experience that will shape who you are and who you become. You will learn that room keys can go missing at the drop of a hat and that you can make it to a 9 AM class by waking up at 8.50. You will learn to throw budget birthday parties and to tolerate mess food when you have no money left and no one to borrow from. You will learn who your friends are, and how to manage those who aren’t. You will learn that the metric for picking a roommate is very different from the one you should use to pick a friend. As my 13-year-old (Read: Teenager and hence knows everything) brother told me, you shouldn’t try to make your friends your roommates but, rather, make your roommates your friends. You will learn that you have to make choices, and that there may not always be a voice that firmly tells you what’s to be done and what isn’t. And through those choices, you will learn about yourself.
And you will learn to learn about yourself.
All of the above, of course, is a by-product of merely leaving home. Jindal is more than just any other boarding college, though. It is a place where such experiences are encouraged and where perspective is abundant, unlike the paneer in our usual Monday lunch side dish. Jindal has professors who understand what it’s like to be a student and who know to use that knowledge alongside being professional. They will listen to you, by being silent. And in that silence you’ll find a voice.
At least, I did.
You will get to shape the space around you and build it brick by brick, and you will realize that you don’t necessarily have to care which brick goes where. Your hands that may have been a stranger to dishwashing will soon learn to become best friends with detergent and Comfort Washing Liquid. And you may (will) be homesick. If not for anything, at least for the washing machine. Personal space is a tricky thing because you might grow increasingly irritated without knowing that that is what you’re looking for. But you can learn to adapt and accept perspective.
You can make Anton Ego (Read also: Food Critic from Ratatouille) proud.
And now, a new semester will begin. The distinct chatter of those beguiled by assignments will soon be heard in the hallways, our mess food will be as boring as ever, and things will still change.
But I will have a set of washed pyjamas.
And everything will be okay.