It is going to be the last time that I’ll board a train from Jamshedpur to Banaras. It’s going to be the last time that I’ll list my address as a hostel in BHU. It’s going to be the last time that I’ll be able to call people up in the middle of the night and ask them, “Assi chalega?”
Not once in the last eight months did it come to my mind that this was going to be my final year in the city I have loved so much. Well, I was always aware of it; I always knew I’ll leave it in May, but then, knowing something and staring at the face of it are two very different things. While knowing gives you a sense of the movement of time and a feeling of growing up in the world, looking directly in the eyes of the last two months gives me nostalgia, and memories, and a reminder that if I ever needed love, I just have to look back at the five years I have spent here.
It’s with an ease that the memories apparate in my mind now. I can recall the first day I came here, anticipating better rooms and a better condition of the hostels, being overwhelmed by the architecture of the university, and wondering about how the next few years were going to be. I was in luck. I got a room-mate with whom I have now spent five years of my life. I got classmates without whom I can’t even imagine the past four-five years and I got a city which was yet to open its doors to us.
It was here that I actually started doing what I now love most – writing and debating. The literary club became an essential part of my life in IT-BHU, keeping me engaged and earning me whatever small amount of recognition I have. I got to explore my creative side while working for the festivals, making some of the most awesome friends on the journey.
I met people in these five years with whom there are no feelings/boundaries of a difference in years, on whom I can bet my confidence for their success, and with whom if anything exists, it is an immensely satisfying bond of friendship. Many of them have left this place before me; many will leave with me, and many after, but then, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the lovely time I have spent with them and the memories we have shared.
Climbing up the ladder of seniority, gaining in age and academic years, I had expected myself to lose some part of the childish nature I have always had in me, maybe change. Today, though I can’t claim to have become mature, I can but definitely say that I haven’t lost the childish spark I had. And this, I can safely attribute to the city I have loved more than any other place I have ever been to.
Banaras has been more than a city. It has been more than a land of ghats, covered with roads and houses and small shops and narrow lanes. It has been much more than what it is generally to most people, a pilgrimage. For me, Banaras has been human, alive.
Whether it is on the ghats watching the Ganges flow silently, or in the corridor of my hostel, I have always found Banaras stand with me, alongside me. It has been a friend through these years, helping me through various stages of life, taking me smoothly through the emotions – the happy times and the sad ones, sharing my woes and listening to me patiently in tough times. It has been the source of inspiration and optimism in me, as much as it has been the reason for my contentment. And so it shall remain.
Anyway, the last two months are here, knocking at the door. And with a heavy, yet excited heart I am desperate to plunge myself into the final few days of college.
Getting ready for one Last Trip.
Picture Credits: Mohit Modi