Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Transitions

While at the beach, have you tried taking all the water you can with both your palms cupped, bringing them together so that the water is not lost and carrying it carefully to the shore? More often than not, the water is all gone by the time you reach. Ironically, the tighter you try to hold, the faster it slips away. 

What is not ours; that which does not belong to us , always finds a way to slip away.

Sometimes you know that something precious is slipping right through your fingers and you try to cling on tight; clench the fist and not let go. But it is a futile exercise. You can only watch or desperately try to make it stay in vain. Is this how people will terminal illness feel? when you know that your life is slipping away, one second at a time, right before your eyes and no matter what you try, you can never live more than a second at once?

Is this how people in failing relationships feel? when you know that your man is slowly but surely losing interest and no matter what you buy, sing or surprise him with, the sands are slowly going down the clock? I think it is a very painful thing - watching something end. Being there in the final moments - when you can neither  run away nor change the inevitable.

Courtesy: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/transition/all


I think that is how I am feeling too. As I see myself nearing the end of my stay in this beautiful campus, I find myself wishing to freeze time, go back in time or at least make time move slowly. But it won't. Perhaps I could slow down and take more of the surroundings in but the more I slow down, the more I realize that everything is going to change forever.

The worst thing about an impending change is the fact that you are going to change along with it too. Hence, a part of wanting to hold on is not just to the place but to my self too - the self I am right now, the self I was in this place. Because tomorrow, this self could change with the tide of time.

I wish I could always be a student. Not that I love academic work a lot or that I spend time every other day hanging out carefree with a bunch of batch mates. But life is promising when you are a student because life has not begun yet. So it remains that - a promise, a tomorrow, the future.

Student life feels like a waiting room, an incubation theatre. And it is so much fun sitting here and visualizing all the wonderful things that the real place out there will be like. You can keep playing the guessing game of how this life outside the campus is will turn out. You are still preparing. And preparing. And preparing for it. You can build castles of dreams on what you will finally do out there. It is a very comforting thing. I can go to bed every day, telling myself 'Hah, just wait till I start out someday... I can do this, I can be this, I can buy that and see that....'. And every day passes in exciting anticipation and speculation of this doing, being, buying and seeing which will happen at a point that is still far away.

But now that I am finally approaching that 'someday', I am scared. True, I have worked for a few months before but again, that was also a part of the preparation. I knew I would go back to campus. But I am there - end of the road. I need to enter the gates. 

I think I am scared of closure. Finality. I am scared of the disappointment to find a world not as good as what I had wanted. I am scared of getting lesser than what I had prepared myself for. I am scared of knowing - Okay, this is it. This is THE life that you had been curious about for so long. And this is going to be it from today till the end. And what if I go like - this is it?! Damn, this is it?

I don't want to settle down. I don't want finality. I think I want a life that is always incomplete, where there is always something missing. And then, I can look forward for a better tomorrow, and keep dreaming and planning and waiting for that unknown spectacular something which will complete the puzzle.

21 comments:

bomzie said...

:)

R-A-J said...

The first paragraph - I do the same thing with beer - n I so agree with u.. so now, I drink straight from the bottle...Wow, I stopped studying sometime back though my financial status hasn't changed very much... damn!

But jokes apart, don't worry Sinduja.. things will just work out just fine fr u.. u'll realize that it aint so bad after all...welcome to this side of the college gate...

All the Best, dear!

:)

The Visitor said...

All the best to you Sindu. Welcome to the world beyond a campus - it's just as full of joy and heartbreak as in campus, probably several fold more. Enjoy yourself.

-V

CHIBI said...

College, i guess it's the most interesting phase of life. beautiful and the only phase where responsibility takes a back seat.

you know, the feeling to freeze the last days, maybe live an extra period of time in college. I got that chance here in my univ. I got to live an extra year in the campus with same roomies and friends except that i was working in a lab and not taking courses (thank god, no studies).

it was pretty good to start, but later i realized, things were a bit different, it was not the same student feeling anymore, the money i earned was not enough, I was wasting a lot of time.. people's perspective of me changed, I kinda felt like an outsider in my own habitat. then i realized even phases of life has an expiry and i had overstayed it..!

So it's better that things come to an end when it needs to end.

from what i've seen, Even work life , the "real" world , isn't that different, well , of course, you become really responsible. in fact, you have fun responsibly.. :P

Enjoy the "real" world, as it also will expire one fine day, when it's retirement..!

Siddharth Sriram said...

Beautifully written! Being a student myself, i know that this one piece shall resonate with me the most when i'm leaving campus.

Yes, a sense of finality did me in for a long time too. It still does. The mind always screams 'what's next!' or 'this is mundane' even before we've started with the first. Yet over time, there's either extreme depression or the search turns within for most when they find that reality disappoints.

But for those much more in sync with themselves such as you, a lot of great things await i'm sure. You carry a lot of depth in your thoughts and seek meaning wherever you go after all. All the very best my dear :)

harishsram said...

1) Funny even after 3yrs into work life, i dont feel like i have reached the other side of college life. I am still in search of a path & way in life.

2) "And what if I go like - this is it?! Damn, this is it?" when you say this always keep reminding yourself that the journey is important & not the result.

3) There are 3 ways to look at life - One: where we go in a path which ends up boring you (this is what worries you most now). Two: where you dont get what you want/deserve in life. Three: where you end up screwing ur life by not able to snatch it - this you touched upon through the sand/water/failed relationship examples. For the 1st one - when such a situation arises isn't it right to come out of it. When u hate a job/marriage/social cirle - u usually come out of it right. There may come a situation that says- 'but that is all i know'. I feel that is not the right ans. For a person who loves to be a seeker, searching for new avenues would be like having a pizza :P

For the 2nd n 3rd: Though these 2 are contradictory scenarios, both cases tests the perseverance of the person.

In the end, enjoy life as it comes instead of worrying about what the future holds for you 2morw. Interesting or depressing the future may turn out to be, you can always make a thesis out of it & have fun while doing that. :)

Sinduja said...

@Bomzie : :)

@R-A-J: Thank you for the positive words Raj. Yes, I hope that is just the case.

@V: That sounded like the final words of a graduation speech. :) Yes, V. Thank you so much!

Sinduja said...

@CHIBI: "even phases of life has an expiry and I had overstayed it..!" - Beautifully said Chibi! :)

I know. I think, actually midst all the regret and sadness, I know its time. At first I thought I would do a PhD - one, because I love research and two, that inner desire to stretch the student phase I guess. But then, I understood that this is the time to go out there and be with all the action in the world. I need to do it. Any attempt to resist this would only make a part of me feel very stale and weak within.

Reading your comment gives me confidence. Thank you! :)

Sinduja said...

@siddharth: There was a lot of coherence and structure in that short comment of yours. You should write more often! ;)

I can't be more grateful for the last paragraph. Hope your words come true! :)

Sinduja said...

@Harish: :) Yes Harish. That thought did strike me at first - that it is possible to hold this exciting uncertainty even while working.

As for the journey, yes, I hope I never get weary of it.

I think you will make a great dad, Harish. Loved your philosophy. You should write this down and speak it someday to graduating youngsters.

The possibility that I will end up going in a path that will bore me - actually this is NOT what worries me. I know that this world presents ample opportunities for me to engage or distract myself. What scares me is a slightly different version of point 2 - where I will understand that I will never get or deserve what I wanted or dreamt of!! :)

And yes, a bit of point 3 too.

Test my perseverance? Sigh. I just hope there is always a possibility that things will get better . Yes! You made things seem more clear to me. I just don't want a dead end in life - where I know there is simply no other better route either. Thanks Harish, for putting things in perspective!

I will try to live by the last words. Actually, that is my next agenda! :)

Susan Deborah said...

Some of my students have completed their course. today is their last exam. I feel a tug and cannot help feeling a bit sombre. But as always, I say to myself, "This too shall pass." It somehow seems that every aspect of life is like that: Transition from being a student to a working professional, singlehood to marriagehood, young wife to mother and so on.

Sometimes one tries to cling on desperately, as you have rightly mentioned in the second paragraph. But what to do, life is like that. I am like you as well and always end up feeling despondent and low but it just lasts a while and I get ready for another parting.

Lovely post as always, dear Sinduja.

Come what may, life goes on and tomorrow you will feel better and recharged.

Joy always,
Susan

The Fool said...

So true. Beautifully expressed. I can relate to every bit of it.

ganeshputtu said...

Wow Sindhu!!! this one hits close to the bone...first reactions? i can see two points jumping straight out at me....your wish to stay in the moment..isnt that the real truth of most of us? find somwhere where we are safe and happy and who would want to leave? but we have to ..there is no other option...and we can either do it kicking and screaming or in a dignified way..only the manner of our leaving is ours to decide...the timing is not....but i have kknown some people who have emotionally refused to leave that cozy place and have remained in their teenage years well past their 40's...and society labels them irresponsible, but are they? dont they merely lack courage to face the world as it really is? instead of sticking to their version of it....as the best cricketers say..you should know when to retire gracefully, before you overstay your welcome?
and the courage to make that transition doesnt come easily...its tough, very tough and it would probably be the hardest thing you do- regardless of the platitudes and empty feel-good words of well wishers like me...you have to find the courage in yourself- no one else can help you do it.

ganeshputtu said...

and i also understand from this post..by your uncertainty about your future that your dad is not an hot-shot industrialist or big businessman...else you wouldnt have to worry like this..the day you graduate you know would be the day you become a CEO. i went through the same thing on my graduation..90% of my batch-mates were 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation doctors and they had their family hospitals and nursing homes to join..their future was mapped put for them...and we first gen people ahd absolutely no clue to what we were going to do the next day after college closed.. i actually went and joined the local NIIT for a computer course to help me tide over the period where i could decide what to do next..but it will happen at some point- you will get a clue to decide what to do...to borrow from superstar rajnikant- every seed has the name of its eater on it....you are a fine aromatic basmati rice seed and you will definitely end up with a connoisseur who will appreciate your taste..trust in providence - it has a plan for each one of us. so dont get scared of getting lesser than what you have planned for. you wont. trust me on this honey. and finally when you say you dont want to settle down and dont want finality...go on, why do you think anything's final? life has a way of surprising us...keep faith.
(p.s. as to missing education - work and education are not mutually incompatible - you can work and you can study- its called contuining education....i too have felt that way and hence i already have 4 degrees to my name and a fifth is halfway through...have fun studying- it keeps your brain young)
(p.p.s.i think i have hogged too much of your space..and it would have been better to write an entire post on this than clutter your comment column...apologies)

Tangled up in blue... said...

Sinduja, this is by far my most favourite post on your blog. Perhaps, because it comes at such a corresponding time in my life, too. I was thinking about how, for me, real life starts here. I am a registered medical practitioner now, I shall soon enough be responsible for all my decisions and I shall go only so as far in my life, as I take the trouble to.

I can't rest on my laurels or on my perceived potential. Now, I must really do all that I've told myself I was capable of doing.

That bit is scary and also more than a little exciting. But then, I tell myself, in my chosen line, I shall be an eternal student - because this kind of knowledge won't stop expanding and I hope that by the end of it all, I shall have, even if in some small way, made my place in the world.

This is where it all starts. Right here.

I want to wish you luck Sinduja but I have an inkling you won't be needing it. :)

Between life's doings said...

I love how you called this post transitions and then go on to talk about this specific transition you are going through. You might find that, after many years, you can just as simply replace this role of a student with significant other transitions. Having said that, I do think this role as a full time student is one that comes with such finality. I still remember the last day at undergrad when a bunch of lovely women (me including :-)) sang this WONDERFUL WONDERFUL song by Vitamin C called Friends Forever (Graduation Song) and burst into tears of love and gratitude. You should listen to it if you get a chance.

Sinduja said...

@Susan: "This too shall pass" - Yes, that one is always a savior isn't it? :)

Thank you for the wonderful words, Susan! :)

@TF: Thank you! Glad you are able to relate to it. :)

Sinduja said...

@Ganesh: Okay, Ganesh, first of all, thank you so much for having taken the time and effort to post that comment. Really.

Sometimes, I think, what is wrong with the kind of people you mentioned - who 'over stay' their phases..as long as they are happy. After all that is the end goal we all want right? To be happy. But again, you are right. I think we can't stay happy for long that way, as Chibi too confessed in his comment.

And for the dad bit, ha ha, yen Ganesh, appava laam idhukulla ilzhuthuteenga? Actually even if he were a guy with big bucks, it wouldn't have helped my case, as I still have little idea on what I really want to do. Like in your case, I think a bit of straying will help.

:) Thanks for the rice analogy. Waiting to see the words in it. You do seem very confident of your words.. I think I will trust them.

Thank again for those really comforting words. Felt like the sermons my friends used to give me when I was upset in college. I am smiling now. :)

Sinduja said...

@K: Ohh yesss! this is the same thing that you must be going through too, right? :)

I have always wondered Karishma about those who study for years to become a registered professional - like CA, Doctors, Lawyers. I mean, you must be quite sure that this is the field for you, right? You could of course, try your hand at minor other things but this is what you will majorly do for the next many many years. I wonder how that feels. Relieved, I am thinking, staying on the other end. :)

Of course, you will still have challenges and new miles to cover but at least you know where to focus your energies on. Lucky in many ways, trust me! :)

But I am glad folks like you do get to do that...else the world will be missing some amazing professionals!

Sinduja said...

@Aarathi: Aarathi..Hi! :) I will definitely listen to the song..though I am kind of postponing it for now because I am trying to distract myself from getting overwhelmed.

Hoping that this transition gives way to better phases.

Gopala krishnan said...

Very nice post, the situation off what next and confusing the mind with/without choices are something terrible at least according to me. Ganesh's comment shows how much he liked the post. i have to cross the similar situation in a year and there is a Post grad Ghost waiting for me to hit and it may help me to enjoy the life for two more years, but for that i need to face some big ghosts from now on. "GATE IS THE GATE"
REALLY ENJOYED READING IT "BEETHIYILA ENJOYMENT"

(THE ABOVE MENTIONED GHOSTS ARE NOT TO INSULT THE STUDIES, BUT JUST TO SHOW THE INCREASE IN COMPETITION MADE IT APPEAR AS GHOSTS)