The life of an engineering student is quite the ride to be on. It has its ups and downs, its straight yet serpentine experiences, its I-don’t–want-to-go-to-class mornings. This morning was one of those mornings, where everything seemed perfect if only I could just sleep through it all. My alarm bell went off, and man, how I hate that sound. It felt like a billion books kept on my head, from the never-ending Kreyszig to the almighty, Godly Van Wolkenberg. Not a happy feeling, right?
My roommate is of the active sorts. Getting up early, working out, playing football and all that jack stuff. You get the point. He was actually pretty good at that stuff, unlike me. I was more of the ‘sloth’. He usually pushed me to go to attend classes, when I didn’t feel like going – which was usually, well, always. He even had three tattoos. I sometimes thought it was stupid to get them. Why ruin the skin? Might as well take a ballpoint pen and start scribbling randomly over yourself. Plus, it won’t even leave a mark for later, pun intended.
So he woke me up, and I got myself off the bed, which was one of the toughest things to do for me, so to say. I took a shower. No, I’m not of the cult of leaving for class, or for any place for that matter, without being clean. I took my shower, got myself ready and off I went. Little did I know that at the end of the day, I’d have learned some meaningful – and for the lack of a better ‘hip’ word, gnarly – lessons. I stepped out of my hostel. The sun shone down on me like a steam shower on steroids. Not cool, at all. I walked on towards the road, off the curb, and slowly dragged myself on the sidewalk.
All of a sudden, I saw this little dog following another student. The student was acting rather impulsive towards the tiny fellow. The guy even tried kicking him away. Yelping, the little puppy ran away under a bench and stayed there. I felt bad, so I bought a small pack of biscuits and fed him. His eyes look up at me as if to say “Thank you for understanding. If only, more humans could.” I knew at that point of time that I’d be buying a whole lot more packets of biscuits.
I walked on and finally reached my campus. I entered the class and spotted one of my very good friends. I went on to sit next to her. Yes, her. Yes, just a good friend. No, it’s not impossible.
“You showed up! Pretty badass, don’t you think?”, she said.
“Yeah, well, I try,” I replied, still a bit drowsy.
“Have you done the math assignment? It’s due today.”, she asked me.
“Assignment? What? When did that happen?”, I said, completely caught off guard. I wasn’t ready for any assignment.
So, since we’re on the matter of assignments, get ready for a rant from me. I don’t get why they have assignments in the first place. I somewhat agree that assignments are meant for us to do ourselves to improve our knowledge and its implementation, but it’s not as if the teachers don’t know that we always have this one person we copy from. Nobody does it for what it’s worth.
Then, we submit them in for marks, which the teachers don’t care about. They give us a zero because they say we’ve copied. Well, then, why in the world give us that task in the first place? It doesn’t make sense. But I guess neither do the things we’re taught since it all flies over our heads. Rant over.
My friend told me about what we had to do. Of course, I could care less about any assignment. Time went by, and each class turned out to be more boring than the previous one. And then came the class in which I was due for punishment. The teacher walked in and asked us to submit our sheets. Once everything was done, he popped up with the killer question: ”Anybody who hasn’t done the assignment?”.
I stood up, knowing I was going to be in deep shit. Everyone looked at me like how people look at a thief or something. I had mixed feelings. One side of me was sort of freaking out, and the other side of me kept me telling myself that I was just way too cool to be writing these assignments. I was asked to come forward, and I did, making way down the room, straight to the professor.
“Didn’t do it? Why so? Didn’t have the time?” He asked me, looking like Hitler.
To be honest, I actually didn’t have the time. I had tons of things to do. Tons of better and more interesting things related to life. I had to sleep. I had to meet up with my friends. I had to watch movies and stay up to date with the latest episodes of Game Of Thrones. I had to sleep. I had to play some FIFA against my floor mates, and then watch a few more movies. Did I mention, sleep?
“Well, sir, I honestly didn’t remember. I was caught up with other things.” I said, hesitating with every word that came out my mouth.
“What things were those if I may ask?” he said in one of those demented, sarcastic ways teachers talk.
I couldn’t tell him the jolly good things I did, so I made up something that went along the lines of studying for a test. Hah! Studying for tests. Whatever. The funny part was that he actually bought it and gave me a day’s extension. Fair enough, I guess, although I didn’t want to do the assignment at all. Cheers to me for getting over that.
On to the last class, then. This one was not really a class. This was war. The war between the urge to keep your eyes wide open and give the impression that you’re listening to the lecture, and the urge to screw everything the class meant and just lay your head down and sleep. Usually, the latter won. This time around, I decided to just get up before the teacher came and walked around our campus building. I’d pay attention. To the class lecture? Hell no. I was already out of there before the teacher even came. I was going to observe the different things everyone did along my walk of peace. Yes, I was just that awesome and bored.
I walked up to outside this class. The door was open. There were stairs right in front of it across the hallway, so I went there and sat. A lady professor went in and started off by saying something that might have involved some bizarre electrical networks. Boy, was she loud?
I noticed the front row. There sat a girl, probably with her best friend, who kept laughing at something every time the professor turned her back towards them. And then her friend started laughing, too. It was funny because they seemed like they had one of those switching buttons. Every time the button pushed ON, they laughed. Every time it went OFF, they stopped. Add that along with the professor turning back and forth, it made one heck of a humorous sequence.
Then, I looked adjacent to where the two girls were sitting, noticing a guy who seemed like he had probably been sleeping ever since the day began. His hair was all ruffled up with his face flat on the desk. I made it a point to gift that dude a pillow. It’s the least I could do for a fellow sleep lover.
In front of where he was, there was a girl who seemed to be writing something, which definitely wasn’t notes. It turned out, she was passing small notes all the way to the other end of the class, where another girl sat. They were exchanging notes back and forth, hesitating every time before throwing their chits over to each other. Being girls, I’m pretty sure they must have been concerned about what would happen if they got caught, but kudos to them for throwing around parchments anyway. Just to make things clear, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just that you don’t find a lot of girls who act like guys, who’re complete hooligans.
This went on for a while, till I looked over to another guy who seemed to be one of the creative types. He reminded me of my roommate, the way he was sketching away on a small diary I saw him take out. He seemed to look at someone every now and then, so I assumed he was drawing another person. I looked and tried to trace his line of view, and it led me straight to a girl.
She had her head buried in her notebook. Her long hair tousled around the ends and gently fell on her face, teasing it so that she would try to flick it away so very softly. She looked up to the professor, listening to the lecture. Me, on the other hand, couldn’t take my eyes off her. You know, the sort of feeling when you see someone, and you instantly feel happy? That’s how I felt right then. She did notice me sitting outside on the stairs and did look a couple of times again until the professor shut the door. Darn, that teacher. Why would she do that?
I made it a point to man up and talk to that girl the next time I saw her. I decided it was time to switch positions. I walked down the hall and looked out the window. The clouds added such dimension to the blue sky. I saw birds flying around and sitting here and there on different branches. The trees added their own essence of colour, with the sun-kissed leaves rustling away as the wind blew calmly over them. I thought something like this would only come to life in movies, but I turned out to be very wrong.
I looked over and saw a couple, sitting on the edge of a pathway that led to the main gate. They seemed to be holding hands, and the girl rested her head on the guy’s shoulder. They looked like they were having the time of their life. I know this whole description may seem clichéd, but from what I saw, those two couldn’t care less of what the world thought of them or what they did.couldn’t care less of what the world thought of them or what they did.
A man dressed in a security guard’s uniform rode past them on his bicycle. He noticed them and gave them a glance, and then looked straight ahead. He seemed to have gotten off his work shift, because I figured he was the same security guard I saw in the morning, standing on the main gate. He always used to check us for our ID cards. Some of us would just ignore the man and walk right past, while others would tap their pockets, gesturing that they had their passport-status ID card in there.
I checked my wristwatch and realised that I should start heading back to the hostel. On my way back, it struck my mind that I wasn’t that bored anymore. It was as if I woke up from a long sleep and opened up to life. I decided to write all this down when I had free time in my room.
Here I am, now. writing everything down. Everything I noticed, I learned, signified the better parts of our being.
Let’s start over.
My roommate did have three tattoos. I understand that I may not be a fan of tattoos, but I also acknowledge that for him, they meant something that I clearly didn’t understand. I remember him telling me he got his skyline tattoo as a tribute to New York City, where he spent four years of his life as a kid. I never understood how significant it was for him, but I do now. He holds those memories with him.
The world has so much hate. The tiny puppy I had fed in the morning was completely harmless. I didn’t understand why the student needed to kick away the poor thing. Would you expect someone to kick you away if you wanted a little something to eat? Animals can’t speak, so they act. The puppy couldn’t literally thank me, but the way it looked at me, I could tell it appreciated me for feeding him. That look of gratitude made me feel good about myself. Why not be kind instead of proving to be nothing but puppets of greed? The security guard you often ignore is just as human as you are. I’m sure you wouldn’t like to be ignored just for doing my job. He does his.
About the professors and their assignments, I now understand that they’ve seen the world more than us. Maybe half the teachers out there are so hard on their students simply because us students don’t understand the struggles of life. We’ve just gotten out to see the world. We don’t know half the principles of survival. I guess, we could just listen to what our teachers try to tell us, for once. I still don’t like assignments, though.
The two girls who were laughing with or at each other reminded me of friendship as a whole. Where would we be without having priceless moments with our friends? I don’t know how anyone could live on without having friends there to help you, fall with you, laugh with you and cry with you along the way. I’d hate to even imagine a world where friendship was nonexistent. I’m going to call up that friend of mine later tonight, and tell her that she means a lot to me. Everyone reading this should do, too.
For everyone who cares about rules a bit too much should learn from the sleeping guy and the chit-throwing duo. Every once in a while, forget rules and just go out and have fun. You may get caught, but then there’s a whole other thrill in getting caught, altogether. Learn to fall asleep and do crazy things. Why would you want to be living a monotonous ‘go-to-class-and-be-quiet’ kind of life? C’mon, be a sport and just have fun, and do a bit of a mischief.
The girl I had found very likeable is still in my mind, as I write this. I’m sure I’ll get another chance to talk to her. When I do, I won’t miss it. So many guys I know feel afraid to just talk to someone they want to talk to. I don’t see anything wrong in it. Look at it this way. How do you know if they’re feeling the same fear out of which you aren’t talking to them? This should go for anything a person wants to do. Don’t keep thinking about something because by the time you’re done, the chances are that the moment will be gone. There’s never a ‘right’ moment. The moment you actually go for it is the right one. Nike said it, and they said it well. Just do it! The boy and girl sitting on that pathway edge must have been stared at and found awkward. The thing is, they didn’t care about a single stare. They felt happy in the moment, and they made it last.
It’s about 11 pm right now. I’m sitting on my bed, typing this out on my laptop. I have a coffee on the table beside my bed. At this point, I’m enjoying every bit of this silence and every sip of caffeine.
If you come to look at it, it was just another day, but it wasn’t. Life isn’t just boring anymore. It’s in everything we do. It’s in everything we can do to make this world a better place to live in. Every little thing we do holds a part of life.
If you just notice these little instances, you’ll know that there’s so much life waiting for you. The only thing is that you haven’t noticed it. Smile a little and cry a little. Listen, look, and live. I’m going to call my friend, now. I’ll tell her I appreciate her. I can tell her that when I meet her, but why not now?
Carpe Diem, my friend.
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