Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why do we constantly underestimate the value of 'nothing in particular'?

As I look back on 21 years of (an admittedly uneventful) life, I realise that a lot of my favourite memories (as opposed to the run-of-the-mill best memories) are those of days spent doing absolutely nothing 'worthwhile'. Lazy summer afternoons in people's houses, watching films and borrowing books (some of which I've never returned!)*. Interminable hours in classrooms with teachers boring as shit (a certain Mrs. Kajal Sethi springs to mind in school- all these things happened only in school; by the time I reached NALSAR, worthless classes were used to catch up on sleep). Lazy days after exams ended spent at people's houses watching movies such as Dil Chahta Hai. I'm convinced my fondness for the movie is partly coloured by the day I first saw it- the day the boards ended in Class X, when we were too tired and too relieved to do anything other than flop down on a couch and play the film.

This has gone on in NALSAR as well-arbit** late-night conversations that start sometime about 2 at night and end at 4.30 am- sometimes involving Maggi cooked at 4.00 am. Nights, otherwise insignificant, spent on the roof at NALSAR, either with my little walkman looking up at the night sky, or with a particular friend,talking about history, politics, whether Jinnah was really secular or not- whatever came to our minds. Other nights spent walking around the basketball court- again talking about nothing of consequence. Entire evenings spent at Mama's*** or Shankar's****, sitting around and waiting for the right people to show up- and talking for hours when they did.

They're not memories of wildly exciting events. They're not stuff I can tell people, simply because there's nothing to tell. They are, nevertheless, memories that gladden my heart, and bring a smile to my lips- and that's what's important, right?

Or maybe, I'm just a lazy lump of flesh.*****

* Let me clarify this: My official position is that books, once borrowed, have to be returned. Promptly. Unfortunately, some books just seem reluctant to go back. If you're wondering what happened to the books I borrowed nine, seven, three, or one year back, then re-read the official position.

** College slang in India- originally derived from 'arbitrary'. Also, random.

*** A shop on campus for groceries, pens, and foodstuff of dubious age, flavour and hygiene, owned by a man of Mercurial temper and a habit of filling large yellow notebooks with large sums (some of which are definitely fictitious) of money which is owed to him. This habit leads to the number of people visiting him declining as the semester progresses, and ultimately leads to him hounding those who owe him money in the last few days, thus ensuring they walk around with a haunted air, a la one Lady Macbeth.

**** A little shack outside campus, where one can buy tea, cigarettes, and those 25p. orange boiled sweets you vaguely remember from your pre-and-just-post-liberalisation childhood (and those that your mother told you not to eat, prophesying anything from a stomache to certain death).

***** And quite a lot of flesh, too!


Blogger Alok said...

The "footnotes" are longer than the substance: Indication that someone has spent too much time in a law school and taken himself too seriously.

Get a life.

2:06 am  
Blogger Manav said...

Yes, Alok. It has after all been 4 years.

And, hey, footnotes are fun!

1:36 pm  

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