Back in 2013, we were just a bunch of kids who managed enough marks to get through Delhi University's English Literature course. Sitting in that class of 63, I was excited and nervous in equal proportions. For the next 3 years, the other 62 kids were going to be my companions.
I had imagined it all, except that I couldn't, in my wildest dreams, imagine the roller coaster ride that it was actually going to be.
I scanned through the whole class, trying to come across people I might fit in with. Luckily, they all looked as confused as me.
We're all in it together, I told myself.
And that's when a girl with the fanciest shade of blonde hair sat next to me. While she settled herself, I tried to break the ice by asking her where she got her hair coloured from. As one topic lead to another, I was pretty sure I'm going to be friends with her. From her taste in music to her cluelessness about the notes we were supposed to have, Priya and I were literally riding in the same boat.
And then she introduced me to Sidharth, the guy with an accent and a love for reading. On the first day of college, I had my evening tea with these two strangers. What I didn't know was that these are the people I will be sharing my evening tea with, every single day, for the next 3 years.
Right from Day 1 of Semester 1, we were inseparable. The three of us were always up to something. Whether it was dancing in the middle of the cafeteria or lying at home just for a clubbing scene, we were always making plans. Usually, we made two sort of plans:
The first were the kind that gave us bad photographs but amazing memories, the kind of plans that involved us supporting each other after too many drinks, the ones that meant we could get into legal trouble and then there were those, that always make me laugh when I think about them.
And then there were the other kind of plans, the one where we were three ambitious kids. Priya wanted to go to Bangalore for media studies and Sidharth had always wanted to study somewhere in London. We would sit at random roadsides in the middle of the night and discuss our future. I was so happy to be surrounded by people who were so motivated to do something.
Isn't that how all friendships are? Part stupidity and part motivation?
You know you've got the best bunch of friends when you can be absolutely crazy with them and at the same time, discuss all the serious things. But then again, time has a way of changing things. The friendship may stay but its nature may not be the same.
Three years were all about 'us'. We were there when Sidharth's sister got married, we were there when Priya's dog passed away and they were there for me when I almost failed my second semester. Whether it was notes, late night exam queries or what seemed like an unending dilemma of what to wear, back then, these two were always just a message away.
Till those 3 years passed and man, did they go by too quick.
Priya is working in Bangalore with a media house and Sidharth is doing his Master's from a college in London. When I got to know about their achievements, I was exceptionally happy. We'd grown up together after all. My friends who turned into family were finally realizing their dreams and like the previous times, we were going to do it together.
But the thing about a few friendships is that they need time and maintenance, something that is not possible when there is distance involved.
They managed to pack their bags but forgot to take our friendship along on their journey.
I hardly talk to them now. We try to meet up whenever everyone is in town but it isn't always possible. When we do talk, our conversations aren't as deep as they used to be, and no one really pulls off anything crazy anymore.
When people would say "College ke baad kaun dost rehta hai", I always thought it's crazy talk. But now that I'm not going through my teenage angst and have gotten a taste of the real world, I can say that it is true.
Maybe DJ from Rang De Basanti was right, "College ke gate ke is taraf hum life ko nachaate hain aur college ke gate ke bahar, life humein."
Because nothing else would explain my two best friends abandoning me.
Friendships are funny like that. You feel worse about a friendship ending than a break-up. And when those friends who you've spent a long time with just go away, in bits and pieces, it can make you feel alone. The city you've painted red with all your nights of debauchery seems so huge and the world you had plans of conquering seems so shallow.
And maybe in our attempt to conquer the world, we did go in our different way, leaving the three college kids we called 'us' behind for another half-hearted reunion.