“Main sukoon likhun, tum Ganga kinare samajhna,
Main ishq likhun, tum Banaras samajhna”
It’s strenuous to cope up with things, generally for people like us, who keep their eyes shut and minds open, welcoming all the memories to stay engraved for a long period, and allowing them to make our eyes teary, on a lazy and cloudy afternoon. For almost 20 years of my life, I have been surrounded by the people I knew too well, in a city that knows all of my “first times”, thoroughly. I belong to the ‘City of Joy’, although, my city has witnessed the darkness to sneak in through the cold alleys of besotted serendipity and heavy clouds to permeate so often that the “joy” in this city is on the verge of decay.
I left my city with a bag full of hopes and expectations, only to find those expectations dying one by one. I was heading towards the city of narrow lanes and soothing ghats, Varanasi. As soon as I reached my destination, I heard a glass breaking in my dreams and it left me with nothing, but dismay. ‘Filtercopy’ should stop showing the IIM or KIIT hostels and start showing how wrecked the condition of private hostels are in cities like Varanasi. It was a small room, and it had three beds, one three-storeyed cupboard, one foul smelling bathroom and two roommates.
After granting me a week of disappointment, shattered dreams and gibberish of my roommates, Varanasi permitted me to have something new, which I had never been bestowed upon in my life before. I found a group of people of my kind and my life was never the same. Student life is incomplete if it doesn’t contain a pinch of excitement, jealousy, heartbreak, melodrama, sexual desires and addiction. Soon, I found myself the person I had been looking for all my life till then. Flickering colours found their way through the dead lanes of blacks and whites of my life. I found red and blue, playing the festival of colours with the chaos inside me when I relished the sweet freedom, laughing with that group of 20s and a cigarette burning in between my fingers, all high and so in love with the hours of darkness in Varanasi. I was the wallflower and they, a bunch of sophomores. So, their days in Varanasi were gradually coming towards the end and the more we got closer to the climax, the more I could feel the colours fading out little by little. I felt a deep pang inside my heart, as I heard the final call and the last train left the station.
I never thought that my life planned something so special, so beautiful and kept these gifts of happiness in store for nearly twenty years. In the unpredictability of my life, I was also afraid of losing the only happy times that made me recognise the self I was abandoning for too long. Varanasi seemed empty without them, but my student life has no regrets anymore, it is now full with good memories, an eventful hostel life, five colourful people to unburden myself when I feel heavy and a ‘Sunflower’ to share my 3pm dank memes and this wonderful life with.
So, if you are still afraid of staying away from home, or leaving your comfort zone, honey, this story is for you. Life is much more than sharing your days in the same toilet and having just the homemade food. Life is akin to a bird, let it fly higher, don’t worry, it will find a home of its own.
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Written by-Anuja Das