Edited by: Jai Santhoshi.S
Designed by: Reshma, Niharika
“Everything is going to be okay”
That’s the one phrase that was thrown around the 2020 batch for almost a year now. Something that was pushed away as an event of the distant future has appeared before our eyes in the form of an email.
This incited mixed emotions. While some were enthusiastic that they stopped caring about end semester examinations and began compiling the list of items they had to carry to insti, some lived in denial foreseeing the homesickness, nervousness and the feeling of inertia to change. The two years of the pandemic put us in a hopeless situation, with uncertainty being the resting state of mind. The mail put us in a twitchy situation, with uncertainty surrounding quarantine restrictions, and life in insti after quarantine.
The first step to moving ahead was to compile a comprehensive list of all the items that had to be carried. The feelings were very similar to moving out from your house – nostalgia combined with excitement.
The list also generated a sense of fear – the length and the comprehension, the realisation that you have to take care of yourself and no one would be there to look after your needs – you are finally an adult.
Your heart beats as you wrap the last dress in your bag. Buckle it up. Lock it. Then you start wondering – do you have it all? Did you miss out on anything?
Blanking out is often a common phenomenon in such instances- it takes time to realise that even if you did forget you do have Amazon or Flipkart or even Prime Mart for emergencies. You calm down when it hits and then you realise you are leaving your home city (to a 600-acre campus of course). Suddenly you see your surroundings in a new light. The sky sings goodbye to you.
As the train journey begins, you continue in a train of thoughts, the life ahead of you, the campus ahead of you, a new city, a new language, the culture and the people. You feel the air around you changing, the ambience of the train changing as it slowly moves past the border.
On reaching Chennai, a city of people and culture, you soak in the language of the people from the air. A city that you will call your home for the next three or four years.
On entering insti, it is a whole new and different world. An abode of intelligence and creativity. You see boards reading Chera, Chola and Pandya and remember your history textbook. Your eyes then search for the board of your hostel. On the way, you see a deer, which you initially mistake for a statue and then realise that this is The IIT Madras – deer appear almost as casually as a cat appears in the verandah of your house.
The step into the hostel is a step into loneliness, lasting a week. Empty corridors and spine striking cold and several pairs of eyes yearning for sunlight and greenery. A soul yearning for good food and good times with the virtuality transforming into real people and real fun.
The netted view gradually starts turning into an uncontrollable urge to step outside and experience all that you were waiting to explore. Fall and stand up. Be stupid and crazy. Be everything you could not be online. The fading away of the heart-wrenching uncertainty clears your mind of all the sadistic thoughts. You know you are going to have the time of your life and it’s just 7 days that will fly away.
You are out of quarantine. A new world spread before you. Freedom. Breeze. Sunlight. Deer. (Yeah monkeys too but they are scary). Breaking your legs wandering through the silent and bustling streets of insti.
Welcome to IIT Madras indeed.