When I joined St. Stephen’s, I was convinced that the place was simply a well-packaged myth. That the mince cutlets, the facilities and rich inner life was just the inventions of an efficient propaganda machine at work. But, the charms of St Stephen’s are insidious and creep up on you when you least expect it. A winter afternoon in Rudra court or a summer morning in the cafe are just cliches. Much more important than the scenery and the sandstone is just the simple fact of just being there. The delicious sense of achievement that oozes out of the walls,the comfort of the trees, the soft grass are fantastic because they are evidence of the wondrous fact that I actually made it to this college. I think that’s the one security blanket that has carried me through my years there. And the sense of well being that we all had, rose from the simple fact of having actually got in. So enjoy the time that you have in college, because the same sense of achievement over three years is hard to replicate later in life.
The teachers were great too. In my time, they were young and trendy. One of them jogged to college, another lived in a ‘commune’ and once asked us why on earth any one of us ever wanted to get married. Most of all they taught you to think, to dig deep for deeper layers of honesty if you really want to achieve something worth the name.
I still think about college sometimes. Think about how I and all my contemporaries have trod the straight and narrow, got married, had our kids and got on with our jobs. That’s life, I guess. But there was a time on Allnutt Lawns when we killed ourselves because of the blind empty world, swore we would change it, think original thoughts and build new institutions. College gives you that freedom, that confidence and that dream. And it’s a dream that you always carry around and sneakily believe that you might just realise some day, because, after all you did go to St Stephen’s.
Sagarika Ghose is columnist with Hindustan Times, and had also written a novel entitled ‘The Gin Drinkers’.