My MIT Journal

By Rohit Venkat

Note: The journal below is lengthy and a bit boring so put up with it without cursing me 😛 

It was a little past 2 in the night, a cold night with temp being at 10*C. The silence was deafening. Not a sound to be heard, except my own quiet breathing. The moon which had been high up in the sky earlier had now descended among the firs, causing them to glow with a certain eerie light. They swayed like hooded phantoms, bemused, as if, by the ancient secrets they withheld. The stars twinkled knowingly. Cool breeze rustles my hair as I pen down my thoughts sipping the tea occasionally. As I write this article, I recollect the 10th of May. I regret it every single day of my life. I messed up big time, two years of dreams and endless hours of preparation gone down the drain and my dream of entering the IIM will remain a chimera.

Yes, I wish for a time reversal machine right now even though I can’t get it. Well, not on Earth! I probably can’t express what is on my mind now, because I don’t know it either.
Fate had other plans for me and I ended up coming to MIT. Also then I vowed to myself that it was the last time I let chance dictate my life…..  As William Ernest Henley very wisely wrote

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Black and white pictures of all these months at MIT clouded my head. I remember the 1st day of my college, technically the 6th day of actual college as I had reached MIT and to my horror it didn’t even have a gate or even a name board to announce of its exaggerated reputation. Frankly speaking my heart was on the verge of suicide then and there while my mind whispered, be strong. Then came the hostel. I bet, it would depress out even a happy living soul. I started to sweat as I wondered for the nth time whether choosing MIT was a wise thing to do (I even wonder about it now!). You are SCREWED screamed the mind, be strong whispered the heart. As a battle raged inside, I reached the classroom, 20 minutes late on the 1st day itself. I cursed myself for it. Well, the rest of it is a blur and I snap out of it to come back into the present.

 I reach out for the tea in the flask in its precise shades of brown, infused with extracts of lemon grass and a bit of cinnamon to spice it up with and exactly 2 spoons of sugar. One sip of it and my thoughts start to drift in another direction.

Everything I had learnt at home in the last 18 years was put to the test. How clean/punctual/virtuous (?) can you be without your mum looking over your shoulder? As the days passed my life grew more monotonous and as if it couldn’t get worse, thanks to hostel cleanliness, I was stuck up in hospital for 2 weeks – Down with dengue.
THEY SAY TIME FLIES WHEN YOU ARE HAVING FUN. In the 1st semester alone with 6 courses two of them practical, time was a snail and comatose fun was conspicuous by its absence. Then came the twist. I got to meet the polar bear (i.e Arun) 😀 or the smart ass as I refer to him these days and later Deepak the clinomaniac 😛 (I can name a few others as well but I wish to stick to batch 8 dudes) and life did change for better. Bunking became more of a hobby than an occasional undertaking. My view towards college and engineering did change a bit.
The collective noun batch 8 is one which could be described by euphoric metaphors and twisted similes but in simple terms it was insane fun and utter chaos. Though 70 odd of us came from different schools and places. All secrets, sorrows, embarrassments, assignments or test answers we know, were shared! Not to mention few teenage romance stories!

Friends who have spent all their lives in places all over TN use ‘AIYO’ in their conversations with a frequency that truly warms my south Indian heart. My friends had (or should I say took) the freedom to flick chocolates from my pocket and offer me a tiny piece (Yup! I had truly caring friends). My friends had (again took!) the freedom to make random phone calls at really odd times and say “Sup, dude”. In fact I can proudly say that our gang had the Midas touch. Last but not the least, there were those diabolical monsters – the exams. Their one aim was to ruin our lives; some sadistic pleasures in watching us cringe with fear when they came close. The day before the exam saw all of us becoming nocturnal, drinking cups and cups of coffee (and other things which I do not wish to elaborate on) in order to stay awake. We memorized that last formula or lesson just as the sun broke through the clouds and entered college hoping against hope that the room in which the question papers were kept ‘accidentally’ caught fire and all the question papers were ‘tragically’ burnt. When that didn’t happen, we resigned ourselves to our fate and wrote the exam, all the while cursing the time we spent on the phone or watching TV before the exam and making lofty promises to ourselves of studying seriously for the next exam; promises which, invariably, were forgotten somewhere in between the two said exams.
The results were followed by tears, anger, and then finally consolation at the thought that we were made for better things in life than to do well in exams. After all, didn’t people like Steve Jobs (God bless his soul) and Abraham Lincoln do badly in college and school? And since they were our role models, it followed logically that we needn’t study for exams to do well in life.

Back again to the present I realize my tea was getting cold and I gulp it down in one go, and I start thinking about what’s in store for the coming days at MIT

We have already split. Each one with their own path scattered like dry leaves from an old tree with nothing to hint our connectivity. As the wind strengthens, it will take us on new adventures to explore new worlds. Some will settle down in their niche while others will be carried away to cross further distances. Irrespective of how it seems to the outside world, we know we belong to the same old tree “batch 8
Years from now, when we are all strewn in different parts of the world, each one with a different job, with a different lifestyle, with an entirely different look, it is probably then that we will cherish the little jokes we played on each other, the petty fights we had, the stories we made up and the crushes we had. Sometime later, when you look back you will find a lot of faces adorning your life journey. Some of them almost forgotten, some of them hated, some of them fresh and livid. Some other faces remembered with a hint of nostalgia and a sudden rush of longing.
Someday, when we are old and withered, looking out through the bedroom window, enjoying the breezy evening sans company, some of us would ponder over the life which once slipped through their fingers that dare devil 18 year old student with a beloved gang of friends. That day, never for a nanosecond, should you feel that you missed out something, that you didn’t do what you wanted to, that you don’t have enough memories to keep your past alive.
So make good friends, make more memories because at the end of the day, what would we be without these flashes of memories?

Lastly MIT is not the best of the things that happened to me but belonging to batch 8 was probably the best thing to happen in MIT 😀

As I finish the last sentence I get up, stretch up my arms and see that it’s 5. I realise that I spent the whole night writing. The sun slowly starts stirring from its slumber, lighting up the horizon with its beautiful rays and I stare into the sky lost in its beauty.

mit journal

Rohit is an avid reader who writes occasionally. His hobbies are playing ball and gaming. He is also a member of The Box Office. 

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