I was never able to eloquently fantasize about college, for lack of courage and nervous anticipation. I was prepared to accept anything I was offered, but I could never entirely tell my parents what it was that I was looking for even after I had applied for colleges. I was a student of commerce, and I was greatly disillusioned.
I remember senior secondary as disassociated from its institutional mandate of education and learning. I had teachers who knew their textbooks well, but that was all that my school offered. There was never a moment where I felt I was told something precious or profound, save the English lecture. There was no romance. Perhaps, it was not a collective need, but one specific to me. There was diligence, but there was no humanism.
My parents loved Montfort. My mom often says it was her dream and she seemed to worship it. Studying there was a slightly different reality. It was controlling, obsessive about proper clothing, proper hair, proper language, good attendance, good academic record. It was a very bleak environment, there was never any excitement.
My parents were incensed when they learnt I wanted to study history in college. I wanted to study the arts earlier too, but my school hadn’t heard of such a thing. They didn’t have a humanities section and I didn’t have the untrammeled conviction to parade myself to a different school for the sake of subjects I hardly understood, thanks to the social science teachers dedicated to rote learning and moral policing.
However, two years of business studies and accountancy, and I became sure. What remained to be done was a showdown, a pitch battle with my parents. My accountancy tuition teacher and I even considered preparing a powerpoint presentation to proposition them for history.
I was a good student in school, but I was not interested. That changed with Ramjas, or perhaps, that changed with history in Ramjas. I was promised shock, it seems, with the double transition I was making. But I was begging for it, after the antipathy of senior secondary.
I often describe Montfort as a time in my life when I was living under a giant rock: ignorant, restricted and lost. But that is an assessment I became capable of making when I came to Ramjas. I witnessed things and that itself began to change me. There was a lot of identity crisis and anxiety. The erstwhile elaborate time allocation schemes started to wear off when the flexibility of college began to materialise, and the pressing voice of school teachers and their dictation started to fade.
There was also a very specific fear that came with not having the slightest notion about the two years worth of history that others in my class had studied and knew. I was scared and I didn’t understand much, but I heard professors lecture passionately for hours; saw students sit in the hallways and corridors talking about ethics and politics, clothing and romance, debating with professors and among themselves, met people the likes of whom I had never encountered before. It was not a new world, it was an expansive one. It was diverse and it was romantic, being in that place was exhilarating and wonderful. For the first time, I felt like I was learning and by and by, falling in love.
One full year I have looked on, and for all that it offers, it demands openness. It is a spectacle for me, but for it to be real, it needs to see me think and it needs me to unravel.