It was in 2017 that I watched Dead Poets Society and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. So, if there was anybody to be blamed for my unreal expectations about life in college, it was Stephen Chbosky. Regardless, my future college was in for a hard time, with me scrutinizing it from the word go and expecting it to surprise me every moment. The 17-year-old me had a bunch of questions, ranging from a simple “Will I be happy?” to a more nuanced “What if my transition isn’t for the better, but for the worse?”. It has been 3 years since then and I would finally like to think I have some answers about me and my alma mater: LSR.
The ‘magic of LSR’, as it is commonly called, is not just restricted to its majestic red walls, which safeguard the voices of some of the strongest women you’ll come across. It presents itself in ways unknown to you. From the gatekeeper to our very own maali bhaiya, everyone treats the place like their own: protective, possessive but proud. The first day of every new session sees them coming at 5 am, polishing the corridors and watering the plants, making sure they present the college to freshers like an excited parent showing off their child’s first report card full of A’s.
As days go by, canteen wale bhaiya starts recognizing you and gives you your favourite samosa from under the counter, even after official cafe hours and guard bhaiya lets you in without your ID card, albeit with the warning that it must not happen again. You smile. Your professors start recognizing you and to your surprise, you actually start looking forward to some of their lectures. When Dumenil tells you about the crisis of neoliberalism and Schumpeter ponders about the banes and boons of capitalism, you finally understand what the motto of LSR, ” Sā vidyā yā vimuktaye” actually means.
‘Dil Chahta Hai’ told us how some friendships remain forever. LSR gave me friends who are fearless, loyal and so so strong. I wonder if I would be half the woman I am without my musketeers by my side. Somewhere between laughing with them in the sunlit corridors and sipping on the extra sweetened Iced Tea of Nescafe, I knew I had found my people.
Planning an outing in the middle of a boring lecture and listening to each other’s same sob stories every day made my day in more ways than one. Would I enjoy my chilli potatoes had they not always barged in to get their share? Would I have endured the endless tutorial classes LSR subjects you to, without cribbing to them the whole day long? Could I have found better people to share my firsts with? The answer is no. Yes, I would indeed walk with them in the dark than alone in the light.
To my past self, I would like to say, “In these 5 acres, you will see the sunrise and you will rise along. You will make memories that tear you up and have gazillions of stories to tell your grandchildren. You will make friends you will die for and meet women you idolize. Don’t hold back, since these red walls have a place for every pair of shoes that walk in. Open yourself to the magic of these walls and watch it give back all your love with interest.”