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So I finally bid goodbye to the lush green haven in Guindy that was all but my entire world for five whole years. Five years. That’s a long time. Enough to fall in love with a place. And out. And in again.

I have always resisted the temptation to write about the place, for fear of never fully being able to express in words what it means to me. And I am afraid I am going to do so yet again. No, this isn’t going to be a lyrical prose on the place that has shaped many a thought in the impressionable minds of so many early twenty somethings such as myself. There is going to be no waxing of eloquence. There is going to be no showering of superlatives. There may be fleeting mentions, at best. Notes on blackbucks that lock horns or on crows that sit of spotted skins of deer that graze and laze, or on monkeys that grump, jump and hump – sometimes all at once. You may come across a reference to the astonishingly good looking girls on campus or find your mouth watering as you read about the delicious mess food. There may be a remark on the scorching heat or the soul drenching humidity. But this, trust me, is no trip down any nostalgic lane. Much on the contrary, as you’re about – if you’ll have the patience to hang on – to find out.

The last few weeks of a stay in such a place can, as you can imagine, be fairly emotionally charged. So, although in certain bouts of intellectual narcissism I had imagined myself staying rooted in the moment and enjoying every bit of the experience, things weren’t all rosy towards the end. My final year project had dragged on a little bit, as certain final year projects have a way of doing. And as I helped friend after friend pack their things for the last time in the institute that we’d spent the last half a decade together in and saw them off in their Fasttrack cabs, wondering all along about the place and time – if any – of my next seeing them, I would be lying if I denied the presence of a growing restlessness. And so, harsh and unsexy as it sounds, the bare truth of the matter is that my heart was filled with a sense of relief as I alighted the Dadar Egmore Express one fine morning in early June. There was a slight drizzle pouring down; Mumbai was in this little period between the unbearable heat and the floods-all-around phase. Enjoy it while it lasts, I said to myself.

I now sit on the sofa in the living room of my parents’ house. We have some white and some yellow lights and I like sitting here alone in the night with just a one dim yellow light on. I stare across the balcony at the mountains of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, my eyes unblinking for a long time. The only noises in the background are the whirring of the fan and the slight whisper of the telly. The setting is almost serene. I take a deep breath in and close my eyes. I open my eyes and we have time travelled a year into the future. I am still sitting on the same sofa. The yellow dim light still shines – a little dimmer perhaps. The mountains haven’t changed. The whirring of the fan and the whisper – though now emanated from a Panasonic plasma as against the previous Onida telly – are the same. It’s still serene, the setting.

Much has happened over the past year. Can there be a few blog posts describing the more absorbing of those happenings? Sure, there can be. Have there been any? No. Will there be any? It’s hard to say. Fingers crossed. Hope is everything.

– Nirav