I left that campus after six years of stay. Very few know the campus as an aquarium of freedom. It is a safe place guarded from the outside world with the walls of invisible bricks. It’s the ideal habitat where you could live in slow-motion. So, people presume that you have to feel a silent beckoning. They ask; don’t you the campus? I am asked to answer that question. I was wondering, didn’t I?
None believes you, if you answer negatively. Everyone seems to expect the other to miss something. Many want someone to miss them. I would like to be an exception. But, am I really one? However, honestly speaking, I don’t think I miss anything or anyone in particular. Because, when I look back, I could see me with many groups without necessarily being essential to any one in particular. Those groups were incommensurable. You were everywhere but not anywhere in particular. You were a non-localized wave function. When you are a floating being, you are bound to be so. Then, the groups you associate with are but short stations in the long stretch of a single melancholy walk. In that vein, life has not changed much. I am still doing the same stuff. The slight difference is that I have to perform, even though I am not convinced about what I have read. That’s called teaching. Lecturing on those which you hardly like in accordance with the plan of someone unknown is, sometimes, teaching. The new place and seemingly new life, consequently, is not novel enough to miss someone or something. I still eat alone. And, if you eat alone, you are really alone.
But everyone seem to miss something. Anyone who says not, is a liar. But I am a liar. To lie is to be creative. And I am creative, occasionally. However, differentiating the creative and non-creative is difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, trusting my story might not be an act of sanity because no one knows, the narrator included, which part of the story is untrue. When you can’t know what is not-true, you can either believe everything or reject everything. But we, as intelligent rational believers, tend to believe selectively and proclaim that our beliefs are the truth. The proclamations, we trust, effectively hide our motives, which in reality are wide open. Fortunately, biases of the other is also wide open. In effect, we all know each other’s biases while keeping a blind eye towards ours. So, when I, the liar and the narrator bring a story, it’s nobody’s story but only the remnants of an invisible walk. This takes me back to my melancholy walks.
I had long walks in the evenings. I used to walk the same path for some period. But every second walk is novel. Because, I was arguing differently in each step. Most of the arguments I phrased later were shaped in such walks. I may meet familiar faces on the way. We might had a conversation in the last day. But, most of the times, I would fail to recall their name. So, I would share a smile and walk away. Most probably, I do not have anything specific to talk to them. If you don’t have anything specific to talk, don’t talk. That’s my principle. That makes it hard for me to initiate a conversation. And so, I don’t initiate conversations. I know that a gentle “Hi” has the potential to make people feel good and transform relationships. However, I generally fail to time such a “hi” perfectly. Knowing and doing are different. In my lonely steps, I was arguing with someone unknown in a different possible world. I was unsettling firm grounds and on the way I was unsettling myself. I am the Quixote without an accomplice
When I really want to avoid meeting anyone, I go onto the woods. The campus was blessed with areas that was ruled by huge rocks, thorny bushes, lonely palm trees and grandeur banyan trees. There won’t be any noisy crowd in that semi wild. You may meet peacocks, snakes, innumerous birds and occasionally couples in love. I ensure that I would not go anywhere near the privacy seeking couples. Since I walk silently, no one except the birds notice me. Hence I am safe from the disturbed gaze of the occasional couples there. I escape the unfriendliness of such regions before anyone recognizes my presence. In the woods I climb trees and rocks. I love these small trekking. On the top of a steep rock or on a tree, I dream. Silence rules. Thoughts wander in silence. Time ceases. Above the trees, the sun would be winding the day. In the heart of the woods, shadows come swiftly to reclaim their place. But, if it is near by the lake, the top of the rock would be the last place to show you a dark face. From there you witness the casting of a glittering magical net over distance lands. The sun doesn’t leave his presence, even after leaving the place. Slowly, shadows enfold. Nesting birds would signal that it’s time to bid good-by. Then, I too take my leave. In stillness, I walk back. For me, it is not an end of the day. Day and night never end but pause briefly before a transformation. Most probably, it would have filled me with nameless joys and sorrows. After that, sometimes, I walk straight into a bottle of rum. That would extrapolate of the stillness for a while. Probably, this explains my fondness for the burning sourness of rum, which once my friend told me with a smirk, is the only taste I savor without any complains.
If it’s late enough in the night, none except the campus dogs meet you on the road. Dogs in the campus are friendly creatures for they don’t overburden their face with political correctness. With them you feel that you are a ghost who walks. The night roads are entirely different. They show the signs of the season in which you are in. Winter nights are the best. Silence rein the land. Light posts paint the mist. You could spend hours with such a painting. I don’t prefer yellow but the painting a sodium vapor lamp does on the misty canvas of a cold night is something I marvel at. The mercury vapor lamp colours something entirely different. At the edges of white light, the shadows and mist of a winter night moor poetry. Then I may recall the beauty of the light spectrum I have observed in my physics lab. Prisms brought pieces of rainbow to the semidarkness of physics lab. I smile at the equations I have long forgotten. All that happened long back. Specters of the past will generally lead you to old love stories. Thoughts may wander around that rare beautiful face which once burdened itself with my love. I thank her for her braveness to move on. Even though it is almost morning, I wish her and her kids good night. That would then complete the circle. In the campus the roads somehow got the shape of a closed figure. I go back to the room. I would surely fall asleep before the mess time.
So, if you press, I may say, I miss those long melancholy walks. Here, you just can’t walk freely. The roads are noisy. In the night, you know, you are not free enough to travel by foot. In the evening you just don’t find silence. You may visit the nearby beach. But beaches are always crowded. So, go back to the dull silence of your room and eat alone.