Sunday, 5 June 2016
We never moved on, did we?
We never moved on, did we?
I first met Aaditya on the third day of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore; a lean thin figure, standing outside the hostel’s gate, playing with a Gold Flake Lights in his fingers. He was looking for something, and it just happened that I knew what it was.
“Here,” I said, passing him the lighter.
“Arre thanks bhai, forgot mine one in my room,” he grabbed it, visually relieved.
After inhaling the smoke deeply, he looked at me for a while. I don’t know what it was, but that very moment, I saw a reflection of myself in his eyes; I somehow knew at the very moment that we had a lot in common. Of course, I had no idea till then what it was.
“Aaditya Rao,” he extended his other hand towards me.
“Shubhang Saurav, multimedia. And you?” I asked.
“Broadcast,” he said, puffing out the smoke, “But I might change.”
I nodded. That was the first time I met him, and I knew he won’t be just another batch mate. We were destined to see a lot of things in next 10 months, even after that, together.
IIJNM was hectic, it was scary, it was exhausting…. And it was fun, it was an experience for me like never before, not even the four years of my grad college. It had been only two months and I already had some really good friends.
I liked the work here, and the professors, and the people, everything. Very soon, I was too busy and preoccupied to think of anything else outside of the place. After work, it was friends and then next morning, it was work and classes again. Life was going pretty smooth. I loved people here, they loved me back.
Aadi had become one of my first and best friends at the college. We hardly had anything similar, but still, there was an unseen, unexplained bond tying us that I hardly felt even with my old homies whom I knew for years.
Later on, Aadi and I found more like-minded people and though we never did any grouping sort of thing in college, it just happened that we started to hang out together, a lot.
One day, I can’t remember which one, we were sitting outside the college premises, on a stone parapet. I remember it was windy, with dark clouds engulfing the whole sky. There was a mystical silence, though it was just evening. I was in some deep thoughts, again, can’t remember exactly which one.
“So people move on, after the break up, right?” I just shot a random question at Aadi.
He stared at me for a while and asked, “Yes, when it doesn’t work, people are left with no other option. But what you think of moving on?
“I dunno,” I shrugged, “It means you are over the person and ready to continue the life without him or her, right?
Aadi smiled at me, “Well, there’s the problem.”
I didn’t get him, so I just questioned him, silently.
He continued, “This whole moving on thing. You know what I think of it? It is just a part of the new age trend. ‘My boyfriend doesn’t treat me properly so have to move on.’ ‘My girlfriend flirted with other guys, so moving on was the only option I had.’ ‘My life is very complicated right now and I can’t handle the relationship. Had to move on.’”
I couldn’t stop laughing at his mimicry. “So, what exactly you want to say brother?” I asked him, still laughing.
He smiled again, and said, “Beware of people who love to move on. Because usually they are the ones who have absolutely no idea what the term means and who don’t hesitate to disrespect a person for loving for them.”
Honestly, I didn’t understand back then what he wanted to say. I mean, move on or not move on, it’s a simple human element, right? Now I think of it, how wrong I was!
So life continued in IIJNM and me, Aadi and other three of our gang made a lot of memories together. We travelled to places, we laughed, we went for movies, we laughed more, we worked as the support system of each other while laughing a lot altogether.
With all the laughing and hanging out together, when the 10 months passed, I didn’t even realize. Before I knew it, graduation caps were being thrown in the air, everyone was hugging everyone with teary eyes and bags were being packed in the hostel’s rooms.
“We are going to be like this, forever. No matter whatever difficulties come in our life, no matter how busy we get with our works, we will keep meeting,” one of us five said, sobbing. I had got her luggage. “We will be best friends, forever. Promise,” I said and due to some unknown reason, looked at Aadi. He was looking back at me, smiling.
I don’t know why, but his smile gave me goose bumps. It was like, he was saying something, reminding me of something, and I was unable to grasp it.
Well, soon we were in different cities and I completely forgot about it. I talked with Aadi often, though it used to be just on the telephone. Meanwhile, I continued getting closer to one of the five from our group as we both happened to be in the same city.
Aadi was alone, I knew it. He had no one in the city where he was. But I was too busy being happy with the other friend and mostly I ignored his calls, never paying much attention to what he was saying, or whether he was troubled by something. I mean, c’mon, I had a job, another person in my life and something to look forward too. I couldn’t have always been there for him, could have I?
As they say, the wheel of fate keeps rolling. In few months, where I used to be one of the happiest person on the earth, several circumstances compelled me to turn into a depressed, sad man. All in a matter of few effing months. She left me, I had troubles at job and found myself all alone; no one there for me.
After days of suffering, I finally managed to make peace with myself, thanks to one of the other among the five. She was always a constant support and made me realize that there are some who just never leave your side, no matter whatever happens. It won’t be wrong to say that I am more than grateful to have her friendship with me.
Miraculously, Aadi shifted to my city. He had got a job here. It was a huge relief. I still felt alone and sad and depressed, but at least, he was there. We both had different work shifts at different organizations. Hence, we hardly used to get time to talk for much long. However, his presence helped me to recover significantly.
It was a Friday and it was raining heavily. Looking out of the glass wall from my office cubicle, a thought suddenly hit me. I called Aadi immediately.
“Let’s go to IIJNM tomorrow? It’s Saturday,” I asked.
He didn’t say anything, just an “OK.”
We reached the college by afternoon next day. It was heavily clouded, with good signs of rain. Entering the college premises, I habitually ran my fingers on the railings of first floor staircase. The building was the same, the corridor was the same and the trees outside the campus were same too. But something had definitely changed.
All of a sudden, Aadi started to sing. It was a song named “Khamoshiyan” from a movie of the same name. I had never heard of this song, but the lyrics, teamed up with his voice, left me speechless. It was an intense moment, and for the first time in months, I realized I was happy for a while. Why? The college, this very college, my own college, it was here for me, it will be always here for me, whenever I will need its embrace. It will never leave me, nor did a few friends, like Aadi and that another one from the five.
That very moment, I also realized something else; I never moved on. It was shameful. Moving on is the need of time, to progress in life, to be successful. How come I didn’t move on? Does it mean I was a failure? Does it mean I was a weak-willed pathetic excuse of a human being?
Lost in these thoughts, I exited the college premises and unknowingly walked towards the same stone parapet where our conversations used to happen over a cup of tea and cigarettes. Aadi was following me, walking slowly behind me.
It was windy, with dark clouds engulfing the sky. With a shock, I realized it was like the exact day when we talked about the whole moving on thing. I looked at Aadi, and unsurprisingly, he was looking back at me, smiling.
After staring at the sky blankly for a while, I said, “I didn’t move on. I feel like I still belong to this place. It’s just like a year ago.”
“And why you think you haven’t moved on? Any particular reason?” Aadi asked.
“Well, so much things happened after leaving this place. But still, now I am here, it seems like none of them happened. I am still the same happy guy.”
“Do you feel happy?”
“Yes, of course. I am actually feeling happy after ages.”
“Then you have moved on.”
“But I miss…”
“Doesn't matter, you are feeling happy, right?”
“Well, you surely have moved on.”
I stared at him. Had the guy gone mad or what? What was he blabbering about?
Looking somewhere in the distant, Aadi said, “You see, for most of us, moving on is just like a fashionable trend. These days, people love to flaunt the trend of moving on. They look forward to even tiniest of reasons to move on. It makes them feel cooler about themselves, it gives them a fake pride of self-control and self-respect. They don’t care about other people involved while moving on. The level of selfishness is so intense with such people that for them, nothing can be more important than their own life issues. They don’t even care about those who want to help them, who want to be with them, who want to share their burden. No, all they just want is to follow the trend blindly, without ever grasping the real meaning of the term.”
I was silent for a while. Why, every single word of his was true. My mind was still absorbing the fantastic speech it just heard.
“So, what is the true meaning of moving on?”
“What you are doing right now, it’s called moving on,” he said smiling.
I didn’t answer.
“Well, it is all about happiness. If you learnt to make peace with it, and you cherish the good moments of past rather than dwindling upon the bad ones, that’s when you move on. People who are keepers know the real meaning of moving on. And you my friend, are a keeper,” Aadi patted my back.
I didn’t completely get what he said, but it was soothing. I think he was right. People like us never move on, at least not in the way that most of the world defines as moving on.
We are happy and proud. Though we miss the gone ones often, we regret nothing. Besides, IIJNM is there for our likes who refuse to change, always…