Reunions make me queasy. I am not one of those people who had a Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na campus life, I haven’t gifted anyone a kitten (though I still believe that gifting someone an animal is a very contentious issue) and I have never danced with Pappu and Co. at a friend’s birthday party.
I would say that 40% of my life on campus was miserable. For most of my professional degree years, chasing first, a Bachelors’ and then a Masters’ in Pharmacy, I was miserable, and wanting to be someplace else.
Why did I waste a seat? I am still asked.
Forget the seat, I almost wasted my life. What about that?
It has taken years, almost decades to wipe out those memories and make new ones. Why then, would I want to go for a college reunion?
Well, for one, the person who asked me is someone I like and found redeeming in the whole experience, although, even then, he was largely a nerd, and chased the clichéd going-to America-doing- a PhD-finding-a-suitable girl-and getting married-and-living-happily-ever-after-dream. But he had the balls to call a spade a spade, and make no bones about his dream. There were a couple of others too who alleviated my state of misery, but about the large majority, the less said, the better.
There are people in your life who turn you into who you are simply because you don’t want to be like them. Running into such people and their sterile auras is reminding yourself about the ‘you’ that was.
Most were just roll numbers—I know them more for their positions at their lab work stations than their personalities or how they made me feel. And the funny thing is, with my tam-bram memory, I remember each and every one of them. I thought I’ll take the husband along so at least we have each other, but he firmly stated that he had no intentions of meeting my ‘molecule’ friends.
The last time I went to such a reunion, which was eight years ago, I came out feeling like an oddball. I had completely digressed from the field, had nothing in common with any of them, was still single and dating, a concept none of them really understood.
This time, we will be more or less on par as far as marriage, spouse and baby goes, but I still feel like an oddball.
Okay, so I am not giving back to the world of drugs and molecules. I will never find that vaccine for cancer or synthesise that radically cheap drug for AIDS. But I will also not be the one who is responsible for repackaging a vanilla pill and selling it in the market for four times the cost. Or making you realise that ZPTO (or whatever it is in shampoos) is a big thing. I write, therefore I am.
Family reunions are another thing. You decide you must do them, because “after all, it’s family”. So you make an effort to get to the back of beyond to attend your cousin’s cousin’s wedding. You decide you will try and be nice to people who were not very nice to you, or your parents. But when you come face-to-face, it’s the same thing. They still look like roll-numbers.
Happy new year and all that!