EPISODE 1 : AN INTROVERT’S MISERY.
It’s not often that an introvert like me – a person who finds solace in books, whose childhood heroes were not the usual Spiderman and Thor, instead who considered J.K. Rowling, R.L. Stine and Carolyn Keene as his idols, and their places were gradually occupied by Dan Brown, Stephen King and Agatha Christie– goes out of his way, and initiates a conversation with people he hardly knew existed in this world: well, that’s how college life began for me. After the mandatory goodbye hugs and couple of customary tears, my parents left me midway through my orientation, and I knew it was going to be one traumatic day for me, and I was praying that it didn’t stretch beyond a day.
You see, introverts are peculiar species : we say we don’t like people, that we’re much more comfortable in the tiny little space we call our ‘room’ , that we can spend our entire lives with books and some soul cleansing music, and food is more or less an obligation for us – coming to the truth-we’re actually dying for attention, we want people to come and talk to us, we want to hang out in large groups, dance to the craziest Bollywood songs, scream our lungs out to ‘Humma Humma’, but we don’t- maybe because we’re too self conscious, or maybe it’s in our blood ; I can’t say, or perhaps I don’t want to. Nevertheless, there I was, with more than two thousand unknown faces to talk to, and I was absolutely unaware of the protocol.
For the first month, things seemed to be decent enough. Affable people who spoke myriad tongues, good-at-faking-first-impression teachers, and food that was just about fine, the pace and the simplicity of the place were growing on me; but a wise senior had once told me,
“If you’re able to manage your college life, things are about to go bizarre, and soon”,
and that turmoil was brought about by, drum rolls, THE INDUCTIONS.
The horrid Inductions, as one might say, are a way of inducting new people into the numerous clubs and departments my college boasts of. They were more of a mental torture on me by myself than by a third-party. I had to plead the introvert I had resided for so many years to go for every single one of them, something which took immense mental strength, for I wasn’t ready to come out and shout a three syllable word in a room full of people who were perhaps the wittiest and by far the smartest in our country. I wasn’t willing to talk to a couple of seniors about how I’ll be able to contribute, or even enhance the quality of their department. I had never imagined that I’d go and act in front of people and that too, without even jawing a single word – when I had my childhood nightmares looming around my neck. I had always been reluctant to sing in public, well, in the inductions, I blared out my throat, and surely I entertained them all, to say the least. Group discussions had always triggered the panic response inside my brain: here, I forced myself to initiate the discussion, although it deviated quite a bit from the actual topic. I never thought that I’d be able to speak impromptu on a random topic, and you know what , hell I did, and even asked legit(I still consider them valid !) questions to my contending debaters. And lastly, I had never thought that I’d be able to convince a well read bunch of seniors to induct me in a technical department such as Backstage after drawing cashewnut and Usain Bolt when the induction paper had asked me to draw a simple nut and bolt diagram. I still thank them.
Well I’d be lying to my core if I’d be saying that these inductions were merely fun and I got inducted in every single one of them, and the ever so shy boy who hardly talked to anyone, instantly got the limelight and became Mr. Popular of the campus. The inductions were more of a challenge that I had set for myself, because I didn’t want to be that guy anymore who always avoided eye contact with people he met in the corridors, who flinched around girls, or whose only bliss was his favorite book with a cup of chai. I wanted to see myself grow up, I wanted to conquer my fears, and I consider my decision of going to the inductions to be the most significant step of my life as a freshman because, after one year, not only I see myself as a confident person who has, to a great extent, improved upon his blemishes , I also ended up meeting some of the finest talents of our campus, not to mention those maniac friends with whom I’ve spent the entire nights talking – talking about things which more often than not made as much sense as the screening of Rangoon in the auditorium, ranting on the pathetic grading system, and even having deep and insightful discussions on topics such as parallel universe- a universe where all our sorrows wouldn’t even exist, and many such futile yet the most interesting conversations.
Those sweet little memories that I’ve gathered, they’re largely because of those inductions, which forced me to break out of my cocoon and behave more like a human, because we, no matter how much we deny, are social animals. We need people around us and I’ve come to this conclusion that, with them, it only gets better.
It’s something of a talent to be present at the right place and at the right time for the perfect click, and of course remembering to capture it without any fuss. For that, SARTHAK GOEL deserves all the credit here.