|Image Credits: Lesley Oldaker|
Scribbled notes tucked away in borrowed items on being returned. Chocolates left on the desk next to the earmarked book forever lying open. A brief voice note enquiring after the result of an interview. Languorous walks taken in a breathless evening, in defiance of impending deadlines and upcoming events.
And conversations, countless conversations. From moments stolen in between droning lectures to hushed whispers across the library tables. Between bouts of raucous laughter over long-drawn meals and quiet retellings in the dead of the night.
You ask for tangible takeaways. There are none.
You disagree. There are the yearly birthday gifts, that trophy from a hard-fought competition, photographs done up in a collage above your bed. Souvenirs bought and exchanged, interspersed with the occasional postcard or letter. A varsity t-shirt bearing your name, the yearbook with testimonials scrawled across its pages.
The curated albums, the saved messages. A digital trail of your acquaintanceship, retraced over and over.
You hold onto them in lieu of their givers. You parse the bits together to bolster your knowledge of them, reduced to little more than mental constructs.
It is another thing that your memories take on a life of their own.
I rephrase. You ask for tangible takeaways, albeit living and breathing ones.
However, your time has come. Who can stay forever?
In denial of their transience, you forge your memories into a touchstone, hoping against hope that it will weather the erosive caress of time.
But you see, oblivion - even for how impactful our vocation could be - is our inevitable reality.
Nevertheless, I take a step back from this moribund discourse. Your memories fan the flames of optimism, keeping you warm against the cold insularity of your current existence, your uncertain future. Your ideals are at their zenith, raring to go. You have found ardour and kinship after years of painstaking effort and proximity. Why should anyone put a dampener on this vital force?
The thing is, it is not the only comfort zone you’ll ever know. You are young, so young.
I say - revel in your takeaways, tangible or intangible, only as far as it leads you to the next door. To another bridge.
For a chapter can go only so far.