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pause,rewind and fastforward
when life gets tied up and confused,when your lost because you cant find the solutions to your own questions.You seem to be starting and ending at the same point,come back in circles again and again..You know your friends love you,but fear,anxiety and probably self depreciation is what makes you hate them.Your simply,stuck in reverse.
Thats when,you must just leave the chemistry,wash the colour off your hair,make your best friend a birthday movie and pack your bags for a continent 16 hrs away.
Summer,beautiful,moving and monumental
Continental airlines definately has the knack of making you feel "economy" with the uncomfortable seating,ruthless baggage restriction and a crooked,rude smile by the attendants.
Nine minors were flying,and when your hugging your friends at one moment on the airrport,its almost like tearing yourself apart to step on that flight,leaving all the cocconed,well enscunsed embraced world far,far behind.
Then,one realizes exactly how pampered they are,when thay fill their own immigration form,stand in a line for baggage check in,look at the prices next to the food lined up on the menu card.Realizing,is probably the first thing I learnt,realizing the value of money,of time,of age,of friends,of family and of relationships.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder afterall,thats what you know,the last few phone calls,the last hugs,last kisses..that one cherishes.
Landing,more than excitement,was relief..after sixteen continuous hours of night,it surely seemed like some bright new light.
Newark airport,smaller than JFK was probably the first thing I noticed,immigration was comparitively fast considering we landed in the wee hours of the morning.America,accompanied by the limo,a chauffer and wisp of clean air won my heart,well,yet again.
Dreaming is one thing,but when those eyes full of hope,reach the gates of your dreams,life almost seems too good to be true.Princeton university,serene,mesimerising and enchanting.
The one hour search for Whittman courtyard,the missing jaideep,non-funtional cell phones,everything..was made worthwile in that one glance,that one marble arc,the huge script that read."yes".
Wanda and the nurse got us through into the office,which,we later realized was off limits to us..ironical..we walked to nassau binged at Thomas sweet..bliss.After a long,tiring registration process..begging,fighting and whining for desired courses the first day at the summer institute for the gifted and talented..ended.Senior girls recieved individual dorms and after unpacking,finally,one felt at home.We had a counseller group of 12 girls,later joined by jazzy and even later by the chinese girls.One came to realize that their dorm sisters were the only family they had to fall back upon.Those girls,who sneak into your room at half past one(sorry ellen),who wipe your tears when you cry for a continuous ten minutes on an international call,who pack your bags,take your towels,give you a makeup overdoze and hug you when your missing home.Because eventually one comes to realize,that that is home.Home isnt bricks and walls,cemented dormitories or empty lounges.Home is running back hand in hand and running fast enough to make your face fly off!,home is macaroni and cheese,home is praying to the ramen god,appreciating the community spoon and forgetting your room keys in your towel,not to forget at 6 in the morning.
These dorm sisters made every moment worth living.kudos to the kumja bunnies.They bought crates of soda,piles of crackers,bundles of oreos and a stock of cd'd just to make this a fabulous experience.Xin,was our counseller,probably the most genuine of the lot,the fastest walker,the most concerned friend,the most understanding teacher and undoubtedly,the best counseller.
The first day at SIG was a surreal blurr,confusion chaos and missing children.Missing because the computer didnt register a change in courses so almost everyone was "missing" from the classes they were SUPPOSED to be in.Mc cosh 48,bloomsberg,dorm,dining hall,whittman,Mc cosh 50..seemed like random words that people saw on those orange leaflets.The scribbled,scratched princeton map could probably be chucked into the bin as everyone had to shift,skip and hop counsellers to TA's to reach classes like blind sheep.
Gradually,like medicine we were introduced to the rules at SIG,which i must say,will NEVER end,no going to the bathroom without a TA,no going to the dorm between classes,no not eating,no sh** (only shoot and poop)..
wow,and we were out for summer.
The first evening was the snake man show,personally I was half asleep,no offence to the snake man,it was just the tremendous jet lag taking a toll on me.I was practically carried back to the dorm..look at what continental airlines does to you.The next morning was hell,new timing,a cold morning,scorching afternoon,messed up hair iron and PILES of college prep homework(my sympathies to everyone who attended that class)The first college prep class included an introduction to our teacher,Ms. Leah M. Wright- white skirt,green top and a rather stunning academic and work experience.She was a princeton professor and once she put that down on the rustic princeton board,we knew what we were in for.Then came lock,pop and hip hop which ms sharon took,what a brilliant class.Though initially made us feel like we were at fittness camp,it was exactly what we needed to not stoop into obesity after fries for breakfast,lunch and dinner.Up next was SAT Math,the class which I was never on time for.Cant help bloomsburg being miles away from Mc cosh 48.Dr Mike was helping us through SAT math,the smarties,a new word a day and some serious competition from kev and Eric made that class worthwile.
Then,was lunch,a chance to meet your dorm sisters after three hrs of seperation,some ate food,some ate icecream,some didnt eat anything.Then,was Word origins,probably the one class with not a single dull moment.The credit goes out to Mrs clovis and Albert.The best teacher and the most sporty TA.Our trips to the student centre,the word quizzes,the scrabble contests,Karl's jokes,Ben's accent,Will's hat and Sophia's sneezes..the BEST class.
Then came the much anticipated Broadway Beckons,the second day itself was audition,but this being my fourth class a day with sophia,we were officially stuck together.We got over our singing/stage fright respectively together.Thats it,run for rec hour,which to me meant communication with the outside world..in simple words:facebook.
A one hour deadline in which 60 priviliged kids who ran fast enough to the computer lab,typed furiously,to update theire friends,family and evryone else..on what was happeining at nerd camp.Then was dinner,I found it rather difficult to eat dinner at 6,which was 3 hours prior to when i would eat otherwise.I mean it was bright and sunny outside and we just had lunch 4 hours ago!
Then was study,a one hour deadline to work in pure silence to complete all the ginormous amount of assignments and tests.
After this,which ended aound 9:45 there was dorm time till 11..and lights out."I am not going to be on the floor alright?..but you arent allowed to walk out of your rooms,BUT IM NOT GOING TO BE THERE"..xin..
soo..thats why we decided to be adventurous and 7 girls rammed up into one room at 11:45 caught red handed "attempting a sleepover" we probably gave our RA a cardiac arrest as we jumped out of various corners and storage facilities of kristy's room.The one hour detention and a fractured nerve due to a bad tooth made the whole thing a serious learning experience.
A week passed,six flags came the sunday moved and then started a fresh new,overloaded week.It was mixed emotions with which the kumja's left the dorm that day,we were first at breakfast as usual but this time walked with arms locked.Sadness of a week gone,and happiness of two more to come.
My second week was hell,the tooth had gone completely insane,the oragel stopped working(which I did get high on),no sleep in the night,and an amphicillin overdoze.But this was the same week which had the first dance..girls running up and down,wearing thongs for the first time,putting on makeup,doing their hair.The casual dance was a hit.We danced non stop for two hours in the hot and sweaty room,walked out ten minutes after that when "beacuse of you" started playing.Damn,when you dont know how you feel,you dont know whom you want to talk to,when you know you must smile,but you cant because you feel like this car crash is happening inside your heart.When Gabby gives you a lecture about just letting it go because its not worth it!but,you just cant help it because all you want to do is talk to avril! you miss sid and paarth and shrea,you want to hug riya,cry cause baher is not on hold and weep because your sister isnt around.But how much ever your eyes search for aditya you can only find abby,how much ever you want to meet priyasha you bump into sophia and however badly you want to talk to nihar all you see is hybrid making out.Then you realize that,this is your world,this is where you are,this is the only place you can be,here,your friends will not call you up and confess their love to you.HERE YOU FIGHT YOUR BATTLES YOURSLEF,HERE YOU CANNOT BE OBLIVIOUS.You have to bond with those people,truly and sincierly.You have to accept drinking that fruit punch,you will have to accept your best friend at camp grinding with a complete stranger,the otherwise 'oh so innocent boy' setting the floor on fire with his dance moves.Thats when you know,you need to let it go,take those shoes off,let that hair down,dont be afraid of looking hot and just dance the night away.Because now is when ficion meets reality.
Life really is not what you think it is,it takes time for people's true colours to show,but once they do,you have to be spontanous and react fast.The next day at the mall was shopaholic bliss,all of the Indian kids and Albert.We truly enjoyed ourselves.That day,my blog was uploaded.There was a real understanding on how things change,how people change,how superficial one can be,how shallow emotions can be.For once I was outside he walls of Raheja Vihar,for once..i saw the world.SIG,gave me a new perspective.Sunday,was parent visitation day,Bir madam took us to NYC,pure enjoyment,I learnt how to communicate with an attendant at the chinese bank who had a thick accent,I learnt how to find vegetarian food for a friend,how the I-phone really is impractical to buy and how,to spend money and KEEP THE BILLS.
This time,NYC taught me that it is humanly possible to walk from madison square garden to the statue of liberty and how even a day away from SIG makes you miss it.The last week had sadly arrived,the last few project hand-ins.And the root canal,explodes..aunt drives in from new york to take me out to the hospital,never wanted it,never expected it.But this is when you learn how to compare family with independence.When your alone you cannot cry if it hurts,you cannot spent 150 $ on medicine and you simply cannot let the pain show on your face.That one night,was recovery night for me.Repair that broken tooth somehow and get back to SIG.The next day,as the pain went down,Eric seemed to be a better dancer,Immi's jokes were funnier,aditya was cuter,kayla was sweeter,tiff sang better,kristina ate more,to realize that I was completely infatuated by this place.The people,the affection,the rules and the bonding.
The hip hop track was almost ready,broadway lyrics were on the tip of my tounge,John fuller played the piano and the performance night had begun.The hip hop track was in perfect synchrony,but mauja hi mauja was the cherry on the cake.The last run into the audience probably intoduced them to a new genre of music.That evening was studded with compliments,and flattery,does,make anyone weak.
Next day was the formal dance,slam books started getting filled "anu makes Ismail smile" "id give you the best indian of the year award".."your my sister"..oh my god,it was ending.SIG was going to be over.
The frequency of phone calls from home increased,the last minute shopping demands came up.But the moment we put our dresses on,The makeup,the hair was done..This time,there were tears on the dance floor,tears of happiness for experiencing what we did,a connection.The formal dance,with leena and simon,anu and victor and a lot more of two's marked the biggest exclamation mark to princeton 2008.
The next day,was all about packing on a deadline,sitting on your suitcase to shut the zip and distributing all your belongings.The slide show finally worked,and I must say,it really did work,it got tears straming down my cheeks,Not the tears that would normaly stain my face,the tears of growth.Sometimes,it is more painful to stay shut in a bud than to blossom into a beautiful flower.I will miss these boys and girls,these people who taught me something everyday,from how to do your own laundry,to change your own dustbin bag to understanding what you like and what you dont.These people are those people who wont physically be there with you,but,are always going to be there somewhere on your mind.
SIG touched the lives of 220 this year.
Suddenly,everything was more beautiful,the cabbie being late didnt affect me anymore,the sixteen hour flight had a celebrity on it(transexual,but still) and I made a new friend on the flight.Why?because for the first time in my life,I decided that its better to do it and face the consequences rather than regretting nevr doing it.his place breaks and remoulds you as a person..just make sure that there's a little residue of the real you left behind.metamorphosis,but preservation.
Here,I realized how lucky I was and how much luckier I became.
There sid,I didnt forget,ten things that ive learnt..
The #1 on the list is,Princeton 2008 changed me.
I grew up.