Friday, 10 August 2012


In the spirit of embracing hypocrisy, I have been going around talking to students in the first year (and their parents, at one point) about life on campus, and dealing and coping. Rooms are full of these eager and bright young faces and I am blathering on about this and that to them. Doling out a lot of 'advice' and seriously feeling occasionally worried thinking about the whole practice what you preach ideal.

Yesterday, I was at a boy's hostel. Mandakini, its called, if you must know. It was fun, at least in some ways. I had my head down (negotiating puddles) as I walked through the corridor to the 'common room.' Many conversations seemed to trail off and stop as I passed through, I realised only later that it might have been because of my gender.  Oh well.

I really thought the boys would be a lot more enthusiastic than they were. In a sense it turned out to be a bit anti-climatic for me. We run a chota loop around this hostel every time. In this past season of marathon training, I feel like I have gotten to know every puddle and root and stone that is in the campus. As we traverse Mandakini, we usually joke about the crazy kids inside.

I like crazy kids, seriously, I don't think the crazy kid in me has extinguished either so I connect with that. As a topic to give structure to my blathering, I chose to speak about multi-tasking, Da Vinci (not the code, the original man himself) and, of course the door-stealer Feynman. "Why Feynman, there are many famous scientists, aren't there?" asked one of the kids.

That was a pretty awesome question. For me. Personally, I love to read Feynman stuff because he is a crazy kid. Seriously, till his dying day, he was a crazy kid. To add to that he is a genius with a sense of humour. But despite all that at the core, the reason I like him so much is because (I think) he was honest with himself, about himself. Yes. About his involvement in the making of the bomb, among other things.

Another person I like, for the same reason, is Fritz Haber. Different war, different weapon, but their post-war philosophical musings and (what I can gather, not having met them personally) on man and machine and war and so on, I really get that. (I didn't talk about him at the hostel, though I talk about him all the time in class).

It could be because of my age. I don't think I bothered about such things earlier. Nowadays, I spend plenty of time thinking about myself. And the whole thing about being honest with yourself, being able to deal with your guilt by yourself, that is challenging. Life doesn't wait around for you, does it? It goes on, even as you grapple with whatever it is you are grappling with.

I am at least am glad that I don't have the burden of being a genius to deal with. My small brain can deal with my small life and go forward. I make resolutions, I work hard at sticking to them. It was just last month that that thing that lurks right under the surface, well, it came up and bothered me incessantly. I have fought it and sent it away now, for now.

Perhaps its not so hypocritical after all. To stand in front of young people and tell them I know. I know they will go through moments, at least some of them, when it all looks upside down. I know that despite being smart, the solution will not be obvious. I know that the right thing to do doesn't change, ever. I know because I have been there, heck, I am still there, everyday almost.

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