Semesters with a Side

4 minute read

We go through jars without realizing their capacity to contain more than liquids, millennial cakes, knick-knacks and loose change. Stationery is capable of speaking in more ways than it is perhaps intended to. Snacks converse with more than grumbling stomachs. Objects have inbuilt metaphors bursting with stories of their shelf lives. This is an attempt to incorporate their function with the trajectories of those they help function.

Physical Setting: Semi-clean table in Hansraj College’s Canteen

Chronological Setting: A Saturday afternoon but imaginatively spanning over six semesters



The Classmate notebook is decidedly-half empty, violated with aimless doodles absentmindedly used to wave away specks of time. Its dogeared edges give it a look of weariness similar to its owner’s expectations. The first day it’s surrounded by felt pens from all hues of the spectrum, a situation as daunting as it is tempting. Uncertain of the parts the highlighters might choose to glide on. Wary of the labelling tendencies of sticky notes. Like the overly adhesive page flags, certain thoughts cannot help but wander into trembling fingers that leaf through a dear book. Maybe the next half of the notebook will finally witness colour.



The mystique of a Polaroid lives in its definitive, overexposed quality. Do-overs are not indulged in, skin is overexposed, hair stamped darker than eyes remember them and eager smiles caught in an unforgiving physical evidence of their existence. Similar to the memory it attempts to capture, it is saturated. Nostalgia dwindles to grasp on to selective flashes, recreates entire days in terms of those fleeting moments, a Polaroid pinch shrouding whole servings of digital albums. Later, these flashes live on displayed on refrigerators and vision boards, like accolades for summing up entire trips in 46× 62 images.



The yellow tube of Maybelline kajal has previously lived inconspicuously with gel pens and Camel pencils in school pouches. Dress codes scared it into hiding as the yellow drowned in a sea of blue and black. Kohl is not meant for eyes that steal away from gazes. Its bold ink flirts with the tinkle of silver jhumkas. It publishes nonchalant tales, the kind that are in-your-face in every sense of the phrase. The charcoal often leaves residue of its courage, like any good tale aspires to.



As it so happens, the farewell video gets put off till the last unavoidable moment almost in prayer that ignorance will eliminate the need for it. Photos are gathered, videos fished for most recollections with no space for the creator in them. Emotionally manipulative music garnishes montages that aspire to cause mascara-laden faces to smudge. The last slide sums up the all-too clear purpose with ‘’Goodbye,’’ contradictory to assurances that any such parting is nowhere near.



Where snacks are concerned, Little Hearts doesn’t believe in subtle packaging. Dunked in milky tea, the pieces sometimes break off, too fragile to soak the overpowering liquid surrounding it. The mushed remnants of sugary promises become visible at the bottom of the paper cup. Ideally, one packet serves two, but it is a tough task to find enough heart for that sweet sacrifice.



There is a pressing social need to declare safety pins to be the unsung heroes of farewell events. They cheer on the expensive folds of saris, concealed backstage yet masterfully holding the act together on a novice body. These metallic marvels connect more than silk fabric by clicking into place securely. You start off with a pack of them, shedding them mysteriously along the way until a few remain to exhibit their metallic glint, somehow as striking as the embellished borders. That is when, for the remaining day at least, the safety pins seem immune to rust.

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