Good, bad, happy, unhappy, embarrassed, cool, easy – those were my post-graduation days!!Today, after many years, I still remember the moments as if it was yesterday!
I joined a good-enough college for my post-graduation. On the very first day, we the new joiners were seated in the big conference hall for one of those boring lectures, where every professor/lecturer would talk about the rules, the protocol, their standing, and about how lucky we all were. On the joining day, I was not interested in the prestige of the college, or stuff like that. I just wanted to scan the faces around and see if I could make friends with anybody. I scanned the faces around me. Some of them were talking, laughing, and were having a good time. While some, like me were looking at everybody else with whom they had to spend the next two years. I was seated among a group of girls, who didn’t find it too difficult to introduce, talk, and giggle to each other. I tried to do some talking, but nobody paid any attention, or so it appeared to me. The second day was no better either. I talked to one girl, and was expecting to be seated beside her, but she had changed her place on the third day.
In a few days, it looked as if the entire class had arranged itself, and found somebody to talk to, or make friends with, except me! When you are a college girl, having friends takes a priority over everything else. Being a wallflower is the last thing any college girl would want! Worse than being the last in the class is being left out!
Thus continued my days..me going, sitting alone in an isolated place, just doing nothing, and going home dot on time, when the rest of the class stayed back and had fun. I hardly had a girl friend to talk to. Crushes or infatuations were totally out of question!! I was miserable!!
It was then I guess I made my first friend in months…another loner like me, Selvam. Selvam hailed from a small town in Tamil Nadu. It was easy to see how he remained a loner…he was too loud, too obvious, cracked silly jokes, which all of us were done with by the school level. And worst of all, he tried really hard to impress girls!! Maybe he too knew that the others didn’t like him much, but never showed it. But there was one thing about Selvam that wasn’t so obvious at the start – he had a great brain and a great heart too!! Although initially I kind of was not comfortable with Selvam around (I much preferred one of the other cool guys), I guess I kind of got used to him eventually. Slowly, two others joined our little group – a guy, Subramaniam (Subbu), and another girl Lakshmi (who again hailed from another little town in Andhra).
Slowly, I learnt that Selvam’s knowledge on various matters, current affairs, business, and companies was immense. Not just that – he was able to analyse the market and the business strategies that companies followed. We, the new little group – Subbu, Selvam, Lakshmi, and me used to hold little discussions. Selvam had a way of contesting everything you say, he could argue ‘for’ and ‘against’ something with equal logic. Easily, if you ignore the English-speaking skills, Selvam was the most intelligent guy in the class.
We used to walk the 1 km distance from college to the main road, and talk, laugh, or debate on the way. It was a beautiful stretch with trees on either side. I could feel it – we guys were developing a very deep friendship.
In an effort to impress girls, Selvam would talk too much, and make a spectacle of himself. Girls would laugh very directly at him, some would roll their eyes as he tried very desperately to talk something, and some would even pass rude remarks at him. But Selvam neither understood, nor changed! Not just the girls, guys didn’t like him either. He was not included in any of the committees, or there were even instances when guys said ‘I will quit the committee if Selvam joins’..and so he had to back out. In those instances, I found tears in his eyes.
Here was an honest guy who had a heart of gold..so what if he didn’t know the niceties of life? Why doesn’t the world accept him as he is? That’s the way the world functions I guess!!
The days went on. I no longer was embarrassed of Selvam. In fact I was proud of him.
Campus placements!! Tension everywhere. For a big MNC, all the guys were filtered, until it was Selvam and one more guy. As Selvam was attending the interview, I kept my fingers crossed and prayed that he should get through! It was a huge opportunity. Not just me, the other guys in the class who didn’t like Selvam until then were also hoping that both of them should get through. The big news came to me – both the guys got through!!
Selvam came running to college (as was his habit when he was too excited), found me, and was all smiles. Our little gang celebrated Selvam’s job opportunity in our small way – samosas and chai.
A few days later, I too got placed in a reputed MNC. Selvam was even more excited than me, and was telling everybody he could find and who could lend an ear about how tough the interview was, and how I had managed to crack it. He was definitely exaggerating, but I didn’t mind a bit :-). Even Lakshmi and Subbu were super-excited, although they didn’t get placed by then!!
With friends like that, I honestly didn’t mind being a wallflower.