Two assignments open side by side on my laptop screen, blocking out my cherished Emma Watson wallpaper… Half a cup of coffee on the table, ignored and getting cold… Retro classics playing on my iPod… The unfinished ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ resting on my thigh…
2 a.m., proclaims my old table clock. Enough time left till morning… yes, I can complete the assignments, I assure myself… after all, don’t I have two and a half years’ experience of last minute submissions behind me?
Suddenly, darkness. A power cut. The usual war of words between the Dihing and Manas hostels begins. It normally lasts for around five minutes, by which time the power returns. But today the darkness lasts longer. The enthusiastic guys from both hostels, after about ten minutes of a good-natured exchange of arguments, seem to have stopped to catch their breath.
I step out onto my balcony. Towards the right, Manas stands tall and proud in the darkness. Early-winter fog is suspended over the vast expanse between Dihing and the sports grounds, creating a spellbinding picturesque scene. I feel like I can stand here forever… As if to deliberately rob me of these wonderful moments, those old questions start surfacing from the back of my mind… each question more haunting than the last:
Will I get good grades this semester? Will I manage to bag an internship? Will Mr. X ever forgive me and consider me a friend again? Will Miss Y finally consider me more than just a friend? Will I find work which I like to do? Will I…? Will I…? The questions keep coming, blocking out the perfect scene in front of my eyes.
Suddenly, someone lights a candle in one of the rooms in Manas. The candle flame attracts my attention, dispelling the questions from my mind for a while. The Elton John number playing in my iPod strikes a chord somewhere: “And it seems to me you lived your life… Like a Candle in the Wind… Never knowing who to cling to… When the rain set in…”
Something about this moment grips me. Yes, the winds in our lives get strong at times, but I suddenly feel confident that the flames of our candles are strong enough to withstand them. The questions that haunt me will not be answered by worrying about them. Life will answer the questions in due course. The flame of life cannot be allowed to be dimmed by worries.
The power returns. The unknown Manas guy extinguishes his candle. He doesn’t know the effect his candle has had on me. Smiling, I step into my room and close the balcony door.