Life at Delhi University

Dear Freshers, Welcome to the DU Dream

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The university that all of your schoolmates drooled over. Red bricks and skyrocketing cutoffs. Living with the cream of the crowd in the city of dreams, Delhi. What does it take to come far from home and survive this fantasy?

Dream incessantly, asleep or awake. When you’re on the metro listening to high volume EDM’s and the aunty
next to you is squishing and pushing just enough to make it to the last empty seat. Dream, looking at the autumnal hue of the Celtis tree while your professor reads out the last lines of a background reading, you with all the determination of a first-sem-out-of-the-womb of a school cocoon had written on your to-do list to complete last week. Dream, you made it to the interview round of a hard to get into, corporate job recruitment drive like college society. Dream, when you fake smiles awkwardly at a volunteering programme you signed up for, because Freuds super ego can handle your social anxiety in a faceless swarm of people. Dream, when you’re a pile of slob sitting on your undone assignments and dirty laundry. Dream, on Diwali evenings
far from home when fairy lights don’t suffice for your mother’s handmade kaju barfi . Dream kid. You are finally living it: The DU Dream.

Be it the first or the fifth list, you are just happy that you made it to Delhi University. Well, that is nothing but
a half-truth. While some of you are sullen for you got a college far less than what you had hoped for in the last two epochs of your school life, the others beam with unsurmountable joy as they witness the first day and the first step towards the college of their dreams. All this would soon melt into a horizon of memories, a marvel you would look at when the first six months pass by. You, the light that recoils in fright, you don’t even know who you are. You chant that you feel ugly on the outside and worse on the inside. You want to fill the voids
and be whole. You will be soon enough, even if partly so.

In between the rickshaw rides and lose change problems. The rent payment and unpaid internship struggles. The all-nighter study sessions, one night before the exam. The PG ka rukha sukha khaana. The maheene only do baar nahana. The Majnu ka Tila and Humayun’s Tomb. The month-end when dessert is a single spoonful of sugar. The cold coffee and iced tea, the Kamala Nagar shopping spree. The morning classes and Delhi’s unpredictable afternoon rains. The last minute presentations. The resume building and the fans that fall off ceilings. The break-ups and breakdowns. In the thick and thin of it all, piece by piece, it is as if all this time you have been trying to achieve this very thing, to separate the good parts of you from the rotten. You seem to have become whole.

I welcome you to this dream with a strong heart. You, who will stand tall and love the fresh air that comes from
following this ever-onward road. You, who will stride in bold steps, and feel a sense of pride in each one.  And this journey is not about a destination, an arrival point or a finish line, for there is no such thing. This dream is about the people you meet and how you made them feel. For it will take you to places unchartered within yourself and beyond. Friends come, friends go, often-times you would be alone. Then make solitude your
companion, take it as it comes, good or bad, and keep moving forward.

Aayat Farooqui

[email protected]

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