One Place, Different lives.

by Genjourist Saumya Sharma

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With the many students entering the campus, entered many dreams, stories, aspirations, vibes and talents. New Year, new batches and new colours were added to the vibrancy of the campus! “Bharati Vidyapeeth” read the entrance behind which was in store lots of experiences, both good and bad, for each one. Leaving their city behind, excitement to explore the new was prominent. Meeting in the canteen, running to catch the lift making sure nobody saw, proxies, mass bunks, lazy morning classes, college events, clubs and endless small things added up to make the amazing whole- college life.

Sharing a lot of experiences with my batch mates, one thing was completely different for me- I had not left my home and my family. On the first day of college, our GFM gave us a big lecture and said “I know you guys have left your home and it must be difficult. Also, you guys now have your freedom, so make sure you don’t misuse it.” He went on to tell us about a guy who drowned in Khadakwasla dam due to his overwhelming thirst for adventure and how his parents came to Pune crying and how we all need to be careful in life. He went on talking about independence, living on one’s own, peer pressure to do wrong, hostel life and so many other things for an hour. While everyone else nodded, shared their problems and became a part of the discussion, the realisation of being the odd one out in the class dawned upon me. One more girl in my class and I were the only two people who lived in Pune with family.

In Pune, it is a usual sight to see students from all corners of the country, in fact from all corners of the worlds, studying under the same roof. The city of Pune has an amazing culture which is found adaptable by almost everyone. The tolerance and acceptance towards everyone, no matter where they are from, is something I’ve found quite commendable about this place. However, different people hold different opinions about a particular place. For me, no matter in which corner of the world I go, coming back to Pune will always be coming back home. So, when I asked people what they felt about coming to Pune, which I did quite often, I heard and grasped attentively as if I were asking my guests about the makeover of my house. Of course, the answers varied from person to person, there was one thing everybody said in common – Pune has made me more responsible and independent.

There is a method birds devise to teach their younger ones how to fly. As soon as they realise they are strong enough to fly, they push their babies out of the nest. It is the fright of falling, that they instinctively flap their wings and soar high into the sky and take their first flight. I feel that is how the experience of everyone who came to Pune on their own was, like falling out of the nest. For me, I don’t know yet what it feels like to leave home. I’m sure when it’ll happen, it’ll change me and my life in many ways.

Well, is living one’s college life with family better? Like everything else, both living at home and living out in college life has its pros and cons. While they envy my “ghar ka khana”, I envy the freedom one gets when one lives outside. “So do you take night outs?” one friend asked me. “Ehh no! I live at home” I answered. “Haha, sad! You can still try,” he said giving a short laugh. “Yes, sure,” I replied sarcastically. On the good side, by living with family I don’t face as many financial troubles as my friends living in hostels or flats face. However, living away from college makes commuting really difficult and morning classes are almost impossible to attend. Obviously, the ones living near the campus have a better taste of college life. The adrenaline rush of coming into a city with an explorer’s spirit, delving into the city’s history, culture and hotspots! From hostel life to midnight parties, I know there is a lot I’m missing out. Must be amazing, I think sometimes, to sneak out and travel a little whenever a heart gives out a call to satiate the wanderlust. However, when stress takes over, nothing is more important than mom’s arms to ease out all the troubles and I realise what they’re missing out. Also, I can’t leave the shy and nervous ones unmentioned who are deeply stuck and struggling their way in an unknown city. After all, not all who come here come with a spirit of adventure. Some are homesick and all they need at the moment is the intimate relationships which give them home like feeling but cannot easily approach. For them, leaving their family is like leaving a part of themselves behind. Also, the vulnerable ones find themselves in troubles they cannot share with their families and have to face the problems themselves. Of course, living in a hostel isn’t easy and homesickness is always around the corner, but the feeling of standing on your own feet and being independent is something which leaves the permanent mark of self-control and self-discipline in life.

So what would I prefer, hostel life or living with family? Like Robert Frost, I once faced two roads diverging. I had an option of joining VIT in Chennai or staying here in Pune. After a lot of dilemmas and reflecting on both the options I chose and the other road was left untrodden. It crosses my mind often, what if I had left my family? Pune is not a city one considers leaving, especially when education is concerned. I have chosen the road and now I have to walk till another diversion comes in sight. One day, maybe I’ll be studying or working away from family too and then I'll know what it is like. For now, I like it this way. No decision is ever a regret, everything brings experience. After all, in the end, home is not a place one leaves behind, but a feeling one carries in one’s heart.

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