80. Memories Never Die

@UCC, Kerala, India.


*This might rather be the last post before this blog go into hibernation, except for may be the yearly summary update.

*Not that much of an external journey – be warned. “The Truth shall make you free”, said the motto of my college, which is rather the former college for me now. The distance from being a student to becoming a former student is much shorter than I had expected. The question about truth making one free stays alive, but one would wonder if it comes as part of “Travel Diaries: Of this world and beyond”? The answer would be yes, as I travelled every day from home to college in a car, and every time a Chevrolet Beat is involved, it is more or less a journey, and there is also no less scope for an exploration. Another thing is that UCC, our own Union Christian College looked different almost every day, as if it is a new place each time one takes a look around and captures a few snaps. That makes one new journey on each week day for the last two years, and living an experience each and every morning, and in my case, as early as eight fifteen in the morning only being as late as eight fourty five maximum – extending from three thirty to four fourty five in the evening; often staying there longer than expected. But in simple words, this is no travel, no doubt.

Known to the world as UC College Aluva, Union Christian College’s inception goes back to 1921, as an inter-denominational creation from four of the Kerala Christian denominations, Church of South India, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. It is not that far away from the river of Periyar and only about four kilometres from the town of Alwaye. The place which was visited by Mahatma Gandhi in 1925, and being blessed by him planting a mango tree, might be one of the most well-known colleges in the district, if not the state. There is that joy which surrounds a student when he tells the name of his college and only good things are heard about the same. It is indeed prestigious to be a student of the college, as there is that wonderful reputation that creates an invisible aura around it, and studying there for post graduation is one of those things which could be explained through a poem, but I am rather weak and drained and taken further away from the creativity by the void, the nothingness that has taken over after getting the Transfer Certificate from there, and staying at home doing nothing that fills the soul.

The arrival of the results further increases the strength of that void which seems to have been surrounded by a black hole. There is no question about the fact that this void is self-created. It is a result of not doing enough, not only now, but also when I was there, amplifying that feeling of loss which has pervaded through the conscience of my soul and asks myself if I have done enough. I have never really studied, and that is only one of those things. The first class that I gained and indirectly mentioned in my Facebook status message is not really of me putting anything into learning. I haven’t worked hard, for I have never been a hard working person. I used to find it a crime not knowing answers to questions, but ever since Mathematics started boring me from my school days, I stopped searching for answers. I found that I can have no answers and still exist as long as I can work well with languages. I could create and modify the worlds which I have created and maintained, rather than keep a giant planet in my head – was fair enough. Thank You Lord, for pointing me to the right direction, and my determination to do MA English was as much a surprise to myself as getting the admission, and for that there is pure divine intervention. Otherwise, who would wish to admit someone who can’t use what he knows when it matters the most?

I have carried over this idea with me, even in the absence of Mathematics. Maths, my dearest enemy from the depths of hell, you are not the first one who hated me and surely not the last one. When the classes started, Doctor Faustus, Paradise Lost and The Pilgrim’s Progress were set against the replacements for Mathematics, the theories of Rasa and Dhvani, Seven Types of Ambiguity and Biographia Literaria. There is the concept of good and evil, and even in the absence of Mathematics and also Physics, something had to take over the role of bad guys. As time progressed and the course was coming to the end, the number of bad guys just increased, and the last semester was full of such people, as even the viva examiners seemed to align with the bad guys. Existentialism, absurdism and post-colonialism are not the best things to read, and with Film theories, plus what books like In an Antique Land and Midnight’s Children already achieved in the earlier semester, the whole interest comes down like a dead dinosaur from the top of a mountain.

It is also nothing less of a boulevard of lost opportunities, and the fact that you didn’t study is just one of them. Despite performing fine in inter-college quiz competitions, what bothers one the most is what kind of use it is for your knowledge when there are a lot of questions for which you know the answer, but just can’t get to say it; and it disappoints more than those questions which you don’t know the answer and also those questions which are too easy and right from the text books. What is the meaning of knowing and still can’t use the knowledge when needed? The loss of answers when in pressure haunts like Freddy Krueger, and its mightmares are as big as any other opportunities you waste as well as the time you send down the drain. The only saviour is the tea, and I am boosted by it regularly from the college canteen. It is a further disaster when you are the pheonix who rises from the ashes, and yet can’t get rid of those ashes completely, and there is so much of them that it affects your flying, and you would rather think that you stay on the ground.

Still, haven’t you earned enough from being in a college which was the only right place for you to be? Despite everything that you missed due to your own fault, there were two good years of glory even if happiness was not something you carried over? Well, I wouldn’t have felt better if I was anywhere else – this was the first choice for me during the time of centralized allotment, and I got the admission in the first allotment itself. Anywhere else wouldn’t have been more suitable for me, as I would have struggled to keep myself going. The case of UC is rather perfect for someone like me, who doesn’t want to live my life in those text books and studying only what is attained from the class. UC had a charm which is powered by nature as well as the wonderful teachers of the English department. If I would have been anywhere else, I suspect that I could have even known about my existence, but here in the English department, I lived. And about my marks, I have got exactly what I wanted, and for my lack of focus, determination and hope, and supported by that plague of pessimism, I have got enough, and anything more would make me feel that people can read my handwriting.

Diving out —>


73. Memoirs of the Soul

@Ringway, Greater Manchester, England.


There are a few moments when one can’t be sure what he wants to share. Sometimes it is just a fragment of a memory, and there are times when it contains a photo which is a significant captured moment; what both of these successfully accomplish is the creation of a reflection which brings back the past from the grave, and create a moment of joy in a world in which there is nothing much to be happy about; for the present moments of the lack of happiness needs these drops of awesomeness which were incredibly effective even if short-lived. As one shall never trust the future by himself, the long lost joys are to be brought back through writings, and this short writing shall bring my mind of sorrow and fruitlessness to that little past, which was a twin delight, both in an intellectual as well as spiritual manner. There shall be no prizes in guessing the destination, and there can be nothing for those who can guess the weather conditions at that moment of the beginning of happiness. What one can be assured of, is the absence of the elements of inferno and purgatorio, as well as the creepy, disturbing elements who suck up the happiness and the beauty of eternity out of us, in a beautiful world declared round by a few. But I shall make no promises, as these are the ages of the unfaithful, when the promises are expected to broken and thrown down the Empire State Building or the Petronas Towers.

It was a dark day when I arrived at the Manchester Airport, the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow and London Gatwick, as well as the twenty first busiest airport in Europem supposed to have dealt with around seventeen million passengers during the year which I travelled there, and has been on the increase – seems like the total number of passengers had been on the decrease until I set my foot there, and the statistics started getting better; forgive that package of nonsense, even as the facts seem to notice that lesser number of passengers, and the reason should be something I shall never know. I had to face strange question on my arrival about the possibility of me not going back to India, but I would let a crocodile eat my bundle of surprise which evaded me, for may be I looked like a man who shall never leave the land of English literature. Manchester Airport is still the largest outside the London region, a thing which I didn’t know at that time, and that was something which could have made me happier when I set my little finger on the ground. The airport can claim more than double the passenger compared to its next non-London counterpart, and the busiest outside South East England, another fact which evaded me at that time. Well, I was surely not prepared for facts at that time, on my first visit outside Asia, which was triggered more by sudden cancelling of a trip to Jerusalem, just like that visit to Singapore and Malaysia due to a failed trip to the United States.

The trip was supposed to start and end at Ringway, but it had to take a turn and end at London, Heathrow to be exact. But what came between didn’t change at all. From the beginning, it was a dark day as I said before, still not a day of the vampires even if I was not in any way less interested in them as I am now – it was a cloudy day and quite cold with rain waiting for that particular signal from the non-existent Thor or Zeus. By the time, the thirteenth step was taken outside the airport, the rain had started its procedure of welcoming someone who was new to that landmass – island to be exact. Well, isn’t the rain the same everywhere? I wouldn’t agree more, but with the background and the environment of awesome glory which surrounded my world of a thousand fairy tales, that was quite a varied thing. With an incredibly cooler atmosphere compared to what I had experienced before in a natural environment, the arrival of rain was something special at that time. It made that impact which nothing else could have done – for that was an initiation into a new world, as if all the figures of literature had made a decision to come together and affect the climate in such a way as to give a new experience of taking me in. There would be questions if I could do complete justice to them as an English literature student, and that is a question which would have no single, perfect, righteous answer that is undisputed.

Consider the photo posted with this blog; it is a photo which I thought I would never be able to click again – something which is proved right so far, but it is not a sight which I wouldn’t be completely deprived of. Well, the double-decker bus did come to Cochin and so did the dark clouds at the right moment with divinity creeping out from the inside – but never was such a photo clicked again, as the right moment never arrived here. But on the way to Leeds from Ringway, that moment did arrive. What is to be noticed is that the whole journey was full of such wonderful moments, some of them clearly taken into both heart and the brain as well as into the camera with both hands, and some of them missed and thought about for a long time keeping that imagery in the mind as if they were part of the soul. The photo is the symbol of whatever was gained and all that was missed during that wonderful journey through the land of literature and history; no surely not of the land of modernity, as I had clearly avoided those modern elements which made zero impact on my world. I would still make a long list of the things I missed and grieve over them, as I could have achieved near-perfection during that journey, but I didn’t. But, never in the history of my journeys was that journey a failure, for it had done a lot for my soul, just like that trip to Ceylon, for you learn when you travel, and by travelling to the Jerusalem or Rome of English Literature, what can a student of the same do, but be enlightened?

The route of the journey was from Ringway, to Leeds, then to Wakefield, York, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Bradford, Castleford, Walsingham, Carlisle, Lake District etc followed by Caterbury, Rochester, Dover and London. The Northern journey included Kirkpatrick-Fleming, Glasgow, Edinburgh etc. The journey was clearly unplanned and without a clear tour map in mind or hand for the whole month. There were smaller trips being made, from here to there and from somewhere to the middle of nowhere, but all that could be made with the help of google maps and GPS was done. The best achievement of the trip was surely the visit to the Mecca of English Literature (just what I consider to be so) The Cantebury Cathedral – for that work of Geoffrey Chaucer, our own literary hero. But what interested me more was the Yorkminster Cathedral, as my favourite structure of that journey. The third in the list is the Liverpool Cathedral, these three making the triology of wonder complete. If one has to talk beyond the man-made structures, the Lake District created such a world of magnificience beyond doubt, and so did every journey through those areas outside the city – for the villages were truly what those poets talked about, for they followed the Lakes. Never did I think that I would agree to what William Wordsworth and Robert Frost had written; there were times when I thought they lied; but after the journey, I am sure that there can be no men who are more honest.

In Scotland, the Scott Monument caught my attention quicker than anything else. But I am not impressed by anything more than how much I was influenced by the Glasgow Necropolis; a place where one can’t stop oneself from desiring to be buried right there. The Glasgow Cathedral is smaller, but still glorious, and the same can be said about the Edinburgh Cathedral. The latter is surrounded by such beautiful structures of which I find myself out of words to speak, may be due to a failed memory which can’t cash into that moment of glory. Back to the South, the city of Carlisle was a moment of its own. The cities of London, Canterbury and York kept me in the world of awesomeness throughout. Leeds was special, and talking about each city fills me with a desire to go back there and finish what I had started at that time. I am more prepared and the idea which was introduced into my mind during that visit has grown up and has become a huge tree right now, and there is a plan which has come put of nowhere. There shall be a clear picture of what I am to visit the next time, all of those destinations clearly related to both literature and history. When I am back, I shall be stronger in intellect, and with a perfect idea with which to navigate through a world which I have already explored with books of history, fiction and cultural studies, and my path to take can be never more clear in both reason and faith.

Diving out —>