College campus buzzes back to life with vigour of youth
As I step on the podium, my hands itch to write the first words on the glossy surface of the blackboard. I turn around to face fresh and excited faces of youngsters for whom this day marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
After a hiatus of 18 months, the campus is now abuzz with the nervous first-year students look hither and thither for their classrooms and getting accustomed to the newly acquired time-table; the exuberant second year ones catching up with friends and loitering in the corridors to catch a whiff of the lost year; the complacent third year students with a notch higher experience thronging the cafeteria and other hotspots; the studious ones making a beeline for library counters; the adventurous jostling their way towards the offices of associations and clubs and the lovey-dovey ones looking for hideouts amid the bustling grounds.
The cliché distance makes the heart grow fonder could not have sounded sweeter to my ears than now as my eyes fondly scan the faces of students whom I had previously seen only through the camera lens of the laptop. How lively and youthful these faces appear to me as compared to the forlorn ones seen during online classes!
I’m amazed at my own reaction as I indulgently smile at the freshers clicking selfies at vantage points on the campus to post on their social media accounts with hashtags claiming ‘My First Day at College’ or ‘College Life is Fun’ or ‘Fun with Besties’. I remember prior to the lockdown, if ever I beheld such a scenario, I would frown upon their insolence and brazenness and at times would not hesitate to remind them that the place is an educational institute and not a tourist spot.
The cackling laughter, the uneasy giggles, the boisterous guffaws, the screeching sounds of chairs being pulled in classrooms, the chatter of intellectual groups and the rustic hollering to mates are some of the sounds that infuse a youthful life force into the centurion structures of educational institutions and thus prevent them from crumbling under the external pressures of age and modernisation. It is the sap of youth rushing and gushing into the veins of ancient institutions that nourishes them and helps them sustain the vagaries of time and tide.
I walk through the corridors and observe the youngsters, eager to learn and reach out to the skies and say a silent prayer for them. I pray for a safer and healthier future for them. May their future never again be marred by the ugly scars witnessed by the world amid the breakdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. May the world be wholesome again and may the college campus once again be blessed by the ebullience and exhilaration lent by the vigour of youth. email@example.com
The writer is an Ambala-based college teacher