Last evening, after getting lost in the labyrinths of Jodhpur Park (which we still miraculously manage after living in this city all our lives), R and I emerged on a street lined with shops where I spotted a small poster stuck in front of a hardware store — it was a battery ad I had copy-written at the office where I worked in summer. That hadn’t been the most fun campaign I worked on but finding it there, actually finalized and printed and put out in the world, filled me with that familiar feeling of speechless smug excitement that’s characteristic of the firstly published. Like remember the time your sappy little love poem got published in a corner of the fifth page of the newspaper supplement that no one reads? And even if they did happen to read it, the person next to you on the morning metro would still have no clue that you were Mondakini Mojumdar, India’s next Nobel-Laureate-in-Literature standing breathing nibbling at the corner of her ticket right there by their side; but that only goes on to make you feel a little more superior than the ignorant masses, a little closer to Superman as he bides time in his Clark Kent clothes. I thought all these things at once, so evidently I couldn’t spare the thought to take a picture.
This summer kept me happy. Work came by just when I was beginning to dread of a month of stupor and (inevitable) brooding, and the work was educative and fun. I loved the ambience of the office — my first office and very different from the kinds of offices I’ve grown up watching my parents work at. The day I joined, everyone was busy painting the papercups they drank coffee in. The day Google came up with a musical doodle, someone at office played it all afternoon. Other people played virtual pianos and music on Youtube, people made pen sketches and watercolour portraits, people flung bad puns and half-baked jokes across cubicles, went for cigarette breaks in the landing and walks in the rain, fed puppies downstairs and often stayed back all night to say hello to deadlines. I went to sea for three days with L, S and T and it was a welcome break, overwhelmingly peaceful and transcendental in parts. I immersed myself in it all and missed university life very little. Now that I am back I can sense the orbit of detachment that’s grown around me. I’m folding up like a spaceship ready to leave. I have dropped my ballast and secured the living quarters. Last summer when I was given a shot at leaving I was not yet through with university, but by summer next year I will be truly done.