[Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t really care or you aren’t a Xavierite, (I suspect it’s one of the latter options) you’ll know the department I was part of for three years doesn’t exist anymore. I’m quite heartbroken, a bit pissed (at the right people, might I add) and I’ve accepted it. And this post is my way of saying goodbye.]
I was sixteen and in love with writing when I first saw the charts that invited applications for all the amazing departments Malhar has to offer. As I read through each one, I knew I hadn’t found my place until I looked at three – Raga, Literary Arts & ETC. Raga had the thing I wanted – Free T-shirts (AKA souvenirs and proof that I’d done Malhar, and I didn’t know every department got them) and free hugs (which I vehemently refused until they broke me down). I’m wearing one of those comfortable Raga’13 t-shirts as I write this.
And those were the three departments I applied to.
It was pure chance that I decided to place my Raga app in the front – those were printed compared to the other departments’ which were handwritten in my semi-legible (on a good day) handwriting. And there was no interview (I think there was something new being tried) because I was in – an OG called me to say that I was selected and that I was officially part of Malhar now.
I was very, very intimidated by all the OGs and the OC who seemed (and are) extremely talented. I wondered what I was doing there; I didn’t believe my writing was worth being part of Malhar’s official newsletter. But I was part of them, so I must have something they’d seen and liked.
Raga 2013 was a mix of JC friends, seniors who guided and impressed me and people I looked up to. I made some fairly unbreakable bonds with the people in that department, in that year. Other bonds, strengthened on being part of something we believed in, on something that believed in us. Raga 2013 – I may not have been OG then, or even one of the more popular volunteers, but it certainly was a brilliant Malhar for me. I loved the people, the department and I walked out believing a lot more in my writing, believing a lot more in myself.
I decided to apply for OG in 2014 – Raga had gained The Malhar Blog. And I loved blogging – might as well try it out, I figured. I didn’t get it, but I went back to the department as a volunteer. This time, my co-volunteers were the ones who inspired me. If you are one of those SYs, TYs or JCs that became my friend and the ones I had a “special bond” with (inside joke) – know that you are amazing and you made my time in Raga 2014 a happier one.
This time, I walked out of Raga believing a bit more in people, a bit more in friendships, a bit more in loving what I do – even if others don’t get it. (Of course, it wasn’t all roses and sunshine, there was extreme stupidity, people behaving like dicks, being mean etc. happening, but I choose to view the bit I loved as more important.)
In 2015, I applied to be OC – didn’t get it. And I knew I wouldn’t – I didn’t have the required experience, but I certainly gained some while applying. I applied to be Blog OG again, and this time, I made it. The Malhar Blog was mine to run, mine to write for. I liked my team members (some of them at the very least) and I loved my volunteers. But the best part was that being Blog OG, I interacted with almost every department in Malhar – I made so many friends (whom I later stalked and embarrassed on the blog) and I learned so much.
This year, 2016, I’d planned to apply for OC. My app is all charted out, I’ve even written about 2k words worth, but now, I’m keeping it as a memory. Of something that might have been (if people had kept their fucking egos out of department politics and been a bit more respectful of their peers). I write now to express my love for this department – the one I’ve made jokes about, the one I say I’m never returning to, only to stick to my word this time.
I write, because that’s the only way I know to share. Raga may not have been the best department of Malhar – some certainly don’t think so. But it was my department, and I loved it. It taught me so much. It taught me to believe in my writing, taught me people can be the best and also the worst, taught me the value of friendships and the consequences of holding on to grudges. In some way or the other, Raga has shaped the person I am today. And even though it doesn’t exist anymore, it will always be my safe place. It will always be the department I made friends in, the department I loved for all its flaws.
Thank you, Raga. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you. The Malhar Blog was some of the best of my work (in my very biased opinion) and I am honoured I got the chance to work for it. I have lived my dreams and now I change the ones I had to better fit the present.
After all, at the end of the day, that JC girl staring up at the Raga chart calling for volunteers who’d get their own free t-shirts, grew up to be someone who loved writing and believed in it.
Thank you, Raga & goodbye. You will be missed.
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
Until next time,