Beyond Books: My Experience with Student Clubs at ManipalMarch 29, 2019
On paper, my life was nothing short of ideal but to me, it was far from it. My move away from the city where I was born and raised in, was bound to be a little tumultuous and academic studies at the post graduate level are challenging for even the best of students, so the rocky start that my year began with wasn’t wholly unpredictable. I hoped that as the days passed by, things would fall into place automatically but such was not be. Things were, on the face of it, pretty good and unproblematic – classes were fine, the people were nice, the new-found freedom gave me considerable scope to survey all that lay ahead of me but my heart was just not in it. I found everything highly mechanical and repetitive, with nothing that was truly enjoyable. Soon, things began spiraling down and before I knew it, I had begun painting every aspect of my life in the grey of gloom that now blinded me. I needed a vent, a conduit to channelize all my turbulent thoughts or just an escape that could be a breather from the everydayness of regular routine.
Thankfully, my prayers were answered, for, lo and behold – the blinking screen of my phone showed me just I what I needed – a notification calling for interested individuals to join the newly founded literary club. Instantly, I felt more cheerful than I had in a long while. The enthusiasm was short lived though, as immediately after the first message was a second informing us of the preliminary screening, to be a part of the club. This little roadblock was, however, rather easy to get past and finally, I became a proud member of this brand-new initiative.
Aptly named “Beyond Books”, this club was started by some of the members of the college editorial board and is composed of a small but passionate bunch literary geeks, who seem as enthused by this collective as I am. By the start of the club’s first session, I realized that this was a coterie of kindred spirits – a realization that made me amply pleased. From the orientation briefing all members of the proposed activities for the year ahead, I was delighted to know that this would be all that I was looking for. For the longest time I felt stifled and unable to let my mind wander uncharted territories of creative thought and imagination but now finally, all that was within hand’s reach. My bibliophile self was craving a good discussion on all things literary, filled with talks of favourite poets and best lines to the books to definitely read and the upcoming works to look forward to; I had needed this outlet much more than I had anticipated.
The second session was even better, as we each shared the lines from literature that we found were the most striking and impactful. We also dealt with the concept of haiku, with the more experienced of the lot teaching the novices the nuanced writing skills to perfect the Japanese technique. It was a period of intense introspection peppered with a whole lot of fun. Apart from the literary focus, the chance to meet new people to talk to and ideate with is a highlight of this program. The future sessions seem even more promising with exciting events in the offing. Things may not have miraculously changed with me joining a club but it has brightened my outlook on things and that’s a start worth feeling optimistic about.
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