Noted author Anuja Chauhan recollects her tumultuous days at Miranda House

Allow me to recall my college days and my first memory of the by-gone days would be a vacuous span with little spirit. But after second thought, I realise college wasn’t a dream come true; they weren’t the best days of my life as many claim – the days are a nebulous recollection of memories – but unknowingly, they were a beginning to a good life.

But I managed to reach Miranda House and study Economics Honours, a course I wanted to pursue only for it kept most options open. Having been a good student in school, my only excuse for a poor performance in Grade 12 was a relationship amiss. So, I entered through the big black gates on the first day with a feeling of disappointment which I carried along for most of my time in Miranda.

But the sight of a beauteous campus and a comely atmosphere, in the peak of the monsoon season, was easily winsome. An only girls’ college with a feminine vibe and mystique attached to it, Miranda’s reputation of being a habitat of gossip turned out to be rather misconstrued when I came across many authentic and genuine people.

Just as most college hours were spent lurking around the hostel gate, dallying away in my friends’ hostel rooms, which by the way, was not allowed or visiting friends in Hansraj College, bunking was a routine affair. I settled for a college life without ever being within the institutional premises as I soon developed interest in drama. Amidst many play rehearsals, I fell in love with Niret Alva, a fellow drama enthusiast, whom I eventually married. Hereafter, the days became a habit of living by a support system of friends, my then boyfriend, Niret and Gautam Kalra, now a renowned fashion stylist.

Contrary to what my career might reflect, I was nowhere close to being an academic student and they both helped me get through exams. Utterly unaware, I used to begin with the syllabus a few days before the exams with continual guidance from Gautam and Niret’s help, who frequented Gautam’s place to Xerox his notes for me. So essentially, studies were confined to recurrent motivation by friends and photocopied notes. At the time when I was drifting away, Niret encouraged me to work hard and take pride in my course and gave me direction. I made a significant turn from being atrociously ignorant to a sincere and diligent student in the final year. And before I knew it, I identified my interest in advertising and got a job before a degree in Economics.

I may not remember the college days with utmost pride, but I transformed from being an uninspired teenager to a self-assured woman with ambition.

(As told to Divyanshi Wadhwa)

For me, college commenced with a queasy conscience of having not done well in the Grade-12 Board Exams.

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