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The Art and Science of living through other people.

July 5, 2023
- Kritik Jain

Disclaimer: Below is an excerpt from my upcoming revolutionary novel Why Do Anything When You Can Just Read About Other People Who Did Things? - The Art and Science of living through other people. Some books win awards, some win hearts, and others… only serve to confuse. Mine is award-winning!

Hello, reader of digest! I hope this article finds you well and not sinking in quicksand again. You return once again with your unceasing whining and alarming grade loss. This time you are upset because you want to njoi your college life, but spamming each other’s timelines isn’t making it happen. You remember the time when your parents argued whether you’d become a doctor or engineer, but deep down, all you wanted to be was a super saiyan. Your days now seem inhabited by soul-crushing ennui. If only you had a life like all those travel influencers, you whisper into your tub of ice cream, then you wouldn’t be reposting stories of other people on your birthday. Well, have no fear, insufferable scroller, because once again, I leverage business words synergistically to jump to your rescue like every other LinkedIn post. I have not only found my passion but have even tracked and found other people’s passions (for a small fee). I am most passionate about finding passions. “You aren’t getting away this time, passion!” I joke as I chase passions. My passion laughs passionately. We’re at that place now where we can joke about things. We’re best friends. Almost lovers. Okay, fine, lovers. But I didn’t ask for your judgment. Webster’s dictionary defines passion as a substance that, through its chemical action, usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism. (Wait, that might be poison!) Before we get sidetracked, ask yourself a fundamental question-

Where is my passion?

It could be in the side pocket of your jacket - ah, you didn’t look there, did you? Wait, It’s not there? That’s a bummer because that would’ve really helped. It could be very well hiding beneath the secret shelf of tissues you have stashed for ‘business’ purposes. Fret not, for I have collated a ten step-list of college-passion-finding methods below because 9 is not fine. Enjoy at your own peril:

1) Take a break:

Irrespective of whether you were put on earth for a reason or no reason, taking a break will leave you with more time to try things and discover your interest. Upon the discovery of your passion, you will be visited by the passion registration squad, a crack team of people who all resemble white text on sepia pictures of a sunset. They will knight you with your honorary hashtag, which you can then display with pride. #Machau.You will see this tag being used almost all the time in stories during Intern/Placement season And that brings me neatly to my next point.

2) Continue the break:

Nature seeks order, abhors a vacuum, and includes trees. Go out and seek it! They say if you travel far enough, you meet yourself. I wouldn’t go that far. I’ve run into you once or twice, and you’re not that interesting. Make sure you travel a reasonable distance from campus, though. A bicycle trip to Haridwar should be a good starting point. You can visit the wonderful places you’ve seen in the stories of your seniors because one day you’ll leave this world behind, so live the life you’ll remember and substantiate that photographs are an accurate representation of reality and insist it over others. You might wake up one day with a poetic sense of self but don’t let nature fool you into believing you can actually mix reality into fantasy and call it magic. You’re not that great. A wise man once said that if you’re going somewhere, you are no longer where you used to be. When you aren’t where you were and are uncomfortable in buses puking at a national scale, your body releases anti-passion particles that will attract your passion towards you.

1st year 1st year

3) Keep going with the break

Uncomfortable travel while spending your money and meeting other vacant idiots from the campus might help you find your passion, but it’ll also empty your wallet. So do the next big thing that’ll make everyone around you go - wow, this again? Ask for chapos. That’s right. There’s nothing that infuriates your seniors more or, in some cases, gives meaning to their existence more than Chapos. I have made an exhaustive list of things to do during a chapo that you can access by mentioning your email id in the comments. Some of these are as follows: Laugh, smile, or mumble ‘Arey sir/ma’am’ at every 3rd sentence. Listen to them unnecessarily FOMOing you out with their inside jokes. Only two out of five pieces of advice they give are worth listening to. Boost their ego. Allow them to explain their punctuation-worthy days with sentences. One day, you’ll find people doing the same to you. Congrats, you’re a Senior now. 1st year

4) Well, now it’s just sad

It’s been weeks now since you ‘took a break’ and…haha. It’s weird to see others study consistently and get good grades, right? Yeah, it is weird. You hate college; you hate life. You don’t find purpose in anything. Welcome to sophomore year, where words like existentialism and meaning are at the forefront of every discussion. You’ve now become perfect melancholy magnets. You would hang out with your friends, but they all have engagements with their campus groups. The campus starts to feel like a museum, with everything kept behind the glass. You’re allowed to witness them but never participate. As if meant for exclusive members only. So you figure that it might be time for you to-

1st year

5) Join groups:

IITR is a host of innumerable groups. You have an interest; there’s a group for that. You don’t? there’s one for that as well. People here join groups with different motives. Some join to find a community of like-minded people, some need something to add to their resume, and some do it because they actually like celebrating their birthdays (Can you believe that?) But I say you should do it totally out of peer pressure. 1st year 1st year

6) Regret joining groups:

Okay, so the mistake you’ve been making is that you’ve been in the wrong group altogether. You can’t stand those people because they don’t align with your beliefs. Welcome to the real world, buddy! I can’t believe you actually fell for my advice. Lols, but again, What is college life if not a bunch of stupid decisions taken out of sheer peer pressure? Haha! You laugh to yourself and continue to munch on Spice Point’s intoxicating Chhole Chawal.

7) Visit Rishikesh frequently:

Welcome to the beautiful world of the arts. You slowly realize that this place has a surreal atmosphere and cold breeze. Everything here is unlike college. When you’re there, you’re real. You wanna come here every week, so you’re frugal with the travel. You sit in a cafe, and one day, it occurs to you - passion means painting, music, poetry, or literature. It is a little-known fact that the arts are just enjoyment through and through. Writers, painters, and musicians have such happy fulfilling lives that they don’t repeatedly get depressed or have substance abuse issues! But it is important to remember that if at any time your artistic endeavor seems boring or you are not instantly creating masterpieces people generally spend decades mastering, then you must abandon this completely! 1st year

8) Widespread fame:

Just kidding! You almost fell for that one. You find your passion immediately after and are able to capture it with your last Poké ball. You are met with instant fame and acclaim and have no need to fight the thoughts of where one goes from here; what was the point of all this, and why did I even start doing this. You are not insecure about losing your acceptance and are completely immune to widespread criticism. People of your preferred gender feed you grapes from above in fulfillment of your ancient fantasy. Life is pretty great. Your tub of ice cream lies sad and alone, untouched since your tryst with success. It raises a small vanilla hand, “Revenge…”

1st year

9) Reality Check

Nothing is worth it if you aren’t happy, but you’ll never be happy, so everything is worth it. So you’re finished with everything, and is it possible to not have a passion? You laugh it off. Of course not. Of course not. Of course, you have a passion. You just have to find it. You’ve almost finished all your time, though. You laugh again; you’re not sure why this time. You look at the wallpaper on your phone. Written with white text on a blue pastel sunset or whichever make-believe word comes to your ‘colorful’ world, you read, “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” Like studying regularly and meeting new people, and trying out new hobbies. Your tub of ice cream pats you gingerly on the shoulder. We’ve come full circle, friend, it says.

10) Acceptance and Enjoyment

There’s a very popular saying that goes, the moon seems far, but if you travel towards the moon, eventually you’ll die of asphyxiation. Thanks to your branch, you’re here for another year while you see your other batchmates graduate away. The feeling is almost similar to that of an uncle who has overstretched his stay. All that’s left is juniors owning up to a land that you used to rule over. So you start focussing on yourself, accept college at its face value, and make peace with it. You start observing things you’d generally overlook. The caricatures drawn at the doors of every room. The visibly luminescent night sky. The stains at every corner of the bathroom. You witness all of it. You realize the space between you & everything in college was three simple words: I might suck. But then you go for it anyway. From performing on stage to experimenting with things for the mere sake of it, you’re now seen enjoying everything (Except birthdays, ofc). You realize people have been way more talented than you gave them credit for. It doesn’t matter if you like them or not; at the end of the day, it’s night.

1st year 1st year

When we leave the comfort of the place, we’re so used to having, we desperately seek to replicate it anyplace we go. But only when we allow for new places to enter our horizon will we start to seek solace in them. Basically, if you wake up at 4 and take cold showers, nothing is impossible except feeling warm and asleep. The point is, do not take anything seriously except this article. I am kidding (Or am I?)


How to proceed if you’re not passionate about anything?

Many times the answer we seek are right in the face. For example, when you ask yourself who’s the dumbest person you know while standing in the mirror, it’s you. Confused? Your problem is as old as the problem itself. When the first caveman discovered fire, his friend was upset that he discovered nothing, so he came up with a name for himself as the person who motivated the first caveman to discover fire. The point is that if you don’t have any passion, then passionately motivate other people to go follow their passion. Write a book about it, do talks; you won’t have your passion, but at least you’ll be rich.

When do you truly feel alive?

Sometimes when you’re having a nightmare, you wake up in a panic and feel a flood of relief, realizing it was a dream. And then, in a moment, you remember the real nightmare that your life is. In between those moments is when you truly feel alive.

What is your purpose?

Depends on who’s asking. If you’re a pair of scissors, your purpose is to cut paper. If you’re a USB cable, your purpose is to passionately get lost in the drawer and only reappear when a new one has been bought. Please be clear with your question next time.