The Not-So-Ordinary Universe

The Not-So-Ordinary Universe

“But what if I end up alone? What if no one likes me and cuts me off? I don’t want that. I don’t want to go to uni!”

On the contrary, ladies and gentlemen, she did not end up alone.

Let me tell you the story of a girl whom we shall name X (I have always wanted a cool name like that—easier to spell). X was your ordinary girl, going through a hundred and one ordinary life crises, dreaming of the ordinary dreams, and hoping she would make it far in her ordinary life. Or at least that is what it seemed like. Like everyone else, she had been fed the routine chant of life getting “easier” once you enter university, and for X, who had always concentrated on getting good grades and maintaining a good reputation as an ordinary student, this seemed like the perfect chance to break free from her ordinary lifestyle and start anew. Advanced levels came and went; X passed with good grades, made her parents proud, and finally got into the University of Colombo. And she lived happily ever after. Right? Wrong!

X was ecstatic to learn that she was qualified to enter the University of Colombo, as were her parents (not surprising after they had clearly set up a goal for her since birth). But that was until she actually got in, and it started dawning on her how she would have to leave her home, her family, and every person she knew to go live and study in a completely new city with complete strangers! Oh, the horror! Every day, every hour, and every minute had X thinking of the worst possible scenarios she would have to face in a new place among new people. Not to mention, these were people from ALL OVER SRI LANKA (no pressure)! The D-day arrived, and everything felt like a dream: the 5-hour long drive to the hostel, the first night away from home, the new roommates, the new bus ride, the new university with its endless maze of lecture halls (which did not make it easier at all), the new serious-looking lecturer, and of course the new mixed fruit salad of fellow students.

At first, it seemed like her fears were about to become reality. X felt extremely out of place in the classroom, during lectures, and even when she was just walking around along the never-ending corridors. The lessons seemed to just fly over her head, and she felt like she did not belong. The hostel situation was worse, with all the roommates being total strangers that she was now supposed to live with, and the new routine of washing, cleaning, and feeding herself felt like a huge burden suddenly. But then, everything changed. It all started when she cracked open the door a little and stepped out of her safe little fort.

X started by reaching out to her “online bestie,” with whom she ranted about life for hours and hours during online lectures. Meeting her in real life made X a little more confident because now her friend seemed more real (Hi Kusali), and she felt like she could do it again. By waving and talking to a boy who she thought was her batchmate, which he did indeed turn out to be, X cracked the door a bit more open! And just like that, another friend was unlocked (Hi Akindu). Her next daunting task was befriending that one beautiful girl, who looked extremely cold but awesome at the same time. Heart beating fast, hands trembling, X spoke to the girl, “I love your handwriting!”. The cold face immediately warmed up, and X made another new friend (Hi Sajani). Of course, she did not stop there; she became a part of an entire gang who, for the most part, seemed normal but were all “unique” in their own way (that is, when they were not talking about topics that would maybe require therapy—Hi Batya, Treshan, Hiruni, Acsah, Chavika, Bhagya, Mahisha, Pravesha, Poorni, Raziya, and Gaya).

The door to X’s safe little fort was now wide open. Her once dark interior was now bright and sunny, with sunlight streaming inside. Her fears never came to life after all. From long sessions of fighting over a specific topic to ranting over deadlines (ironically procrastinating all the while), and from sharing a cup of the famous Narang juice from the much-loved “ala canteen” to playing cards in the middle of Greens, X and her friends really did come a long way.

Of course, there are still more doors in X’s little fort that have not been opened. They were still dark and needed sunlight. X knew that her ordinary life was not in fact ordinary at all from the beginning itself. She had her ups. She had her downs. She had her good days. She had her bad days. But at the end of the day, she knew she had something no one else had, and that was herself and her love for herself. She knew that if she treated herself right, someday, along with the care her friends have for her, X may get all the doors in her fort open. The entire place will be sunny soon enough. Until then, X will stick to eating biscuit puddings from the “ala canteen” while planning trips to go on with her friends (let’s just ignore the fact that only 1 or 2 of these 12749090874878 trips will actually make it out of the group chat).

X’s ordinary story turned out to be not so ordinary after all. She faced her own fears and found new light in her universe. We are all but Xs in our way. We just need to take the key from its hiding corner and turn the lock to open the door to our own little forts. We will all then have an exciting and not so ordinary story with its own crazy plot twists to tell everyone with a smile on our faces while thinking, “Ah, good times, good times.”

– Rtr. Sayuri Wijesinghe

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