Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, March 27, 2023

Life is in flux.

I mean that on a general level and also personal.

Life is always in motion, but for me in particular, college graduation looms in less than two weeks. Graduation will come with a lot of changes for me. Apart from the "I'll never take a class again, but I feel like kindergarten was yesterday" shock, graduation will soon mean moving to a new city for a job. It'll mean leaving the office of the Alligator, where I've worked for a year and a half, for a position in another (much larger) newsroom.

And when contemplating the future of life after graduation, I found the best expression of my life right now can be found in a trio of Bollywood films that make poignant points about life.

The last few years have been "3 Idiots."

Despite the fact that it's about three Indian men studying engineering, the film resonates with me. No, I'm not an engineer (and never could be), and I don't have a headmaster like Virus. But "3 Idiots" can capture the ups and downs of college like nothing else: These past few years have been about discovering that learning itself is more than memorizing the contents of a book. The years have been filled with lots of laughs and plenty of exciting characters. Parents' expectations and personal dreams don't always match up, just like the characters of "3 Idiots" experience. Being in college means growing up and taking responsibilities, but it's also a time when you still get to be a goofy kid at heart. Sometimes the stress of college makes it necessary to tell your heart "aal izz well."

From the time I was a high school freshman, I had my college career planned to a T. And I've executed that plan. The time spent executing that plan was supposed to be the time where I made my next plan — a plan for the rest of my life. It didn't happen. I hit this last semester and only then realized I had no real plans for life after graduation. The things I had wanted not so long ago  like a master's in creative writing —  were things I didn't want anymore.

And that's where another Bollywood film enters: "Dil Chahta Hai" [What the Heart Wants].

"Dil Chahta Hai" is a film now 10 years old, and I was only 10 (and nowhere near Bollywood) when it came out. But the essence that the film captures is where I find myself now.

I remember thinking a couple of years ago that after college, I'd have all of the answers. Where was I going, what was I doing, what did everything mean. Do I have all of the answers? No. If anything, I have more questions.

That's the story of "Dil Chahta Hai": Three men graduate college and realize that they have no plans for life or what they want from it. Akash knows, as he tells his dad, that "there's more to life than signing checks," but he doesn't know what that "more" is. And until his parents force him into a job, he has no idea how he's going to support himself. Sameer flits from girl to girl but has no idea how to make a commitment. Sid knows that he wants to paint but has to cope with unexpectedly falling in love with a woman much his senior with a questionable past.

And Sid expresses their biggest complication with figuring out life after graduation: "We'll soon set sail for our destinations. Our destinations might not coincide." We're friends for life, he says, but we don't know where life will take us.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

That's what I've found to be the truth of college. You make friends with those around you because in the short term, your lives all have the same goal: graduation. But the world is bigger than college, and life after graduation means confronting the fact that anyone could, and will, go anywhere and everywhere. "Who cares where we'll end up?" asks Akash.

And then there's the fact that "ending up" is never really as solid as it seems, as is expressed in "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" [You Won't Live Life Twice], a film from this summer. In this film, the story of "Dil Chahta Hai" translates from 20-somethings to 30-somethings. Three men who thought they knew who they were, what made them happy and what they wanted from life find out they don't really know at all.

"I've spent my entire life inside a box," says Arjun, the character who at the film's opening has a concrete life plan: make money and retire at 40. "The only time a person should be in a box is when he's dead," replies Laila, a woman who lives every moment to its fullest.

And life is a series of moments. Even the best of us can't plan everything because everything changes.

Life isn't something you figure out in college. If anything, college teaches you that life is impossible to understand.

You can go through college without figuring it out, says "3 Idiots." You can graduate college without figuring it out, says "Dil Chahta Hai." You can start a career and relationships and "a life" and live it for 10 years without figuring things out, says "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara."

If anything, college has taught me that I just can't figure out life. And I shouldn't try.

Because zindagi na milegi dobara — you don't live twice.

To keep up with this filmi Gator's writing after this week, follow my blog at Bollywood Queens or follow me on Twitter.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.