When it happened, it felt like just another day.

It was my best friend’s friend’s birthday. We weren’t very close to the friend, but the best friend was insistent we be present to celebrate it. We had a Photo Cake ordered, and decided to cut it on the beach. I was skeptical about even coming for the whole thing, and so was another friend of mine. We didn’t mind, but at the same time, there were so many other things we had to do that day. It was during our final Semester of undergrad; there were practicals and project submissions that had all been piled up for the end.

I was tired. Most of the time, I felt unbelievably tired.

Anyway, we met as planned. We did the usual stuff required of a surprise: with gasps and “I DID NOT EXPECT THIS MUCH”, cake cutting, sitting around and talking, taking pictures (it was way before the Selfie craze though). We did not know this friend very well, but in that moment, all of us felt happy and connected. We gave away most of the cake to passersby, and proceeded to talk about things completely outside our routine. After talking about teachers and submissions nonstop, it felt refreshing.

Then, at that moment, I still don’t remember what caused me to drift away from the group- the group that felt way more cohesive than it had been an hour before and a group that I was happy to be a part of, but I did. I walked towards the sea, brimming with the energy that comes from being around people who are easy to talk to.

I was close enough to smell the saltiness of the seawater, but still a good distance away from getting drenched. It was getting dark by then, and that only made the waves seem fiercer and prettier at the same time. The scene ahead of me looked so…expansive. I felt so small in comparision, and that oddly felt amazing. It was like the sight of the waves washed away my petty fears, tucked it into a box labelled “irrelevant”. The universe seemed huge and my worries seemed so insignificant. I had finally, finally zoomed out of my small world and what lay ahead of me seemed both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

My heart surged, as instead of figures and tables that made up my record, I thought of the magnificence of the relationships I’d forged over the years. I thought about how tenuous yet how important human connection was, as I simultaneously felt more in tune with everything than I had in ages. I had read about peak experiences but it wasn’t until that moment that I understood it. Looking back on that day still gives me strength and the will to move past tough times.

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