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Bittersweet NUvember

I had hard time adapting to that steering leviathanic culture during my early freshman years. That whole rage started when I made up my mind that I’m ready to have a taste of that sweet mental torture (the elbi way) they were talking about. The moment I set foot to the campus grounds, everything’s totally foreign to me. In an instant, I was in an exceptionally unfamiliar land. I was pulled out of my comfort zone. I had to walk away from my usual playground. I had to bid goodbye to some friends, few pets, my treasured bed, and the places I run to when I’m in trouble. I had to leave the radio. Yes. Radio.

My love for the radio is beyond imaginable. I had that attachment to it that surpasses any existing chemical bond I learned in Chemistry. I used to put it on top of my priority. My weekends were religiously dedicated to listening and writing down radio charts. I  memorized the sequence and specific time slots of every radio program and the corresponding disk jocks on some of my favorite stations e.g. Big Sound Radio and MOR Baguio. Undeniably, radio had been a huge part of me from sunrise until the sign-off. Crazy as it may sound, the thought of leaving home (and the radio) hugely bothered me. I mean, big time.

Those longings I endured to have an ear to radio were quenched by some of my early discoveries in the metro – Home, Campus, Magic, etc. Above these, NU 107 stood out exceptional. I vividly remember how my smile was drawn from ear to ear during the first Stairway to Seven I was able to catch. That was May 5, 2007. Since then, I knew, home wasn’t really far away. I found radio itself. And I was happy about it.

Life in the university was never that easy: waking up on time for a 7am class, passing the lecture exams, becoming socially relevant, getting through a day alive, making ends meet. Long waits are part of it as well: waiting for six-hour lab experiments, waiting for the most-awaited stipends, waiting for the sweetest tres for the tagilid na subjects, waiting for the right one to come. There were countless starvations too: starvation for passing scores, starvation for food (true story), starvation to graduate, and starvation to live by the Iskolar Para sa Bayan tradition. At the end of the day, when I finally lay myself to rest replaying all these things in my head, NU was with me.

NU was once my life. There were times when I had to eat and breathe it with it on the background. It was my company during my victorious, pretentiously victorious, and not-really-victorious end-of-sems, plain and lazy afternoon weekends, including those Organic Chemistry sleepless nights from which stemmed the dark ages of my Chemistry career in that event when I reaped my very first major failure. NU was a witness of how I struggled and won battles during my early years in the university. And how I wished it’s still there when the day comes when I have to reap the fruits of all these things.

But as the adage goes, nothing’s permanent. Everything has a season, there's a rightful time in a rightful place under the heavens ― a time to plant, a time for it to grow, and a time to uproot that which is planted. Things end. People go. Everyone will leave soon. We just have to accept it. After 23 years (3 years, in my case) of shaping the lives of thousands of Filipinos, NU has laid to rest. And yes, I have to accept it, even if I really can’t right now.

After roughly three years of spending days and nights on the Home of NU Rock, I, among other thousands of fans from different walks of life and frames of time, wept for its end. The date: November 7. Here's my story that night: from a group meeting (I escaped from) for a GE course, I frantically rushed to dorm at around 10 pm to catch NU's final run on air. I haven't had my dinner because time was running out. It was like watching dying person losing the final breath of life. I, too, was out of breath. Right then, involuntarily, tears fell from my very eyes when ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’, assuming a requiem, was played on NU for the last time. The whole farewell thing was beyond sadness. The whole night, I failed to fall asleep, even after the amps, the cheers, began to all fade. 

The problem now boils down to me. If you know me in person, you will know I’ve been troublesome in handling farewells. I’ve been a bad student when it comes to learning the art and science of letting things I’m hugely attached to to pass. I’ve always been cryptic about someone or something’s existence and impartially unopen about the possibilities of its end. It’s hard for me to embrace something good and kiss it goodbye. And Nu's case is not an exception.

Few weeks after the looming closure, it’s only now that I had the courage to open the radio at 107.5 MHz..false-hoping for some miracle. As expected, it was an infinite radio noise on that frequency. Desperation filled my senses once again. Nostalgia hit me one more time. I was reminded, everything’s already buried under wreckage.

Credits: Photos (captured from the last run of NU107) are owned by catilo.net 

Bittersweet NUvember Bittersweet NUvember Reviewed by Olivr Salangad on 5:23 AM Rating: 5

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