My childhood memories of Holi remain entangled with the onslaught of annual exams. My school had this uncanny preference for preparing the exam schedule so as to support my Ma’s fervent plea of- “don’t play holi, otherwise you will catch a cold” gesture. I had no other option, other than to oblige. Also, our plans of visiting Shantiniketan during “Boshontoutsav” never materialised.
Once in college (technically University), the 1st time I entered that Gate No. 4 of Jadavpur Univeristy, the first thing I was told about was the snob value that is attached to you once you say you are doing Comparative Literature from “Jadobpur”(trust me, half of the times people doing English Hons. form nondescript colleges hadn’t even heard of it, but still looked at me with awe since I was kind of friendly with Tagore and Austen, both actually). I found the second one even more interesting though. The “across the jheel” romance angle. And before you started viewing the world with those rose tinted glasses on, you need to thank the entire “boshontoutsav” on campus…and “jodubongsher lokjon” (people of the jodu clan- a name attached to people from JU) were more than eager to make it even more colourful every year.
But I was stuck! The one year I spent there was anything but drab. But during Holi I was just a silent spectator from the 1st floor Comparative “ledge”. My law school entrance exams were nearby and I could not afford to miss them. Greener Pastures beckoned me you know! though I am yet to decipher the comparative degree of blue I lost out on.
Once in NALSAR, Holi meant everything of breaking out. 1st year holi brings back memories of boys sneaking into the girls hostel and the resultant drama when the warden, the Registrar and the Vice Chancellor arrived. It was fun. Fun because it wa sthe first time I was playing Holi in a pan Indian set up. But my resilience was short lived. One egg on my head and fatak!- I was gone. After that the last two years had been drab. Working or not, I somehow was not interested in taking part in the festivities.
But this time in my 4th year, I suddenly realised we(atleast me) were too short on time. One year more and college gets over. and so does our coveted days of everything random. Not that we aren’t professional enough now. Seriously, that gets on my nerves sometimes, but I agree we have to be that ways some time, everytime. And even though this time not many were around, the bunch of us present here made sure that it was special.
And special it was for us. For me, it was the proper Holi I played in my entire 22 years of existance….Colours, Sprinklers on the field, egg and last but not the least the “Keechar”. The “Keecharowali holi” just made up for everything. I was stinking with the 4 eggs on my head and the mud on my body. But so were my friends. But I was happy that I retaliated. Also, that the amount of running around on that manicured campus lawn made up for the amount I hogged during the holi break. There was no Bhaang or Thandai. But the vibes were infectious and the smiles, for once, were real. Here’s to the brightest and “junglee-est” holi I have ever played in my life. Here’s to my friends, classmates and juniors- Richa, Anku, Paridhi, Swetali, Nidhi, Nannu, Sadhika, Rana, Baba T, Nayak and Chau for making it this special. Thank you guys. And needless to say I missed Shreya, Samiksha, Runjhun, Jyotika and others being around.