Went to campus after aeons. Actually, the visits started last weekend and shall continue for a while. Back in the not-so-long-ago (last year summer), a few of us in class had decided to stage a play for our Post-Colonial paper. Weaving together texts by Indian playwrights like Girish Karnad, Mohan Rakesh, Badal Sarkar and Manjula Padmanabhan, we had taken on an ambitious task- presenting the dilemma of language and the fragmentation of identity in the post-colonial subject. The subaltern had to speak. It was good fun. Frantic translations of existing texts from English to Bangla, from Hindi to English (which was undoubtedly tragi-comic), impromptu rehearsals, hours and hours put in to close loopholes and find a semblance of unity among drama stalwarts who have very distinctive styles of writing.
The final show had been quite a success. After much blood, sweat and tears and a whole night rehearsal at my place. Which is probably why our professor contacted us to stage the show one more time.
So our motley crew has congregated once again. One member has dropped out due to time constraints, a new one (a close friend of mine) has joined in. Anyhow, what I am most happy about is that it is giving me the chance to visit my beloved campus once again. 5 years is a long time in the life of a 23 year old. And those 5 years have been the best so far in my life. *wipes away nostalgic tear*
Honestly, Jadavpur University is not very far from my house but the precious weekends i get, indolence sets in and the time goes by in such a rushed blur that I never seem to get the time to visit campus. Now that I have some sense of purpose in making the visit, I am. And I am glad.
Winters in JU have always been magical. The hazy skies wrapped in a gray fog. The panic of impending semester exams, alleviated by endless cigarettes and bad coffee from Milan da’s canteen, usually on the Comparative Literature ledge. Lazy afternoons rolling into bustling evenings. I always, always liked being on my own in campus. Always enjoyed my solitude. Observing, taking meaningless little notes in my head. Unintentionally eavesdropping on conversations. Watching an energetic game of corridor cricket or badminton near the parking lot. Quietly plugging in my iPod but never really listening to it. Or maybe reading a book. Or preparing for some exam or the other. And then of course, the dogs. The dear, dear, dogs, with ever-wagging tails and smiles. Leaning in for a head-pat, demanding biscuits, demanding all your love. Life was good, very good. Where the only trials were exams, the only grievance was probably the lack of a good canteen in the Arts Faculty or the pathetic coffee at Milan da. It was nice.
Then of course, Greenzone (with an ungodly, murky water body with dodgy yellow-blue-green slime bang in the middle). Where hours flew by as Aveek and I sat. And plotted and planned and etched out the canvas of an imaginary future. Tea and cigarettes. Holding hands and stolen kisses. Yelling and making up.
So it feels good to make these visits back to campus. The same dusty entrance at Gate 4. UG Arts building and the jheelpar opposite it. The same parking lot. The erstwhile lobby. Shyamal da’s “rocking” tea stall outside the gate. I am sure he still plays Himesh Reshammiya full blast. Or maybe he has progressed to Honey Singh, Yo Yo. Ah. It still quite doesn’t feel like I am no longer a student here. As I ambled along the stretches that are so very familiar to me, I didn’t really feel like an apparition. Maybe because it has not been that long. It still felt very intimate, the way it has always been. Intimate in a passive way.
Places change, because the people you associate them with change, or disappear or get replaced. But JU will remain the same for me because of my impersonal way of being attached to it I guess. Maybe it’s not that bad then, being detached, I mean. Bhodu is still there. So are Jocasta and Bagha. It’s all good, very good.