Love: (n) \ˈləv\ noun
1. a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
2. attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
(The verb form of ‘love’ is very rare.)
Lower Ground: Basant
He was on his knees. There was an unusual gleam in his eyes. She was bursting with smile; her face painted in various shades of make-up.
“I love you” he said. And then, he extended towards her the red rose in his hand…
Guys and girls, stop the horses of your imagination! Right there!
I know you have guessed what I have been talking about. It’s the ‘Rose day’. (I don’t know why I have capitalized the ‘Rose’.) Every ISMite knows what the Rose Day during Basant stands for. Simply stated, it stands for hijacking. Because very conveniently, it hogs away all the limelight from the Alumni Reunion that is happening around. I am not saying whether this hogging is good or bad. Not at all! What all I am saying is that for most of the ISMites, Basant means the four to five hours show at the Lower Ground with tantrums, proposals and flowers all flying around in equal proportions. And of course it’s also about the star-night in the end. This year though I wonder why it was called a star-night. There were hardly any stars around. Not even in the sky.
Anyways, let’s come back to the situation I described earlier. Rein in the horses of your imagination. This is one of the probable outcome of this experiment:
The girl takes the flower with a smile. The guy goes back to his friends all charged up and pumps the air with his fist in celebration. Only that as he walks away, he doesn’t see the girl stuffing the flower in that big bag. The girl is in some unpredictable state of mind. (Maybe happy, maybe confused. It’s difficult to guess anyway). After all what can she do? So many suitors, so many flowers, just two hands to hold all of them! ‘Life is so unfair at times’, she mutters.
So with this situation in mind, if you engage in some profound thinking (maybe like Locke or Blake), you will realize that ultimately the Rose Day is not about boys and girls. It’s not even about love. It’s about roses. And mostly about red roses. There are yellow and white roses too; but then why to bother a yellow or white one when you can give a red one?
This time around, I saw a few kids dressed in ragged and dirty clothes hovering all around the place. They were the black-marketers of the day- selling flowers at a price far lower than the price at the Ruby Stall. I asked one of them where he got his flowers from. “We ask any didi to give us the flower she gets!Easy.” he said pointing towards one of the ISM girls.
“What if your ‘didi’ doesn’t give you the flowers?” I asked him.
“We then simply snatch it from her and run away as fast as possible.” He said. I was speechless.
Week 2: The week with so many ‘Days’. Yet only seven.
Even though the Merriam Webster Dictionary has defined love very easily above, I still think it’s too overrated an emotion to be described so simply. Well, love is a concept that jams and clogs my mind, so much so that my grey matter starts resembling a drain of an Indian street. No I am not saying that love is just about chemicals and hormones doing the magic for you. Neither am I saying that love is a brand created by the entertainment industry to help you buy flowers and increase your phone bills. No not that! I am simply saying that maybe it has been commercialized too much. Maybe the hype around it is too cheesy. Maybe we are altering its identity. Maybe it’s too complicated to understand. Maybe I should change the subject.
Day 1: Tried to attend all the classes this week. Waking up in the morning is like torturing myself. But it has to be done- at least 75 percent of the time. Attendance is one hell of a slave master.
Day 2: Had to download an important document this afternoon. The library internet was slower than even a donkey’s brain; that is: assuming that a donkey’s brain is slow. Anyways, I have googled a list of the slowest things on earth to have handy examples to describe the internet speed here. Some of these similes are: slow as a sloth , a snail or a blue whale’s heartbest (4-8 beats/ minute). The best of the lot was as slow as a mountain. (Yes, mountains do move. As fast as our internet.)
Day3: Sometimes, I don’t understand why they have banned social-networking sites at ISM. Oh wait, we are not mature enough to use it properly! After all being mature enough to vote for your country, to drive on public roads, or even to get married (as applicable), doesn’t in any way mean that you are mature enough to use Facebook. Using Facebook maturely is a hell of a job. I agree.
Day4: We had a tough time arranging for a meeting place for the Literary Club. There is a room in SAC and it’s called ‘The Literacy Club’ (notice the ‘c’). Getting permission to use that turned out to be an exercise in countless notices, applications and formalities. And even then somehow we didn’t get the permission. That is how it was meant to be. Notices and more applications, they said. Here sir, have fun.
Day7: Valentine’s Day. Nothing to say.
Usually, placement is a gift. But in these troubled times, it is a miracle; and sometimes even a fairy-tale. My heart was replete with saying ‘Ma’sha’Allah’. It’s an Arabic term which means ‘As God wishes.’ How often life reminds us of this small phrase with some really stunning implications!
It was the third and the last ‘Pratibimb’ I experienced. The best part was the great display of talent. I was awed by the diversity of skills in ISMites. It is one of those things of ISM that makes me proud to call myself an ISMite. (Sometimes I wonder how many such things really are!) The flutes, the guitars, the dances, the plays, the skits – it just speaks volume about how everyone is blessed with immensely talented body and mind.
However, I find it ironic that this fest is called ‘Pratibimb‘ which means ‘reflection’ in Hindi, yet a step motherly treatment is meted out to soft-skill and literary events. Those events which come with an in-built glamour quotient are the ones that rule the roost. Fashion show, dance, rock-bands, etc. are the crowd pullers. Debating, painting, sketching, writing, speaking, elocution, photography and many others- these don’t even exist.
Exams set in. And with it sets in a creepy ambiance in ISM. I hate this time. Especially the evenings, when otherwise ISM is so full of life. But even in this creepiness, as I stroll down the road with a cup of coffee in my hand, I realize how beautifully the moon shines down on our Main Building. The moonlight drenches the red walls in an infinity of silver. The garden in front is gloating in the same silvery haze. The roads stretch on as if they are made of silver bricks. And at the same time, a draft of wind picks up pace and sweeps away the dry leaves fallen around. The leaves swirl and rise in the wind. As the wind grows stronger the leaves rise higher and higher, sometimes even blocking the moon momentarily out of sight.