November 21, 2007

Ode to JNU Afternoons

A wintry afternoon and rustle of dry foliage of JNU and smoke ringlets made me remember winter afternoons in the grounds of Victoria Memorial, or in our back verandah in Kolkata. The impressions got sharpened through eavesdropping on two Statistics students (backslapping buddies who will ultimately get married in the middle of their PhDs), sitting on the bench of the Purvachal bus-stop. And cribbing about exam syllabi and the temptation of a Hari Prasad Chaurasia concert.

Interesting melting pot of micrcosms- JNU. The Hindi heartland discussing how to retain teaching jobs for their brethren in colleges in Delhi- pulling court or party strings. Bong lovers cooing poetry into each others' ears, and puffing Gold Flakes. Some chunks felt Hindi heartland, some smelt of the Malmafia, some of Bongbonding. A refreshing (almost startling) contrast from the cosmopolitan, professional school that I was used to. A hum of not-so-urbane tongues, in the background of a voluble chorus of Commie slogans (or maybe they were ABVP), resonating across a landscape of wintry sun and Gold Flake foliage made me nostalgic.

Of the worlds I grew up in, and hardly speak of anymore. Of humdrum, winter landscapes. Subsidised canteens. Milk-sugar chai.