Winter has bid adieu to Kolkata. The scorching heat will remind you of the same if the fact spaces out of your mind, even once. Spring has finally set in. Or let me say
…বসন্ত এসে গেছে!
With spring, its festivities have also landed in people’s hearts and minds. With the abundance of colors around, India has started yelling… “Holi Hey”!
Rabindranath Tagore himself was very fond of Spring or Bawshonto (বসন্ত ). He has composed numerous songs and poems on Spring. In Shantiniketan (Viswa-Bharati University), he initiated Boshonto utshob. And it is still celebrated. Holi is actually celebrated in Shantiniketan as Boshonto Utshob and it is a huge deal. Students and teachers of the University organize the show. Songs of Rabindranath Tagore are sung and danced to by the students and the teachers.
The event starts early in the morning around 7am with, as in tradition, “ওরে গৃহবাসী খোল, দ্বার খোল, লাগলো যে দোল (ore griho-bashi khol, daar khol, laaglo jey Dol…)” After many songs and recitations related to spring in between, the festival finally ends with the song, again a tradition, “রাঙিয়ে দিয়ে যাও যাও, যাওগো এবার যাওয়ার আগে (Raangiye diye jaao jaao, jaao go ebaar jabar aage” And as per tradition, after the event ends, people plays the joyous game of Dol. They play with powdered colors, they throw them in air, smear the colors on each other and what not. Every year it’s the same but you will find something new in it. The after-party glee will get attached to you like a parasite and it’s hard to get rid off.
This year I wanted to visit a place where Dol is celebrated with as much excitement as in Shantiniketan. And what is better than Rabindranath’s ancestral house, Jorasanko Thakurbari. I have never been to the place before. So the whole journey was an adventure.
Boshontotsob was celebrated this year on 2nd of March. On 1st march evening, one of my friends came up with a plan. And I was waiting for a companion. So a perfect match.
My family and school is the major reason for my love towards Rabindranath Tagore. Being a Rabindrasangeet addict it’s hard to confine yourself from singing along when you listen to one. When Boshonto Utshob finally began on the grounds of 6, Dwarkanath Lane (Jorasanko Thakurbari, now Rabindra Bharati University), I sang like many others, Orre Griho-Bashi.
This year’s theme was a little out of the box. It was an audio drama, one might say. There were two characters, an old man and his granddaughter. So on the auspicious day of Dol, Granddaughter asks her Grandfather why is he sulking inside the house while the whole world has already immersed itself in colors. After a lot of fuss, Grandpa finally opens the door and instantaneously loved the ambience, and similarly got into the crowd celebrating Dol. The elaborate drama specifically signifies that spring is not the season for youths only but for old age too, for age is the natural way of decaying but your soul should never lose the young spirit. ওরে গৃহবাসী (Orre grihobashi)… was followed by many other songs, “নীল দিগন্তে ওই ফুলের আগুন লাগলো (nil digonte oi fuler aagun laglo)”, “ওরা অকারনে চঞ্চল (ora okaarone chonchol)”, “ফাগুন হাওয়ায়ে হাওয়ায়ে (Fagun Hawaye Hawaye…)”, “ওরে ভাই, ফাগুন লেগেছে বনে বনে (ore bhai fagun legeche bone bone) and many more. I was humming along while shooting the photographs. Eventually Rabindrasangeet faded into Indian Shastriya Songs, pure instrumentals and some Bollywood hits of 2014. The Show ended with “আজ খেলা ভাঙ্গার খেলা… (aaj khelaa bhaangar khelaa, khelbi aaye…)” which is a break from the tradition of Viswa Bharati University. Nevertheless, the environment was festive, colors flying around, giggles and laughter echoed in the premises. People played with colors, unknown people played with colors, and they were happy. Needless to say, I got colorized. 😛 Though I am allergic to abir (the powdered colors), I didn’t hesitate from getting colored. 🙂
I enjoyed the day thoroughly and the hangover I had – Pure bliss. It’s sheer happiness and nothing in the world can compete that (except motherly love). The warmth, the vibrancy, the smell is bound to leave a mark on your heart, mind or whatever you may call it.
You might say, where did your friends go? Well they left the party midway. They didn’t like it that much.
Share with me your memorable Holi experience. Or just share your thoughts about the post. 🙂