(the road from Ilambazar to Shantiniketan. My local favourite)
Winter is going away too fast. The chill vanished with almost military punctuality on Saraswati pujo day. There is the all-too-evanescent spring in the air, it’s terribly dusty all around, and if it doesn’t rain soon, yet another awful summer is going to be upon us within weeks…
My old faithful scooter wrought a miracle yesterday. I drove to Shantiniketan on a whim with someone riding pillion, and yet it went all the way and back without so much as a hiccup, only to break down virtually when I was back home (minor hitch, soon resolved). I am not going to exchange it for a new bike in a hurry!
I was visiting Shantiniketan after quite some time. The grounds look much tidier and more colourful with trees and flowers than I remember seeing them ever before. Someone is obviously paying attention to these things at last. And there were Ananda pathshaala classes going on in the open air as always. But the museum at Rabindra Bhavan was a disappointment. Many of the exhibits have been put beyond the public gaze, apparently after the original Nobel Prize medallion was stolen: a classic case of shutting the gates after the horse has bolted if ever there was one!
I am missing some of my frequent comment-writers here. Where have you folks gone?
My yearly admissions will begin on February 22, and for more than a week the house will be swarming with people. The notices are up on display at the gate, and folks are ringing up at all hours to find out when they must turn up and what they must do for their kids to get in. Every year this time gives me a rush of mixed feelings – wonder, about why they keep coming year after year in such numbers, profound thankfulness that they do, discomfiture over how much I’ll have to talk and how much silliness and worse I’ll have to deal with until the admissions are over, trepidation over whether I can do my thing with the fresh batches as well as I have unfailingly done all these years (I started in Durgapur in 1987, and the batches grew large from 1992), pride that I must have made some name for myself doing something that many people have found worth their time and money, else this would have been just a figment of my imagination, gladness that not a few have taken away so much more than merely a few notes and marked exercises for some piffling examinations, sadness that so many have not (or have forgotten since leaving my classes, or simply never told me how I helped to make their lives better in some lasting sense)… it’s been a good life, and I am looking forward to retirement in a few years’ time, and so many people’s voices ring in my ears, too, saying ‘Sir, you can never retire!’