Basanta Utsav at Shantiniketan.
It has been long, since it happened. Sorry friends, couldnt really manage time to write a blogpost for it, due to weak health, college and my madness 😀
After my Bishnupur trip, I was looking forward to spending some more time outdoors… experiencing life, and clicking photographs. It is when Aninya and Tanushree suggested me to go to Shantiniketan during the festival of Holi. Holi, or Basanta Utsav as it is known to Shantiniketan, is the celebration of the festival of colours, in the Tagore style. Shantiniketan (meaning – abode of peace) has been the seat of international studies for over decades, it is also the seat of studies of Bengali and Tagore’s work.
I put up at Koustavs’ place. Monami asked me to be at the place as early as possible… but we really couldnt make it that early. Soumik sir was very helpful, suggesting me places to visit there at shantiniketan and about the basanta ustav.
With Koustav and me, we had Koustavs’ friends from Sainthia. After reaching Shantiniketan, I was so happily lost 😛
The procession had already started by then and was mid way to its completion.
“ওরে গৃহবাসী , খোল দ্বার খোল , লাগলো যে দোল … জলে স্থলে বন তলে লাগলো যে দোল.. দ্বার খোল … দ্বার খোল ”
The field was extreme crowded, so were the streets. I had to literally push through people, climb tree, walls to get a glimpse.. and yes photographs. The cultural programme continued with all the rabindrasangeets of the season of Spring being performed and danced to in the purist forms. I was fortunate enough to make my way across extremes.. from the extreme end to the front row. Thanks to the old man, the aunty, the two incredible kids, 2 students of viswa bharati, and the accounts manager of the viswa bharati university, not to forget the professional photographer.. who gave me tips of shooting while the colours are in the air!
The old man whom I mentioned earlier was an extremely kind person. He assumed me to be a student of Viswa Bharati university (I was wearing a white kurta, pajama – traditional set) and enquired of my identity. I didnt lie, told him that I am from Kolkata and that I went to Shantiniketan for the first time during Basanta Utsav and I wished to be up there in front of the stage, experiencing it. He asked me whether it was the craze of colours or my love for Tagore that had brought me to the place. I was blatant (stupid but true) enough to answer him, that i loved tagore’s song, I read about Tagore in my history books and that I felt I can learn much about the Tagore culture and can take good photographs, that had taken me there. He smiled, put his hand on my head… I didnot know how to react, I felt the safest would be to touch his feet, which I did (and I think that did the trick). He took me from the extreme end and brought me to the middle of the field (amidst students) and put me there and left for some work back stage. I stood there astounded, thanking my luck 😀 but knew that the road to the front row was tougher than that… so tried concentrating on that 😀 The students there, few kids helped me a lot 😀
Taking photographs there, saving my camera and its lens was a bit strangely difficult. Strangely difficult because, I didnot know how to react when the colours were falling from no where, and difficult, because I wanted to capture every moment any how, and I didnt really stop… caring less for my camera.. It was weirdly beautiful feeling, playing colours there.
NB: This is the only 2nd time in my life, I played holi. The first time being in the hostel the last year 😀
Well, the crowd erupted to joy, throwing colours into the air above… when the song ” Rangiye diye jaao” (lets colour them) was being performed…. within moments, the entire air was filled with colours, all happy people around, came and coloured me, while I excused myself for a while and photographed them.. 😀 It was an incredible and extreme experience of joy and happiness, when the entire place, was playing holi with dry colours, treating each others like brothers and sisters… like they have been living together for years till then !
Having being lost, I met numerous other people and I loved interacting with them. Made a new friend – Nilabha, who is another fantastic person to meet and to work with. In shantiniketan, I met with many of my college folks, including Ritabrata, samik, souvick, antarip, anindya, sreyasi and many other friends from college.
The entire atmosphere went electric after that, people formed groups, playing musical instruments, dancing to it.. all free of the worldly tension. It was a moment of fun! Few groups performed rabindrasangeet while at some place, people were performing Rupam Islam numbers… and all were so readily acceptable there, all absorbed in the atmosphere… all so colourful.
Shall end this post with two photographs, I love the most from the days’ work. If you like my clicked photographs, show your support: