FROM “REFLECTIONS OF A PILGRIM”- MY OTHER BLOG –
Under the Banyan Tree
Thanks to facebook, I have been able to contact a few of my friends after 30 years ! Yes incredible isn’t it? I used to wonder all these years, whether I will be able to meet these people, since I did not know their whereabouts other than remembering their names.
It was so exciting to know that they too remembered me. Exchanging some messages, I find that, I may be able to get in touch with some of the other girls too. I am excited to know that they are around somewhere, and I have another chance to catch up with the people that I thought, I had passed by in this journey of my life. I thought that I may never be able to meet them in this lifetime. Sounds huge but isn’t that the reality? We sometimes end up never meeting some people who made an impact on us.
Memories of us being a little naughty runs through my thoughts. Can you imagine, going for a movie was taboo, back then. We would literally spin some stories to the wardens, to able to go out of the hostel on Saturday afternoons. A 20 to 25 minutes walk, depending on our pace, would take us to the bus stand close by. From there we used to go to the city to go to some theatre there for a movie. After the movie, we may go for an ice-cream before returning to the hostel. Coming back was a little difficult sometimes and we used to sneak in quietly without Padhu teacher’s knowledge.
She was some disciplinarian. There was always the worry, that someone might catch us rushing back late from our outings. Sometimes we had to hush them and rush in time for dinner at the dining hall. Exhausted but feeling happy and at the same time a little relieved, to be able to come back without any problems, we will go to bed to prepare for the next day. Imagine that was the level of mischief we were allowed!
There were times we were a litte bolder than that, but somehow it had to be within the limits. Sarees were the only attires allowed. Anything else was unacceptable. Some found difficulty in adhering to such strictness, but since it was a part of the culture there, we had to dress accordingly. I was not too experimental like some of the girls, who would wear pants beneath a saree and remove the saree on their way out during their jaunts !
The dining hall does look better now. There were no fans then.
That was Kalakshetra then, a different time, a different generation. Nevertheless it was fun. Sweet memories of coming together with students from all over the world. We gathered at this idyllic place, which also happened to be the place we had come to learn the arts. The pace was slow moving with ample space to be in tune with the natural setting of the environment.
Lying in bed at night, I would sometimes listen to the winds howling when the night was quiet and if it was going to rain. When the sea was rough we could hear the sounds of the waves on the beach close by. In retrospect, what a beautiful environment to be in. Walking on the sands of the campus was cumbersome at that time. Sometimes I wonder if given another chance, would I have looked at the place in the same way? I guess, I would have greater appreciation now.
I was too busy with my classes and practices. Getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning to practice my music. Bathing in cold water and having to only be in a saree was quite a challenge, but the fun was there too. We were not allowed to listen to any other music other than classical music. It took me some years later to be able to get used to listening to other genres of music. But it was fun to be able to come together from different parts of the world and living in the same environment and learning to adapt to the time and place there.
We had to adhere to the strict discipline, not to the extent of a monastery though! But I remember meeting Padhu teacher a few years later, when she told me that the place was not the same now. Times had changed and they could not expect the girls to follow their strictness as we would!
Wow! What a compliment coming from her. Yes dear Dr. Padmasini who was also a doctor of homeopathy, was in here sixties when I met her. She was a slim lady with silver hair and was always seen in a white cotton saree with the pallu wraped around her shoulders most of the time. She would have been a beauty in her younger days. You could see from her features. We used to fear her for her strictness. She was the doctor we would have to see when we fell ill.
Nostalgic memories of my times in Kalakshetra. Though the years have gone by so swiftly, the memories are still fresh like the jasmine flowers. I always consider it as one of my greatest gifts amongst other gifts, to have been given the opportunity to be in such a wonderful and beautiful place and time.