I WAS THERE WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
this is an interesting story to tell- the one i have told too many times.
there are these moments in one's live which gleam more than other usual monochromatic ones, the moments, gogol, the russian writer calls, the moment of absolute happiness and satisfaction. chandradhar sharma guleri talks about it the important moments in one's life, which one remembers, may be years later, and they flash in the final moments of ones life.
let us start before the start then. it was 2012. i had already lost hope to see some good literary activity in the department of English Patna college. there was no initiative from the faculty and the students in my batch had taken on themselves to prove that at last, poetry and creative writing had lost all their relevancy. a failed attempt to publish a magazine sat on my back- the burden tiring and the life threatening experience it had been, it led me to believe that my days in literature were numbered.
but it was 2012 and things changed - drastically and for better. one day, pooja and amulya, two of my juniors, very dedicated in their approach, presented a proposal to the department for organizing regular meetings in a literature club. as a senior i was told look after the proceedings and help them co-ordinate and hungry and thirsty i was, i jumped on it with both hands. and so "renaissance" was born.
five people attended the first meeting. we discussed shakespeare and a little of history. the meetings were interesting... to say the least and irregular.
and then one day we thought, we should have a fest.it was 2013. people knew about the forum a little bit but there was no funding. the head of the department came to the rescue. the darling that she was, she encouraged us and took the responsibility of the whole budget. the students contributed a tiny sum as well. we wanted to flow. as a final year student, i wanted to leave something and to take away one good memory, to think that i had tried would suffice, would be enough consolation.
there was no stage yet i wrote a play. there was no electricity and yet the hostelers, avanish, hrisabh and sandeep and others from junior batches, wired the department somehow. roushan went up on the roof of the lecture theater through an opening in the terrace and brought sun. everyone contributed. and rubaroo happened. a department so old, with no history of a literature fest, with a very rich legacy to pursue after and without any infrastructure and enough means had nothing to lose. and we had our enthusiasm to fight every negativity we had in our life.
i wrote a play. i smoked marijuana (totally fake) in front of hundred people (teachers in the first row)' it had seemed impossible that we can have an english play staged in patna let alone be it in patna college.(godot happened in masters later but that is a story for another day) we had poetry reading session, some brilliant speeches about literature and we watched some brilliant movies. one of them, which i made, which talked about poetry and in which two friends from hindi department had acted alongside me and there were people from the department as well. all this happened and we somehow managed to have loads of fun.
now that i look back, it seems impossible to imagine that something of this sort and this magnitude can be pulled off at a place like patna college.
the activity continued for three more years in one way or another. it becomes important to remember and celebrate rubaroo this year because this has been the first year and despite some brilliant students nothing could be organised. this is the first year i am out of the university and most of us from the original team have trailed into different directions.
as a team leader, it was challenging but then to have a team like that , i never had to think about failing. life has funny ways. just when i was thinking about how lonely i was getting, i had this bunch of wonderful people with me to tell how wrong i was and to share a common passion with these people even for those few days was something i was going to keep with me, something which was going to be a fireplace in the chilling cold to sit by.
the thing with a legacy is that there should always be carriers of it, similarly passioned, indifferent to the practicality of the idea and tough enough to bend whatever comes in the way. "rubaroo" was where i became more open to literature and its various realms. a legacy if not remembered is forgotten very easily and so it is important to keep revisiting.
in broad senses, we did not do anything extra ordinary, but in various ways, it was the best thing to happen to us and it is probably one of those few things in this meaningless life we did, which we did for ourselves without any materialistic or career ambitions and just for the sheer joys of it.
time, if like they say in string theory, is just another dimension and can be traveled through, rubaroo is still happening to us somewhere in that direction.