it has been a long time since i spent the afternoon lolling around in the lawn. ridhima was talking of the time when they were in the first year when she used to walk by the canteen and watch us all- saurabh, aditya, ninad, ateya, prajna, prasad, prasad, rupali, nilesh, yogita, rohit, chitra and so many more of us of the chai wala and the periphery group. we used to sit, bitch and haggle, chat and discuss what to us were earth shattering conversations about architecture, the city, other people. she was wondering whether she would ever be like us. why she wanted to, i don’t know, but as a space for debate and play, it was essential to my growth. it was an institution then; and like most institutions sometimes suffered from the pitfalls of diverging interests, internal wrangling, complicated love affairs and general claustrophobia; but still it was there- an alternative center- informal and maddening but brilliant fun.
then one day it dispersed. while further studies, conventional jobs, the ‘establishment’ can be blamed for it. perhaps the space had run its course. perhaps that was its life span. after this space dissipated, unfortunately there has been no other space of resistance that has arisen. there have been smoking gangs, drinking gangs, hang out gangs; but never the kind that actually once had a reading club for urban theory over chai and vada pao.
today biscuit was here from the usa. we hung around on the lawn for a long time. the lawn is not a space for bitching. it does not allow that. in the evenings when the sun finally gets to the western end and light finally hits the grass, all it allows for are conversations in a low voice about aspirations, ambitions, the times gone by and times to come. we sat for a long time on the ledge of the lawn talking and it felt good to see him again, still as sentimental and loving- just a little more rounder.
later on the lawn again; this time aparna, lubaina, ridhima, tushar and namrata lounging and talking, i was wondering why i don’t do this anymore; and then i remembered that i am what the school of rock calls ‘the man’ – to be resisted and fought. more power to the opposition!