31 October, 2020

Colours Of Peace

Colours Of Peace
I had last visited Shantiniketan during my student days in Calcutta, which was long ago. Ever since, every time I planned a visit, something went wrong. This time I thought that if I landed on friends and relatives in Calcutta around Holi the timing would be perfect, because they all hot-foot it to Shantiniketan for what Bengalis call Dol. The cultivated Bengali (aren't they all?) calls it the most civilised Holi in India. Academics, artists, writers, sedate housewives—Calcutta doesn't yet have Page 3s—but their equivalents from its society, all make a dash to Shantiniketan for Dol. Like Delhiwallahs who used to go to Goa for Christmas before they discovered the Maldives. "None of your getting doused with permanent colour by louts out in the streets, or stones flung at the windows of passing cars," said my relatives, "Of course, it's a little mild and even precious, the girls act as if they are dancing in Chitrangada before they respectfully spray you, but it's just right for a weekend. The drive is only two-and-a-half hours and the langchas (a favourite Bengali sweet) on...


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