“Forty minutes of non-stop music, your favourite hits”, the FM station beamed. A typical morning, as I trudged away to my office with earphones fixated, my lone companion through the one hour routine journey.
“It’s new. It’s different”.
The last words touched upon me again. “It’s different”. Of course, it’s new and different as I walk towards a whole new way of life in stark contrast to the one I spent the last 1278 days. The thoughts took me back down the memory lane, the road that I had tread upon and marched along throughout the last three and a half years. My alma mater, BITS, Pilani, has been an astonishing place not alone in terms of its location, in the remote interiors of the Thar, radiating greenery all around, or the academia that it offered, but more so for the way it moulded talented youngsters through an array of co-curricular activities which I doubt if it exists in any other institution of its class. The work that the BITSians put through to make their own student cultural and academic activities a great success draws no parallel.
And I have been having one such passionate affair, an association with ‘Ragamalika’, Raag, as we call it and it still continues. Interest in fine arts has eluded me right from my childhood, though I can boast of some carnatic tutelage during my early school days. It never interested me the way it should have. The tables turned around once I joined this wonderful club in my very first semester in BITS. A plethora of events, solely organized by a group of enthusiastic, dedicated, generously talented people took me by surprise. From the traditional solo concerts in ET/2219 to huge dance concerts tuned to live orchestra in the audi, the whole-hearted effort of the students was spell bounding. The amount of practice that was put into each and every concert and the outcome of the events makes the club one of the most respected in BITS and the various faculty people who attend our concerts stand testimony to the fact. Sangamam, its organization, stands out as an exemplary student’s initiative to promote classical music and dance, again, a unique feature of Raag’s activities.
Ohh..ya! You must have browsed through all these activities of Raag in the foreword. So, what’s so special about this club, you may ask. Every person in a club/department in BITS claims his’ to be the best. Well, I am no different. Raag has been more than a mere club to me. For one thing, it changed me from a ‘what’s so great about carnatic music’ attitude to ‘there can be nothing better than this!’, a change which has made me realize the value of the art which for so long I had failed to even appreciate and that made me even more remorseful for wasting the chances to learn that I had during my initial years.
The people with whom I was lucky enough to interact, the knowledge and the talent that they exuded cannot be compared to any kind of academic encounters with the intellectuals that I have had. The club was much more than merely a group of individuals working together. Inside the club, you could experience the warmth and love
in abundance. A perfect set of companions to share the moments of the day, to hang out, to learn and to befriend with. We have had much fun and it would make a long list if I were to spell them out here.
There are a few things in life which one feels deeply grateful to and would want to hold close to the heart. Raag stands at the pinnacle of all those in my list. It’s been a revelation to me. T
And as I realize I miss those now and probably wont get a chance again, it makes me look back and cherish all the days I spent there in the little Raag room – probably the smallest room allotted for any club by the institute, to contain a group of the most large hearted people. But we didn’t mind. We could all fit in there no matter what!
It’s not even been more than two months since I passed out, tagged now as an
“Off campus guy”, but the difference is lucid. “I miss being there” would be connotation. But I do keep myself abreast of what is going on in campus through blogs, mails and phone calls whatever the mode of communication might be. I don’t want to miss out on all the enthu just because I am some 1500 miles away. It still rules the heart…
“All India Radio. 7.15 PM. Vocal recital by Priya sisters. Ragam – Shanmugapriya. Composer – Thyagaraja…..” the station aired. I smile to myself. Atleast I have got myself this…