Shivas regal in the ladies hostel
This story was narrated by a lady at a social gathering and gave me an insight into the place few men have been to; the ladies hostel. The narrator was a petite lady of mature years, who one could see was quite a head turner in her younger days. The discussion, mostly among the senior gentlemen present, was of their wild youth in their university days, and the various things they drank and smoked to liven up their lives.
Then this demure lady, to everyone’s surprise, pitched in with an intriguing story of her own, which with her permission I reproduce below. For better effect I will narrate this in first person.
The demure ladies story…
My father, a civil servant, was posted in western India when I graduated high school and got admission in the prestigious Jadavpur University or JU, as we called it. I therefore had to move into the ladies hostel.
I was quite nervous, never having lived outside home before, and having led a very protective existence till then. By nature I was timid shy and obedient, and studious to boot. I kept to myself and my nose in my books. I was polite to everyone but had few friends.
However I did participate in the hostel activities, and being pious, was enthusiastic about the Saraswati puja celebration in the hostel. After the puja, during the visarjan ceremony, when we were being anointed by the sindoor, I was marked by a cross instead of the usual line. I noticed that a few more of the new girls were also being marked that way. Somehow it made me feel special and happy.
When the Prasad was being distributed, I swallowed the thandai sherbet with great devotion, but declined second helpings politely. This triggered a very peculiar reaction.
Two strong ladies held me down while a third force fed me the thick sweet liquid, while a senior shouted “don’t let the goody goody girls get away , get them all stoned. “
I didn’t mind the sweet Prasad, and happily had a few more glasses. This made the seniors very pleased with me.
After this things got rather blurred. I was ravenous with hunger and ate vast quantities of khichuri and sweets. The campus had never looked more beautiful. The students were such wonderful people and so witty, I kept laughing uproariously at everything anyone said, sometimes to the surprise of the speakers. I noticed some other girls with crosses on their foreheads passed out on the table and found that hilarious too. And the drumbeat was magnificent. I just couldn’t stop dancing.
I felt like I was flying like a bird and danced away with abandon along with the drummers in the visarjan procession.
I heard later that I just wouldn’t stop dancing and had superhuman energy that day, but my next memory was that everyone else had left and I was dancing away with my face inches away from the young drummer we had hired, who kept up the tempo, equally energized.
My seniors dragged me back to the hostel as it was dark by now but I was in the mood to chat and wouldn’t shut up. We were sitting on the terrace and looking across the lake at the boys hostel.
I exclaimed, look how beautifully it’s been lit up!
A surprised student remarked “ where? It’s the usual one dim bulb on that roof “
I replied “ can’t you see those beautiful strings of lights in multi colors all twinkling away? You know I can fly out there. Let me show you “
After this my classmates forcibly took me to my room and put me in bed.
I am told that I slept for the next 24 hours.
Since that day, I have not ever touched bhang, weed, hash or even alcohol. But that one brief interlude of letting down my hair was a wonderful experience and a fond memory, and I have a soft corner in my heart for shivjis favorite tipple.