Rang de Basanti

“If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

That’s so true … Albeit with a barely there winter season, Basant Panchami seems to be early this year. This day officially marks the beginning of a brief spring season in India.

Basant Panchami has special significance for people of BHU, the day celebrates the anniversary of Foundation laying ceremony of the University 100 years back in 1916. It’s a holiday, but with celebrations in the air. Most of the hostels start the day with Saraswati Puja early in the morning with students and teachers decked up in yellow clothes followed by a parade with march pasts by the students and decorated tableus depicting history and achievements of the University (the Parade stopped sometime in mid 80s after a student riots, but it has started again in last couple of years).

One of the special memories associated with the day has been to wear my very first sari on this day. Since my mother was very reluctant to let me wear one of her yellow saris, Masi was more liberal. She had this lovely Basant colour malmal sari (from her days of being a hostel warden when they used to dye the saris before the festival themselves) with a Gujarati embroidered maroon border that became my first sari.

I loved wearing it for this special occasion and I still have the sari in the wardrobe even though the yellow body has faded over time, gotten dirty with so many wears that apparently Masi had, but I still treasure it. I have bought couple of yellow saris over time to wear specifically on Basant Panchami, but I would love to wear that old sari again and again – for the memories and love behind it.

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