The dying light of a late August evening falls on the moist muddy roads of the campus and a slow buzz of traffic flow in opposite directions near the Convocation Hall. If an outsider had been at this place at five, he/she would have erringly believed that the campus wound up along with the onset of dusk. For he/she would witness a stream of tired faces flocking onto tumtums to reach their hostels.

Some with headphones, cycling down the slope, would seem unconcerned to the point of indifference. Some chatting in herds about random things, laughing and shouting. Some, in the form of couples, walking side by side, completely engrossed in one another. It would seem like a river flowing past down the road and it just swept them along. But the sight of this mass-dispersal couldn’t be more misleading.

For it is in the hours that follow the dusk that this campus comes to life. Not in the formal sequential way, but in pockets. Pockets of activity light up in the remnants of the day as the lights are turned on. A soul jogging peacefully along the cramped, muddy pavements, another walking an errant dog making sense of its random barks while many others race past the two to reach the fields, the student activity center, the courts, the lounges and the eateries.

But it is almost eight now. Some students, more business-like, emanate from the School of Management, with their suits and ties unkept – they must have been crisp when they had walked in – due to sitting restrained in a lecture. There are professors and lecturers retreating to their quarters. There’s the occasional sight of a foreign student intuitively observing the pedestrian as he/she passes by.

There are myriad characters whom this place churns into a common spirit. The fascination of this place is that no two people ever seem to be alike. They probably never are. Everyone seems to be engrossed in their own private affair at one time, there is an intense public diffusion at other times. If you look at them, ever so closely, yet from a distance, they will give you a lot of information. They all seem separate on a business of their own.

Then, a young man in a maroon shirt and a lady in a shiny pink frock gather on one side of the road under a tree. No one could miss them for a couple. The happiness of seeing each other is evident on their bright faces.  In a minute, an auto stops nearby and they get into it. Soon enough, the auto glides off.

And then the rain begins. As if it were meant to let the couple sit in the comfortable dryness before it began to get the players off the fields.


3 thoughts on “Dusk @ IITB

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