Yippee! The air is clear and crisp, and the skies are the closest they ever get to a California blue in the tropics. Its early February. We are all dressed in yellow. No books, no homework, no dance, or anything that bears any resemblance to learning. It is Vasant Panchami (the 5th day of Spring). We have gleefully surrendered all our pencils, pens, paints, brushes, books, instruments and any other conceivable source of knowledge to Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. She can take her own sweet time to bless them. We are too busy. Its a day to eat, play, eat… repeat! Luchi, begun bhaja, labda, bhaandhaa kopir chochori, khichudi, chaatni, papod bhaaja, and kool, lots of kool!
We are at one of my favorite “uncle’s” house – Chatterji Jethu. He wasn’t our uncle – but, growing up we didn’t call our elders by name or even as Mr. or Mrs. Everyone was an uncle or an aunt.
Chatterji Jethu was lean, energetic, a fabulous gardener, cook and best of all, he was always smiling. Every year we celebrated Basant Panchami at his house with all our neighbours and friends.
So far any attempt at adding detail or color has gone where it needs to go – the trash bin.
So here it is – a plain, unadorned pencil outline of a hereto unknown outcome of my most potent memory of this festival. Me, up on a guava tree, watching the menfolk fry luchis. Yummy.
Now that I have this out of my system, I hope that Saraswati will help me get past the trash bin phase and help me capture that memory in all its joyful color. I am told that a more fitting name for godly guidance is called practice.
Aditi Raychoudhury. Shubho Basant Panchami. Let the feasting begin. Pencil Drawing. 2017.