The Adda

Social life expresses itself in many forms. Adda is one of them. Defining it in totality is difficult, yet in my own limited manner, I’ll make an attempt. An adda is a place and a state of mind. It is a place where like minded people (who call themselves friends sometimes) tend to converge at definite points of time in a day, in a planned or unplanned manner. The state of mind that’s called an adda is more crucial in determining the adda-ness of the place. Without that state of mind, there’s no adda any more.

Going from Assi to BHU Main Gate, one passes a statue of the founder: Mahamana Malviyaji. Just befor that statue, to the right hand side, there’s a tea stall that used to be our adda around the year 2000. Us means Vinay, Kunwar, Shravan, I and many other members of the group. The place is there still, yet, it’s no more an adda for us. Many of the group members left the city. Even when we’re there and meet, there’s no adda anymore because the state of mind has left us, probably forever.

(Photo: Mr. Rishi Vohra)

This image is from Banaras Hindu University, Kasi that my friend Rishi Vohra sent me. The location is Bharat Kala Bhavan, and he sent the image of the location because it’s here that we used to come (or, shall I say, go) for our addas. I remember the core members of the adda hare: Rishi, Shubhendu, Atma, Ravi and I. Besides, many others used to come and go, just watching or interacting and participating. We used to reach there often, as we knew that post-experience we’d feel and say “What larks!”, as Joe did. We were seldom disappointed in our adda.

And then, there was Bharat Kala Bhavan. Entry was free for us students. I have spent my quota of hours inside. I still remember Roerich’s painting of the night, Prgyaparmita, and the room that is devoted to the archaeological finds of the Raj Ghat excavations. Another adda used to be the central library and the tea stall opposite the library complex, by the temple.

The regular members of the adda fall in three lots: lot 1 that was before 2000 had Mihir, Debashish, Ranjeet etc. The second lot around 2000 had Shibbu, Srivastavji, Harsh and the group. The last lot after 2000 had Vinay, Kunwar and the group. There used to be one constant member through all the years: the books in the library. I remember long hours spent browsing between the racks stacked with books of different disciplines.

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