Wondering about the days when I was a fresher in college, I came to the conclusion that there was something which triggered a drastic change in me.
I cannot lay a finger on in yet. It was as if there was a bomb explosion in the brain.
There I was, a shy schoolboy turned teenager, watching with envy those boys around me, walking with a swagger, a lit cigarette adding to their masculinity, jeans suitably torn and dirty.
There were so many of those giggly girls, watching through the corner of their eyes, admiring these “cool” guys.
I came from a strict school, all prim and proper, the British way. It was a co-ed so interaction happened with girls, strictly on studies, the occasional gossip about teachers and the weather of course.
We had our sweethearts too, but they were meant for dreams alone.
So here was a whole new avenue opening up for me in college. Yeah, got to be cool, man.
Cupid’s arrows had already struck the heart before the start of college, nearer home. But what was in the heart would never reach the lip.
Those days Wadia College was the “In” thing. The Cool lot were there and I too went.
But she went to Fergusson, hell. This was shock but I acted quickly for the first time in my life.
I had the marks to just scrape through to Fergusson, the college of scholars. Mission somewhat achieved.
But when I looked at the mirror, the same old face appeared – shabby childish beard, hair cut per schoolboy instructions and the a look of innocence which had to change.
I did go to Wadia College in the evenings to be seen with some of these guys who wore The Look.
Then there was Bhagwan Rajneesh or Osho as he was known later. He was in Pune, spreading his philosophy and art of meditation.
His disciples were everywhere. Sanyasis and Sanyasins, from all around the world, in flowing red robes and nothing else, attracting attention wherever they went.
Some interacted with them and learnt to philosophise. Others lusted and fantasised long, hot nights with the scantily clad Sanyasins.
It caught up. Everybody who sought to be different began to quote him. Some even joined the Ashram.
Osho was inspiring, for me and many others growing up. Here was somebody different, promoting a culture which appealed to us.
He once said, “The past is no more and the future not yet: both are unnecessarily moving in directions which don’t exist. One used to exist but no longer exists and one has not even started to exist. The only right person is one who lives moment to moment.”
Back in the year 1969 when we were children, a music festival was organised on a farm owned by Max Yasgur. All the top and budding musicians of the day came along with hundreds of thousands of people, converging for Three Days of Peace and Music. It was called Woodstock.
I looked again in the mirror a few moons later – long hair, beard and all. It was cool, man. I got the Woodstock album too.
Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, Tell me, where are you going
This he told me…
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Woodstock.