Recounting the features of some twenty faces is no mean task. It requires patience and time, both of which I lack. People are my preoccupation. At our post festival meeting, I spoke about each person in front of me at length, for I had observed them that much. Also, I was full of emotions, bubbling inside, waiting to be poured out. Today, I am more calm. I apologise to those I might forget to mention, for my memory-scape is limited. However, my brain knows exactly where it has to begin.
|Mishail and Anamta|
She would gently hold my hand when metro forbade her from standing straight. She would cast sheepish looks at me when she spoke too loud, or stepped on a fellow passenger's foot. She would wake me up when she needed to talk. Secure, and strong, her laughter always rang in my ears when I needed to relax. And in the course of the festival preparations, she was perhaps the only I shouted on. But Mishail Sharma knew better than to retaliate. She would simply giggle, and my hard features would soften. Problems would again be conquerable. World would again be a better place.
Even before Mishail, the person I began my Jamia journey with, was Anamta Rizvi. There was a spark in her which had caught my attention. That spark, her zeal to work, and her good nature - all these combined to transform her into the greatest asset I had with me to execute our festival plans. Sincere in her own work, and eager to help others - she was a delight to watch when at work. Writing, speaking, creative imagination - she conquered each. And finest of all, she conquered my heart.
Between friends, you often forge strange relations. That strange and pleasant relation, I formed with Nayema Nasir - the one woman in our nautanki-party, who is rich in maternal warmth, and has a therapeutic calmness in her personality. She took care, comforted, scolded and at the end, made sure we were headed in the right direction. She took our pain on herself, and inspired us even with her soft, barely audible voice. But that is the woman she is - she had our attention without forcing her presence on us. Nayema di, how was I surviving without all your love till now in life?
The person obviously next in line is Saurabh (this name seems to have some past-janam-ka-relation with me, but that, later). Why is it obvious? Well, its JMI students' prerogative to know. This guy was the strong backbone of our event. Aggressive at the right places, and moderating influence in tense situations - he knew exactly what it took to pull off a festival like ours. No personal remarks on this guy, except the fact that he is fab. I still fear him, but laud him for keeping me humble.
I would have left the festival scene, had it not been for Aisha Shams, who came an spoke to me like an authoritative, firm, yet understanding elder. Along with Lubna Ansari, she made me confident when I was low, she made me smile when I wanted to cry. And Lubna di - wasn't she my own elder sister? Bringing me special lunches, exchanging comforting glances and silently completing all her tasks, not once losing her cool - all this and more were things that characterized her. The ideal Vice President, she allowed me to blossom, and guided and supported me. Any amount of gratitude to her is less.
The loud, vivacious kid of our group, like is necessary in any family, was Sudipta. The kid, she still is. Despite being the youngest, she had the longest tongue, which would simply not stop producing some or the other noise. Having said that, I have to admit, her vivacity is what kept our spirits up. No matter what field of work, she deputed herself everywhere, and delivered results with aplomb. My unofficial assistant, she was also my gossip partner, which, in other words, can be called, a destresser. And Ma Annapurna too. I would have starved had it not been for her well stocked lunch boxes.
|Kid, isn't she? That's Sudipta!|
|Hina and Anusha|
Anusha and Hina - I cannot help but always see them together. The former, bubbly. The latter, composed. Both worked for each other, and not just themselves. Bombshells in a saaree, they were two of the most understanding people on my team. They stood for us, stood by us. There is nothing more I could've asked.
In this string of people, next name is anyone's guess. Kaif Ali Taqvi. Hamaare Manto saahab. He and Abhilash Philip brought alive on stage the two masters our festival sought to celebrate - Manto and Dickens. I wonder how they handled the pressure and responsibility of doing justice to two such great names. Often harried by expectations and multiple opinions, they both took the stage, did their thing and emerged as stars. Shining bright. Shedding (lime)light on our whole team.
She was another one I consistently managed to get angry with, but Varnana Choudhary made the Pickwick journey lighter with her wit and humour. She doesn't know this, but when people called her event a huge success - I felt a personal pride, and the satisfaction of having done something right. Intrinsic to our social group, she is one of those people I look forward to seeing everyday.
Care and concern was not showered on us only by the female members of our team. Altamsh was one person who touched our hearts by the genuine concern he had for our safety and security. He would do any and every thing which I asked, without any reluctance. Sometimes, that kind of a reliable person is necessary in a group which has set out to set an example. I knew he had our back. Always.
Bold, beautiful and graceful - Wafia Kissa had it all to make people envious. However, this girl floored me, not just with her poise and elegance, but with her humility, etiquettes and simplicity. I became an even greater fan of hers when her softer side was exposed to me. Eager to perform, always on her toes and a no-nonsense attitude to work - this girl will go a long way - I can proudly say that.
I had many people to rely on, many to follow impromptu commands (we call them requests), but one guy who outdid himself, even in the face of copious amount of work loaded on him, was Vismaiy Avasthi. A self confessed nerd, this chap always worked away from the hullabaloo of the festival. Sitting with sombre expression in front of a laptop, or waving from the department roof while hanging banners - Vismaiy was an efficient, cute, pleasant, sincere asset to have in our team. He rightly feels fatherly affection for the Pickwick blog. I might have started it, but he took the blog to its rightful culmination.
Momin Khan. It will never happen in life that I will forget this name. There are reasons to it, reasons which are best not visited again. However, what I will say about this chap is - he is the person who converted the festival journey into a fable for me. Yes, a fable, no less. As I discovered him, I discovered a bit of myself too. Th depths of his potential lie unexplored, and he only knows it too well. I hope I soon witness the day he makes the whole Pickwick family, the whole Jamia family proud.
I am missing out on descriptions of many names - Shabeeh, Sadia, Asif, Umar, Aryak, Zakir, Aamir - but because of my limited association with them, I find myself incapable of saying anything more than a heartfelt thank you.
|Aaqib, Zakir and Momin|
Oh, and how did I miss out on him? I of course did not! Saved him for the end. Aaqib Raza Khan. I do not know for sure why I grew so fond of him, but he was one person I searched for in every meeting. If there was any day I did not see him performing to his potential, I would be filled with a sense of extreme sadness. Conversely, when his designs were splashed across the entire department, I felt so proud of having a person of his calibre on our side. His creativity spoke such volumes that my friends from other colleges called up to applaud our poster designs - compliments which I made sure I conveyed to him. And along with Momin, he made the trust factor percolate my heart rather early. Momin and Aaqib - I am extremely keen on seeing and knowing where life takes them. For them, and for everyone else mentioned above, I have nothing, but the best of prayers in my heart.
Its been some days since the festival got over. We are all still living in its hangover. I know from experience that this hangover will not last long, however much I wish it does. A complete package of mature and silly, fun and sombre people - this Pickwick team might not reunite to create another spectacle. Its strange. I am not happy any more, though I desperately want to be. I do not want to live the festival time again, but, I do not want to let go off this grand feeling too. What ultimately made this festival special was our togetherness, our tears and smiles, our trust and transparency, our love, care and concern, and our incessant support for each other. Such privileges in life are hard to come by. Its impossible, and do not cajole anyone otherwise, but I do hope our bonds stay intact.
And days went by like paper in the wind
Everything changed, then changed again
Its hard to find a friend
Its hard to find a friend.
|The Core Pickwick Team|