You could sense the mood shift. You could see it in their gait and hear it in their calls. Circadian rhythms had all but died. With personal hygiene thrown to the winds and academics suspended even in the land of zero-attendance, there was truly, as the gents of yore used to say, ‘something in the air’. All heralding the dawn of Oasis.
People with nine mattresses piled on their shoulders moved across the lawn with a spring in their steps and shouted colourful obscenities as they moved thirty, forty desks out of classrooms to line them up against walls.
Oasis was a’coming.
And after Inaug, the mood changed again and after that it kept changing, and I loved the mood cycle.
Early in the morning, you would feel the nip in the air and bask in the streaming sunlight as you walked to the Controls Booth and picked up a programme. You’d find a sketch pen and sit with a friend, circling everything you had to go for, underlining everything you simply couldn’t stand to miss. And you’d have a plan for the day. While everyone else was still curled up under his blanket, you’d be buoyant.
By the afternoon, your schedule would be in shreds. You’d have missed the dance workshop you’d paid for because you were cracking clues on their head at Wordstock prelims at the other end of the campus; you’d have missed BLAB because you met a bunch of friends when you went to grab a bite. But by now, you would’ve realized that it doesn’t really matter. As long as you don’t fall asleep, you will be having a great time.
This is Oasis.
And by the evening, the lights will have flickered on and people will be dancing in groups on the lawn, clustered around stalls. The street play troupes will be shouting Hindi verses and prancing around, and you will catch strains of a guitar interrupting your own musings. The atmosphere will be charged with an energy that almost manages to overpower the Pilani-lethargy, and with what I can now swear had to be magic.
You will begin sticking to your schedule again, and you will take a friend with you.
You will be making merry.
At two a.m. you would have found brilliant music in the auditorium, or a testing quiz to mull your head over. The beats and lights from the evening’s concert would still be swimming in your head, making you feel that Oasis is your true home and that you want to live here forever.
And at five a.m., you will crawl into bed, telling yourself you can make it, that you can get through the whole year ahead of you, because the endless nights and never-ending days have only but begun. For there is still that Ghost of Oasis Yet to Come.