Romance in the air through Sixties’ songs in Simla of the Sixties
“साइकिल के हैंडल पे तुझको बिठाके
कॉलेज में तेरी मैं प्रोक्सी लगवा के
ले जाऊंगा पिक्चर हमराज
मत हो मेरी जां उदास।”
The Binaca geetmala romantic songs of the evergreen movies of the Sixties and their parody in popular youth culture were something that we grew up listening to in Simla of the Sixties… And weaving dreams thereof!!!
And we foolishly thought that going to college would mean, in a way, breaking free of the mental and physical shackles that bound us to the dictums of the morality platoon of the friendly neighbourhood of our very own Lower Bazaar. My imagination was flared by the songs that some girls in the neighbourhood would sing catering to our fancy.To imagine a pretty shapley damsel, attired in body hugging tight shirt with a zipper at the back, sitting delicately astride the rod of a cycle, with s hsndsome young boy at the handle of the cycle, was a picture of a college going girl in our wildest imagination.
Well not just any ordinary girl but a damsel deep in romance…. Imagining the girl to be protectively held by the hero, maneuvering the handle of the cycle, on road to Sanjauli college… would aflutter any teenager’s heart with love and longing.
But life was not so in Simla of the Sixties…..no girl would ever walk around with a boy leave alone riding a bicycle sitting with him. Do much so that very few girls could be seen cycling on the treacherous curves of road from Lakkad Bazaar to Sanjauli.
In the college, I found to my wonder, that there were layers of social stratification differentiation girls from boys, boys from other boys and girls from other girls….the badis of the stratification were very different.
Girls studying science would have more opportunities to talk to boys of their class because of practical groups where all students worked in close proximity irrespective of any difference. We could, occasionally, enjoy a cup of tea together or a walk home together in a group if you lived the same side but apart from that a single girl walking along with another boy eoukd result in big ” hawaaas” and much bitching behind the backof course.
Very few daredevil girls would try to break these shackles … And would walk alongwith the boy they were going steady with. But a group of faithful boys would follow or precede those lovebirds as if to provide them patrolling services. We, the girls, too, would watch with interest those love birds with a little envy in our hearts but would carry on with our own dull and drab life. One such handsome couple, seemingly much in love, was the cynasore of all eyes in the college. Having left the college we could not know what was the ending of that love story but Facebook, the great omniscient, has revealed that both are living happily with their own spouses….
So there was nothing like a love story ala…the romantic superhit movie “Hamraaj”!!!! There could be many reasons for that…there were no cycles in Simla. One had to hire a cycle at Lakkad Bazaar and leave it at Sanjauli cycle stand and I wonder if boys of our college knew how to ride a cycle leave alone balancing a damsel sitting on the handle of the cycle. Or perhaps it was the psychological barriers, inbuilt during the raising up years in the lanes of Simla that did the trick of restricting the damsels and the young smart boys from falling in love!!! But whatever may have been the reason…we, the teenagers of Sixties loved listening to such romantic songs, localising the songs as per our imagination and living in a dream world where ” Love in Simla ” was an everyday affair and not an exception which in reality it was in Simla of the Sixties!!!