A collage from college 

So watching some old Hindi songs on YouTube, I started wondering about what it would have been like if some of the leading ladies of 60s-70s Bollywood were in College around the time I was at Stephen’s.

Waheeda Rahman would be this elusive, introverted being who’d only hang out with this one friend she went to school with. Plus she would probably be in Philosophy so you’d only have one elective lesson with her each week. She would look in your direction once every two months. So your unit of measurement for pretty much every thing would be two months.

Saira Bano would be extroverted and overwhelming. She’d buttonhole you in the main corridor as you’d be heading for the cafe – and tease you about the way you look, the way you speak, the way you walk. Next time you’d take a longer route to avoid her, but she would suddenly emerge from the Chapel and catch you off guard. You’d be scared of her but then she’d be the only woman who would ever talk to you.

Sharmila Tagore. Sigh! Always surrounded by her pals from Welhams (where she would’ve been School Captain) and Doon, there’d be just no way to get to know her. Then one day, via a Mayo friend, you’d get invited for a party she’d be hosting in a South Delhi farmhouse. She wouldn’t speak to you during the party, but the food would make it worth the long trip.

Sadhna would be from another city. She’d attend classes, hang around a lot in the library, and do meaningful extra-curriculars like the Social Service League – so you wouldn’t get to see her much. But one day, in a compulsory Hindi class you’d show up for to kill time, you’d read a Bachchan poem and smile at each other. That would be your only interaction with her for the three years.