Tagore’s September Curse






Once, upon Tagore House fell a September curse.

The first strike came on the first Tuesday. One girl catches the campus bus, returning to the student hostel for lunch. The bus bounces along, bump after bump. A particularly strong jolt rattles the girl. Though she is but one passenger on that crowded bus of practical human cushions, she manages to knock her head. Two CT scans later, doctors at the fancy hospital across town determined that she had a concussion. To miss out on two weeks of classes and physical activity, she found herself reluctant. Forever the enthusiastic biology student, however, the consolation of getting to keep the brain scans was almost worth the trouble.

Two days later, a second incident followed. Another girl’s Thursday begins to wind down as she returns to campus for the day. She is on Gachibowli Road, just outside of the university’s main gates. As dusk approaches each day, busy traffic here is standard. Sometime over the last two months, the sight of cars, scooter bikes, and rickshaws weaving through traffic had also become a sort of standard. The methods betray slight madness, but at least there are methods, however many close calls and loud honks. Maybe it was naive to trust in the flows of madness, but the hit was unexpected. A scooter bike runs into the girl, right over her left foot. Having signed up for a marathon earlier that day, she hoped that two weeks’ time would be enough to soothe her sore ribs and swollen foot.

On my part, I had been having recurrent fevers and serious headaches. I had not been sick in well over three years, even as I had been to comparable regions for fair periods of time. My waning appetite was alarming to me and surprising to anyone who had ever shared a meal with me; this is hardly an overstatement. Though I managed to attend all of my classes, time outside of class was mostly spent resting (much like Concussed and Limpy).

I took the bus (and a risk, see Concussed ) one day to get to the campus health center. Without denying that I am an avid fan of lazy days, I admit that having to spend so much time resting to recover was a bummer. I had to wait about 10 minutes for the bus to the health center and then half an hour for one back to Tagore. It was a sunny day, the type of day with those cumulus clouds floating across the skyest-blue sky. I sat at the bamboo bus stops and did not care much when the bus would arrive, really.

Clear blue sky from the bamboo bus stop
Looking up from the bamboo bus stop

Every few days in the last two weeks, an injury or sickness would catch hold of someone in Tagore. Heightened scoliosis pains, an isolated sore throat, and a few bouts of food poisoning halted soccer practices. Our directors say that a temporary and mild gloom is often attributed to the rapid changes in weather, as a bit of superstition. It is definitely monsoon season, and sun and rain do alternate with little warning, but no similar phenomenon of illness inflicts our Indian friends. Over lunch one day, we decided: it could only be a curse.