January with its origin deep rooted
in the Greek mythology reminds us of the Greek God Janus, bestowed with the
ability to look at the past and the future. Janus being the God of gates,
bridges and doors, symbolises our ingrained habit of learning from the past,
and the endemic hankering for deciding and knowing our future.

IIT Gandhinagar (IITGn) started
2016 with Winter Carnations, a creative way to bring different cultures
together. It is a festival to celebrate an evening with delicious food,
irresistible beats and tempting games. It doesn’t get better than this. Winter
Carnations is an ingenious way to celebrate a normal festive evening. No
caterer or cook can do justice to the cultural diversity in food across the
country. The authentic taste of tea, soups, biryani,
sandwich, dosa, pulav, sabu dana vada, pani puri, local desserts like bobbatlu and many more could never be
relished at commercially available food joints. The special secret ingredient
of preparing our childhood favourite dish cannot be found at restaurants. That
craving of food prepared with the added spices of love and interest cannot be
satisfied at any college canteen or mess. This festival of food and
entertainment was designed in a way where the members of IITGn family could
enjoy the home food far away from their homes. Different cuisines were made
available by different members of our college community. Students, staff and
faculties from different corners of the country invested their time and energy
to prepare regional dishes to convert this event into a festival for our taste

And here I am, contemplating. I
am pondering what I will remember January 23, 2016 for. Will it remind me of
the glamorous Indian Silver Screen theme of Winter Carnations at IITGn? Will
it make me gloomy with some memoirs of the unsung birth anniversary of the
forgotten hero? On one side I am being pulled by my friends to dance to the beats
at the festival and on the other I am being drowned by the fact that I have to
remind people around me of the historical significance of the day. It was hard
enough to believe that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had a mystic crash and then
we have to deal with his oblivious presence in the memories of today’s youth. This
internal struggle made me take a 30 kilometer trip on my bicycle around the
serene roads of Gandhinagar, to introspect.

I came back to my college and
joined my friends in the celebrations. What met my eyes was fabulous. IITGn,
like other IITs, is a mini India in itself. A place where everything blends in.
The name Winter Carnations, was inspired from the beautiful flowers Carnations that blossom in a wide range of colours,
and convey emotions in its shades. It is wonderful to ponder upon the fact that
a flower can convey so much with so little changes in the colours of its
petals; with white symbolising pure love and good luck, lilac suggesting the
selfless mother’s love, red implying admiration, wine red resembling deep love
and others. Carnations also resemble happiness, prosperity and celebrations.

IITGn is proud of its diversity
in cultures, languages, research fields and talents. The only unexplored part
was the variability in the style of cooking. Everyone enjoyed the music and regional cuisines dressed Bollywood style. From pretty actresses to
superheroes, and famous villains, everyone was there. There was an uproar
amongst the participants as the dance beats echoed around and the band
started. The evening was filled with small games, dancing, mesmerising food,
and to blend everything, there was the company of friends. Who doesn’t enjoy good food? It was a treat to have a platter of food at affordable prices inside
the college. The vibrant evening filled with fun and enjoyment concluded around

By the time I reached my room, I
was no more struggling. That long cycling trip gave me time to think. I thought
of Janus and decided to try his abilities, to cherish the past and embrace the
future. These events unite us. They make us know our diversity better. I know I
love to celebrate with my friends but, I also know at heart, I can never let go
of our beautiful cultural heritage or our valiant past.  Those sacrifices should never be forgotten,
not even in pleasure. Our celebrations would not have been possible without the
selfless service of the dauntless sons of our nation. And in distress their
selfless service should be the source of inspiration. When the comely scene of
a mini India with its diversities presented itself in Winter Carnations, for me
it was a feeling of oneness, of unity, of strength and of fulfilment of the
dream of our freedom fighters who pined for a prosperous and united nation.

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