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Spring has Sprung, Honey Bear

Circa 1980, Ashok and Biban Atal competing at Welham Girls' School Annual Sports Day

You make me feel so young

You make me feel so Spring has sprung

And every time I see you grin

I’m such a happy individual

With March, comes Spring, a fragrant breeze, and new beginnings. In fact in many ways, Spring feels like the perfect time to embrace lightness, love, and lounge. It’s the time to put on your favourite Ella Fitzgerald playlists, read your favourite novels, and embrace the romance of the moment.

The moment that you speak

I want to go play hide and seek

I wanna go and bounce the moon

Just like a toy balloon

Spring reminds me of my parents. My mother, Biban, celebrated her graduation from Saint Bede’s College in 1960, with a trip to Assam to visit a childhood friend. She met my father, Ashok, who was a young planter on the Monabari tea estate - at a movie night at Bishnauth club. They exchanged letters for a year and a half (addressing each other as ‘HB’ — honey bear). In 1961, my father came down to Delhi for his annual leave, my grandmother caught the steamer from Sumatra, Indonesia as well ~ and they were married shortly after at 6 Curzon Road.

You and I

Are just like a couple of tots

Running across a meadow

Pickin’ up lots of forget me nots

In 1980, they came to visit my sister Zehra and myself at Boarding School. The annual Founders Day weekend at Welham Girls’ School was the highlight of our year. The weekend kicked off with a Sports Day, where parents were invited to compete against each other in a 100 meter ‘candle race’. My mother, elegant as ever in a pale salmon chiffon saree, adorned with aqua flowers, and stiletto heels (and of course her signature shades), had to dash across the track to my father, holding an unlit candle. He, with a box of matches at the other end lit it, and they raced back together, making sure the candle didn’t blow out. This photograph was taken a few moments before they won ~

You make me feel so young

You make feel there are songs to be sung

Bells to be rung

And a wonderful fling to be flung

It’s one of my happiest memories, a full and limitless moment of togetherness.

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