Amidst hues of Holi, life takes a new turn
Mar 20 2014
In the morning this same public garden was a riot of sound and colour. The children were chasing one another, drowning each other in colour. There were cars taking sharp turns, spins and shouting “happy Holi”. A rangy man on his way to a farmhouse party perhaps looked like he had lost his original colour, won it back and lost it again.
The Zen believers tell us to experience each ordinary moment as if we were seeing something new for the first time. “Know what I mean?” I asked Cesar. He looked perplexed. “Look dude, have you seen a lettuce? Really seen a lettuce?” He chose to look blank, sometimes dogs are so obtuse. “Look at a head of lettuce. What do you see... look with reverence... same with Holi. Cesar, let’s think about it... look at it afresh. Forget the market and the trash and the colour in concentric circles on the pavements. And the dyed in ‘gulab’ shopkeepers, watchmen, businessmen, vendors, teenagers, bankers... this stuff is powerful. This festival could be the theme of our national anthem. Why didn’t we think of it? It certainly drowns out our sense of self image, since we are all dipped in the same colours. Are you paying attention to me Cesar?” I noticed him scratching his back on the cool grass. He is a mutt.
The fresh fragrance of freedom is in the air and nobody’s paying attention to what we are doing. It’s the kind of dare-to-bare moment. After Holi everyone is so tired: you just linger in the twilight of the day and wink at the stars. The crush of the mad day has fallen away and become so still now. I look at Cesar, “Such ordinary moments now seem infused with so much memory, right boy?” By the way he shakes his head, it’s seems he knows more than me.
Using the earth as our pillow we hear the stars whisper, “Reach up and touch the sky!”
I whisper back the line from William Wordsworth: “I am a traveller betwixt life and death”.
(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)