The Colour Dance
Updated: Nov 14
Commemorate love, passion and unity
Every time I move to a new country, I face challenges such as language barriers, culture shocks, and overall adjustment to a different lifestyle. But after 5 countries I believe I've got it somewhat down. Continuous travel gave me more confidence and a great sense of achievement. It made me a more adaptable person and stronger towards change, except for one change: Weather. From the long, scorching dry summers of the MiddleEast, to the humid tropical monsoons of south-east Asia and the cold and dark winters of Europe, my biological thermostat is finding it difficult to adapt, my body is always confused like a third culture kid, I lived most of my early life in #Amman , Ammani's consider any temp below 20c (68 F) to be cold, and any temp above 35c (95 F) is blazing hot for them!
The Oriental Wind
"The West can teach the East how to get a living, but the East must eventually be asked to show the West how to live." Tehyi Hsieh.
2019/2020 winter was my first European winter ever, it descended without much warning, all at once, with no mercy whatsoever. By the end of Feb 2020, my soul and body were longing for warmth, light, and different colours. My thermogenic DNAs subconsciously pushed me to chase the magic of the East, I can feel the oriental wind despite the freezing winter of Europe. It was time again to take the magic giant pressurized tube crisscrossing the planet in a wild adventure to experience the festival of colours, #Holi.
I arrived in #India early March, it was spring time around this time of the year with beautiful sunny days. Prior to my trip I was determined to avoid a Bollywood Holi party with electronic music and heaps of tourists dancing. The only way to do that was by travelling outside New Delhi. My journey took me to Mathura and Vrindavan 60 km north of Agra and nearly 180 km from Delhi. Mathura is where Lord Krishna was born, while Vrindavan was where he spent his childhood. I can tell you for sure this place offer an undisputedly authentic Holi experience for those who are willing to take the less travelled roads.
“Don’t feel offended it’s Holi’.”
In the villages every house, every street , and every corner has a story to tell — all you have to do is listen. Neon colours of gulal (powder colour) fill the air and people take turns in throwing paints over each other while exchanging greetings. The little ones take special delight in spraying coloured water on by-passers. Cheerful atmosphere, you can feel simplicity and love everywhere. No matter how much I was full of paint I still got covered more even when I begged otherwise. There’s a saying in India ‘Don’t feel offended it’s Holi’.
"Observing and learning human stories is my passion".
One of those stories I learnt is the Lathmar Holi. The Legend has it that Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha's village and playfully teased her and her friends. Taking offence at this, the women of Barsana chased him away. Keeping in sync with the story, the men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana every year, only to be greeted by sticks of the women there. The ladies throw sticks at the men, who try to protect themselves as much as they can. The ill-fated ones are captured by the enthusiastic women who then, make the men dress in female clothing and dance in public.
What I noticed during my time in the villages; Holi is the source of joy for the poor people. Yes, joy and hope in the midst of poverty, one can ask how, I believe simply because their joy is not attached to a material possession, people can be happy with the little they have. During Holi, people leave their homes in the morning as a blank canvas and transform happily by the end of the day into a vibrant masterpiece.
It's almost a year since my visit to India, another cold winter came but this time with more harsher conditions due to the pandemic, nevertheless, I still hold the Indian warmth inside me, Holi proved that colours can speak all languages, it is the inner child inside us.