Monday, March 24, 2008

Special Holi

Its been close to five or six years since I played holi. Reason? I don’t think I have an excuse good enough! I guess I never had good friends to play with, ever since my friends ‘grew up’, which is just a better way of saying that now they went to play holi with their respective girlfriends and boyfriends. Odd isn’t it, the way we drift from one set of friends to the other. Needs changed, priorities changed, and so did my holi-playing companions…so did I.
This year though, things were a little different. I was invited to play holi at Advitya Kala Sangam- an NGO run by my friend’s mom. There were about a dozen mentally challenged adults who played holi with us. Although I had been to the place several times before, this time I somehow witnessed Advitya from a slightly different point of view- one that was up, close and personal. As soon as the celebrations began, it was just about five minutes before each of us was coated in a thick layer of gulal. I was pink from head to toe and resembled a badly animated monster from a B-grade flick!
The whole frenzy of throwing colour all over the place died down after a while, and that’s when I began to see something that made my holi so special. We all sat to eat after a while. Busy munching on a samosa, Julian sat next to me and quietly pointed out to me all the girls he liked in the crowd of about fifty of us. It so turned out, he liked all the others but me! Heartbroken, I returned to my plate of food, thinking about getting rejected by the most flirtatious student of Advitya! The complete innocence with which he stated his liking for the girls was touching. It’s cruel isn’t it when the mind and body don’t work in sync? But then again, for the so-called “normal” ones in our sane world, how often have misused this mind and body sync? He wasn’t like the rest of us. Thank God for that! His sheer bluntness was moving…and that I call special.
Swati was another excited student. She kept singing her version of “Rang Barse” all along, doing a little dance with it too! When we all sang along, she laughed. Simply, loudly, and genuinely. This is probably a word most of us take for granted. We probably consider it unnecessary. But her laugh was just so wonderful, so clean…and that I call special.
Then there was Anish- the most enthusiastic of the bunch. He was the star of the show! As soon as I entered Advitya, he was the first to come charging at me, almost ferociously to wish me a Happy Holi. I’m not sure if he understood that it was a festival. But for Anish, absolutely any reason is good enough for celebration. He showed me how we really don’t need anything to be happy, do we? Its all there. You just have to reach out to get it. Apart from the fact that he almost choked people with all the gulal, he was considerate enough to go around telling Swati to take a bath to wash of the large quantities of colour on her, and me to take off my glasses before he poured another packet of colour on my head! When most of us go around finding reasons to get upset, to brood over, here he was, with no a care in the world…and that I call special.
These were just a few of the very special people I spent m holi with. It was amazing, the conversations they had. I had a lot of trouble deciphering what they said to me, but among themselves, the communication seemed fantastic. They all seemed to understand what the other said, or meant. This again reminded me of the conversations we have. I don’t think I have ever had a heart-to-heart with my sister. Not so much even with my mum or close friends in a while. Communication is so different today. The Family dinner conversation has been replaced by a couple of words exchanged during commercial breaks in serials. You fail to find common ground between children and parents, spouses, siblings, colleague, even friends. There just isn’t enough conversation, communication and just that random cup of coffee. Just being understood is difficult. This was something happening with so much ease in Advitya…and that I call special.
Johnny Depp once said, ““If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color.”
I was with people who were different. People who were made different…and probably for a reason. If they too were like you and me, in all the good ways and the bad, we would probably never know of human being so pure. Ones who so blatantly live their lives. They bring to us the possibility of being like that, going through life with a little less dishonesty-with ourselves and others. It is these guys who make the world a little more inhabitable. A little more unreal.....and that is truly, what I call, special.


wanderingalone said...

truly lovely disha!!!!!!
such a lovely acount of the time we spent there.....
n u bet they r special people, who make you feel special too....

dhwani said...

hey nice one...
very true..