It has been said too many times that experiences change us. When I moved to Gujarat for my undergrad, I experienced so much that were only dreams and fantasies before. One such experience that held me spell bound was during Uttarayan, the much loved kite festival of the state.
My friends and I were sitting on the aging roof of a water tank, in the midst of terraces and people. Around us was excitement and above us were a million kites, of many sizes and colours. And of course, the calls ‘ Kai poche’, occasional, yet never compromising in its vigor. But the magic began just after that.
As the daylight dimmed and a pink purple hue inched upwards from the horizon, someone released a sky lantern. Then another rose skyward. Soon it became a rhythmic dance, seemingly coordinated by faces that never looked into each other and souls that never met from across the city.
All wanting to release, set free, let go of that lantern that they held alight; like their own soul. Soon the lanterns rose higher and looked like little fireflies as they got to the upper ‘end’ of the deep purple sky. My surroundings gradually faded away like an old scent, voices dumbed, all that there was, was that magic of the moment.
Somewhere, you and I are among those lanterns; coming from a different house, with a past, with stories and tears, of both joys and grief. We drift apart, we come closer, sometimes we meet others, get pushed, and sometimes, get left behind. Yet when we look down at the city lights, we feel the same awe and we both are striving to reach somewhere at the upper ‘end’ of the purple night. In times of aloneness, I feel a voice that grows stronger in me, something like that fire that seems to brighten aggressively and dim down with equal intensity.
This is the voice of that lantern, in the midst of the million other lanterns; each with their own stories of grief, gain, ambitions, hopes and dreams. And here, we begin…