Whenever I hear about Holi, my heart and my mind move to Santiniketan, the land of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. The celebrations at Shantiniketan in West Bengal are marked by cultural programs. In Shantiniketan Dol is celebrated in a unique way that welcomes the season of spring or Basanta with music and dancing until dawn.
Vishva Bharati University organizes an enormous cultural festival called Basanta Utsav in parallel with the Holi festival. Young girls wear yellow saris and dance around the ashram amidst Rabindra Sangeet, the songs of Tagore in the midst of a whirlwind of red clouds, songs, and joy.
At the full moon of the Phalguna month of the calendar, the Bengalis celebrate Holi as Dol Yatra, where the sacred statues of Radha and Krishna are put into hammocks. Women sing songs, throw colors and dance, while devotees spin to make them swing. The traditional delicacies are prepared in advance and served while playing Dol Purnima.
I participated with our group, coinciding with the festival of colors, which welcome everyone who arrives there. The arrival to Santiniketan was beautiful, with a sunset in a green population crowded with people everywhere.
It's hard to explain the way I feel! You have to live it in person!! The words, in short, will not give you the reality as it is! With the Holi Hai, everyone comes to welcome me, with a smile on their lips and a welcome sign painted on the face. For a change, I sang some songs in the light of the moon.
In truth everyone is happy, joy is constant and does not rest! They make me feel at home. Santiniketan is one of those places where everyone can dream, as it is so natural, that anyone who goes, would tell that it is true! Its people, its smells, and its colors seems that everything has been there to receive the visitor, who enters as a curious tourist and leaves as a native, wanting to stay there forever.
Just outside the street, a young woman standing behind a rickshaw painted a mark on the forehead, and I painted her a yellow scratch on the face. As I entered the main street, there was already a torrent of people coming and going and seeing me as clean, they stopped and colored me. But how could it be otherwise, as I also painted them. This scene is repeated almost continuously. I color you and you color me, but with a smile and a kindness that makes it more than a festival of friendship.
I arrived at a wider field where there was a big stage. Some dancers danced to the sound of classical music, but almost the attraction was us. Everyone wanted to colour us, everyone wanted to take pictures with us. How beautiful it feels to be different and at the same time dear!
After coming back we took a rickshaw and went back to the market where we get some handicrafts and clothes at a very good price. We continued along a path and the image was idyllic with cultivated fields and women with modest saris with baskets on their heads. On the way back, once there in an alley I heard the baul music. I approached and saw some musicians with the ektara, who played some melodies.
A few people danced to the tunes and immediately invited me to join the dance. They considered that I was not sufficiently painted so I was thrown a whole bag of paint on the head. The color, noise, and hospitality that accompanies the celebration of Dol Purnima testify to the sensations of oneness and a sense of brotherhood.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
AUTHOR Kalyan Panja