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Colours on white

India, in the last few decades, has seen through a lot of change in social, economic and political practices. As urbanization has spread over almost the length and breadth of the country, many of the old taboos and mal practices had to face defy and give way to the new ways of thinking. But are these changes here to stay? Will such positive move sustain? An example of such change I witnessed in the famous Holi of Vrindavan in Uttarpradesh.

For centuries, this ages old city of Vrindavan has been home to millions of Hindu women cursed by widowhood. Deprived of happiness and mostly abandoned by their families and generally feeding on alms, these women, clad in white, come to this holy city to live a totally colourless life.

Organized by one social welfare organization and some broad minded local people, when these women were given two to three days of the year, to live in colours, the result was extraordinary. This year when I went to shoot this festival, I spent these days with these ladies of a home. These ladies, otherwise living a dull life, got to live, to laugh and to enjoy colours. The little girls in them came out and played in front of their eyes, making them forget their sorrow. As the festival got over, and they went back to their daily chores, it looked like these poor souls, alive for this day, are going back to a cold, long night that would rest until another Holi.

The festival of Holi broke free their inner self and the glitter of their eyes. The glow on their faces and the colours on their whites whispered in my ears, live life to express, not to impress.


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