Rajasthan: Celebration of life

Folk dancer

It was one spring evening when I was in a bit of a hurry to return to my tent, where I was staying with Marwari ladies of all ages. While I was rushing between the rows of tents, there was a group of women, who sat in the center of a temporary path between those tents and was singing songs in a rustic tune. It was so catchy that I stopped and tried to make out the lyrics. It was basically a socio-spiritual gathering. Thus, I guessed that the songs might be related to the occasion. But I failed to make out what those songs were about. So finally I asked one of the ladies why were they singing without any seemingly important reason? Her answer astonished me. She said, ‘just like that.’

Devotees at Ranakpur

Wow! I mean, how many of us get together out of our routine life or an extremely busy schedule just to sing in a chorus without any reason? May be the last time I sang was reciting/murmuring my favourite song when it was heard somewhere. But to sit leisurely just to sing in unison? I have never done that.

On my recent trip to Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh, I saw locals dressed in vivid traditional costumes. Not just women, but men too. Though most of them wore white dhoti and angarkha, almost all of them adorned pagdis of different colours. From shepherds to shopkeepers, every one of them wore it. A lot of them wore a vibrant red coloured. ShepherdThe others mostly chose one or the other shades between red and yellow. This looked so traditional, so earthen and above all so aesthetic. Women too wore ghaghra cholis of vivacios shades. These everyday dresses with sparking borders and sober yet appealing cuts, simply looked too good to describe in words. I could never get enough of it these visual beauties.

It is as if to compensate for the eye scorching dry and parched land, people of this land beautifies each and every aspect of life.The costumes, food and also their houses. Small apartments in narrow lanes are so lovingly painted and decked out with carved balconies. It was all a treat to my hungry eyes that were so used to see dry and angular city buildings.

To me, all these things, the songs of everyday life, the spicy food (again, cooked with smartly chosen ingredients despite having dearth of green vegetables), the costumes, the architecture; all represent the celebration of being alive in all odds. Its the festivity of life itself. It is man’s endeavour to survive through adapting natural conditions. And not only to survive but to enjoy the essence of life. That’s Rajasthan is all about.

Women at a shop

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