– Madhurima Mridha
It was 5 A.M. in the morning. Ana, my secretary rang me up as she was instructed last night. She is a responsible woman, who takes care of all my requirements. She even schedules my day to day plan and I have never ever thought of questioning her or I have rarely asked her about something which she has schedule. This was because I hardly could give myself any time, by this I mean only me, or rather me and my thoughts, since the time she was hired.
“Dave, you really want to do it? I mean you really want to go there alone?” she asked. I replied her in a low tone rubbing my chin, thinking that I really need a shave this time, “Yes don’t you think, that I have been waiting for it?”
I could clearly guess that she did not want me to go alone since the accident I had few months back running my 7993 cc BUGATTI VEYRON on the black hills connecting to the North Dakota HIGHWAY.
DAVE BUTLER, yes that’s me. Somebody once told me that it is only you will know yourself better than anyone else. Yes, I a businessman in the city of DAKOTA. I have lost my mother at the age of 10. She was an INDIAN woman, with whom my father had married 35 years ago, when he went to the state of MATHURA in INDIA with an NGO for their sponsorship over some cause.
She was a beautiful woman, who inspite being with my father in US for her entire life never forgot her roots till her last day. That is why I had always found an idol of some Indian god with a flute in his hand, kept just beside her bed. It was lord KRISHNA. She used to worship it each day, but I was never fascinated by the process she did each day by folding both of her hands together to pray and then chanting some Hindu mantras. As I grew up my mother told me about INDIA. She said that she used to live on the land of ‘LOVE’ in INDIA, the place named Mathura. The land of Lord Krishna.
It is true I have been feeling lonely and disturbed these days since my accident. Somewhere I felt that I was being mechanical to myself tied up in the same monotonous schedule of each day. Somewhere I missed my mother, and one night I remembered those words my mother told, “MATHURA IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FIND, WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT”
Yes, this time I really thought of going back to my roots in India. I wanted to make my memories of MARCH this year in MATHURA.
I took the help of Wikipedia to know about Mathura. It is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, along the YAMUNA River. The main attraction is its ‘Holi Festival’. This is where I was stuck. I had heard about Holi from my mother but the question that clouded my mind was – “WhatColours?” I further went on with my search and what grabbed my eyes was the date 15TH OF MARCH 2013. I was excited.
It was 10.30 A.M. and I was at AGRA AIRPORT. My flight was delayed by two hours. I called up SAGAR since he was my guide for the coming few days. SAGAR was a local boy and surprisingly he was a man who could speak and write 23 languages at the age of 25. I was awestruck, the branding ‘Incredible India’ proved right I thought. On my way to the hotel SAGAR showed me the monument of love , the Taj Mahal. As I viewed it the ivory white marble mausoleum on the banks of Yamuna, built by SHAH JAHAN, the emperor for his beautiful wife, I remembered why my mother described India to be the land of love.
But, is this all? I questioned myself looking at the beautiful white marble building in front of me.
We proceeded towards our hotel. I was amazed at the welcome I got at the reception as I had never received this kind of warm welcome ever in any parts of the world. A women wearing a ‘saari’ touched my forehead and made a red ‘tika’ out of it. She smiled and said, “HAP PY HOLI SIR!”. Yes, Holi I was waiting to see what holi is all about.
Next morning SAGAR arrived at my hotel early with a traditional Indian dress and he told me to wear it, since it was holi that day. I was probably looking like a scarecrow wearing the dress but I never objected since I was taken over by their behavior towards me.
He took me to the Krishna temple in Mathura and gave me ‘Gulals’ (colours in powder form). Sagar told me to put it on anyone around (of course in a decent way), as this spreading of colours is considered to be sharing of love .He left me alone after this and told me that he will pick me up in the evening.
Suddenly I found myself in the mist of colour, red, green, blue, pink. I was in the midst of colours when suddenly I heard a woman’s voice yelling ‘HAPPY HOLI’, and before I could realize anything there was colour all over my face. I sat down, as there was a burning sensation.
Suddenly I felt a touch on my shoulder. A touch, which I was pretty much known to. Yes, it felt like the way my mother used to do, when I was young. “Is it burning?” a female voice came, my eyes were still closed, “I am sorry I did not mean it.” “It’s ok”, I said,” now I am able to see”. “You ok now?” She asked.
I saw, that a young girl was looking at me closely to see me. “I am ok, don’t worry”-I said. She smiled and gave her hands to me. “Hi I am Shruti” she introduced herself. We had a small round of introduction then. Don’t know when and how, we became friends and we started to enjoy the festival of colours together.
Shruti was a 1st year student of fashion designing. I mean she must have been a good student at her stream I thought, looking at her, because she carried herself really well.
“Why are you sweating?” She said. I didn’t say anything and started wiping my forehead hastily. “You seem to be very shy” she added. Just then there a small boy appeared shouting “Didi! Didi!” She kissed her and introduced Aarav her little brother to me.
The little boy asked me as to where do I live. To which I replied”I live in the United States”. The boy showed an anxious expression, as if he was amazed to hear this. He insisted on putting some colours on my face. As his little hands touched my cheeks I just loved it. Then there appeared a large group of boys and girls, each of them had a rainbow of colours on their faces. They all circled me to bathe me in colours.
There was such happiness in everything. Not even for once I felt that I have met them for the first time, or probably this was not my own country. “Hey, have you tried this?” she asked. “But what is it?” “BHAANG!” a boy replied. You know what, this drink is meant to be to enjoyed on this day. Soon before I could finish my glass they literally dragged me to the temple where the priest had started the ‘puja’. The sound of the bells, the smell of the incense stick, the chanting of the hymns all created an environment that can be found no where apart from India. I experienced a certain tranquility from within which I had never felt before that. There was a sense of oneness and kinship.
“It’s late”, they bade me goodbye and asked me to be in contact in FACEBOOK.
I could see SAGAR coming down to take me .They all departed as I kept on looking till I could no longer see them. The priest handed me a ‘ladoo’ and touched my head. There was so much love here I felt.
PRESENT DAY IN DAKOTA
Sometimes I feel, my mother was right MATHURA was a land of colors and India is the land of love. That small trip wiped out my loneliness somehow I still keep looking at my FB accounts friend list each night waiting for someone to contact me from the land of colours.
Often I lay on my bed picturising the day of ‘Holi’ that I had spent there. Still today I have not felt what I felt on that day.