A smiling face popped out form a crowd with stained faces and strolled the distance between us to pass by his friends, hugging them, continuously smiling in full content. The street was full of cheerful heads and carefree folk who smiled and laughed at every passing moment. The unending enthusiasm was evident in the air filled with colours. Amidst so many happy faces, it was something else that caught my sight, it was not pretence, it was legitimate happiness in all forms, he was not high. His feet never stopped dancing to the rolling music, his hands played along pretty well and his soul synched with everyone else’s.
It was the festival of colours – Holi, he was the happiest soul.
Even though I was a total stranger to him, he greeted, leaving me awestruck with the words that came out of his mouth.
He said, “Assalaam-u-Alaikum Uncle, Happy Holi!”
Bewilderment blew my mind and I asked for his family members if there were any around. It was more than just confusing to know that he was not a part of the society and came here on festivities and days of celebrations.
An eight year old child, his name was Rehman and he lived in the ghetto next to the society. Religion and divisions in the society were not a part of his domain, not a part of his endeavours, not a part of his childhood.
He was a free soul who wandered in search of happiness and moments to cherish in his adult being. He respected his religion and its prospects to a greater extent than any other wise man in the ghetto. He prayed in the mosque and could read the Holy Quran, followed all possibilities of his religion but for him, a festival is a festival.
He is a child and so he is free, I just hope to see him be a part of this festivity even after he is tagged as an adult.
“Make merry on every festival, for the rest of the days paint the world with colours of love and gratitude.” - Anonymous
We are bound by the rules of the society, forcing us to stay rooted to our religious deeds and strengthen our creed. We are tied down, pounded and crushed with holy phrases to stay knitted in a consolidated domain.
We are racing for benefits in the afterlife while inflicting pain and torments on fellow humans. We are the ones who divided us, we are the ones who have created boundaries and we are the ones facing social life crises.
“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
A festival is just a day or two, let us not bring in discrimination and hatred while we celebrate. It may cut down the confusion in our hearts for other religions and their proceedings.
A festival is a festival, help it remain a celebration for the common folk already struggling to live everyday with its bag of difficulties.
Help it bring joy into our homes and our hearts.