Around the corner of late January and early February every year, Mumbai starts to resonate at a different octave. Performing arts, cinema, music, cultural shows, theatre, literature, workshops, heritage walks, events specially organized for kids & youths, and above all a vibrant street mood engulfs the mind for most of the tourists and residents alike. Since recent years the entire area transforms into a street mela, with entrepreneurs & artists selling their innovation & creations, food stalls to offer great Indian food from across the nation.
Kala Ghoda (a hindi phrase for ‘black horse’), a small precinct in South Mumbai, is popular for its annual art festival in the beginning of every year. More importantly, it is gaining prominence among freelancers and professional startups within India and across the globe.
Being a Saturday, I just picked up my D70 and decided to experience the vibrancy of the maximum city - Mumbai. The thought of being among the crowd, cheering and shouting and clapping brings an adrenaline rush and goose bumps to the photographer in me. Besides offering a great photo-op, the festival makes me more philosophical to look beyond the focal length and the pixels.
Sitting there made me realize that art is such a leveler; the taxi wala and those ladies who just got down from the sedan were jostling equally for some foot-hold or rather, butt-hold on the beautiful Asiatic Library stairs. The scantily dressed and the burqa clads enjoying the same ragas and traveling as co-sailors on the same musical wave (though not the same wavelength). A festival like this gives an opportunity to the common man to experience legendary performers and also the unknown talented groups who put on their best for those few minutes of spot light, all completely free.
That evening Hindustani classical music was applauded with the same hysteria as was that for the next performance that followed. It was interesting to see how a pure western dance form had mesmerized the eastern population. I never knew what Paul Taylor stood for till that morning when my friend Googled it for me. I am sure most of the audience did not have a clue as well, but the magic of the performers with sculpted bodies and lightening agility bowled over everyone. No wonder the movement of art is immaterial of per capita income or, for that matter, the GDP of any nation. Yes, I agree with the gentlemen who said ‘the world is flat’.
Refuelling my beer belly for precisely 20 minutes after watching dance troop Adonis look alikes, I decided to move on to the theatre street. The colorful artists and painters literally paint the town red; the positivity made me smile. Fully enlightened once again, I decided to gulp that huge sizzler at a traditional old Mumbai joint. Who cares about flat abs, especially after a pint of beer?
Going back relaxed and thoughtful I wondered; do I really need to go to a guru when fundamental joy is right here in my back yard? A good question to ponder…
Ankur Shrivastava is a corporate citizen who works with one of the largest business houses of India. Being a technocrat, he enjoys experimenting with new gadgets. He is passionate about photography and traveling. As a freelancer and free-willed photographer he currently contributes mostlyto charitable causes and all that his heart desires and lens permit.
Follow him on Twitter @AnkurHums and get connected with him on LinkedIn http://in.linkedin.com/pub/ankur-shrivastava/0/644/850