Do the colors actually have any meaning in the blindfold? Is there any point in playing Holi when you cannot see colors? With these questions in my head and trying to figure out their answers, I started playing Holi with the visually impaired community every year. With every passing year experiences have been innumerable and this year was different too. I stepped into the same arena after blind folding myself. I had now turned into a stooge who couldn’t aim and hurl a water balloon at someone and neither could run when someone would attack me with a pichkari (water gun). My mobility was restricted to few steps within the arena. I realized that after few minutes of walking aimlessly, I didn’t even know where exactly was I in the circle. I was lost and children were throwing balloons at me whenever they wanted and pouring water from different floors. Their aim wouldn’t miss me and I had no aim! They would shake hands whenever they wanted, whirl and swirl with me and suddenly leave me in the middle of nowhere. I removed my slippers and started dancing all over trying to forget that I was blind for now, as if I was under the effect of ‘Bhang-natural intoxicant made from marijuana leaves and flowers’. Suddenly I realized that I lost the sense of location where I had removed my slippers and they were nowhere to be found while I danced. In sometime I stepped suddenly on one of my slippers and now I was wearing one and looking for the other.
I was being painted with different colors like a stoned canvas and I didn’t know which color was what. I at times felt like a scare crow in the middle of a field but then I hardly could scare anyone because everyone around was only feeling me or sensing me. Most could not see me and some could see me partially maybe. Suddenly someone held my hand and started taking me on the ramp to the second floor. I was walking cautiously and that is when he said, ‘common bhaiya, walk fast. I can guarantee that you won’t fall down.” Their confidence was not new for me and having worked with them for many years, I trusted them wholeheartedly.
I was on the 2nd floor and that is when these 2 girls came to me again and said ,’bhaiya, we were playing with you downstairs. Why don’t you open your blindfold, please please?’ Someone else had pushed me to open my blindfold a while ago. I was wondering why they didn’t want me to stay in a blind fold? Maybe they wanted at least someone in their vicinity who would see and then comment on them with the power of sight or they had pity on me and didn’t want anyone to be like them. Only they knew what blindness meant for them. My experiment with sight and without it goes on every day of my life and what i know is that colors cannot just be seen but also felt and heard. When will I hear them or be able to sense them, only time would tell. This Bhang like effect will not be there for long and then reality will strike. How long will I be able to stay in this blindfold of reality? Till then i will keep living in different folds, blind fold is just one such drape.