Dusky endings.

The month of March had not even ended and the heat already made its presence felt. I travelled to the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. I stayed at the NIFT campus, located on the outskirts of the city, to take a few lectures on written communication and to hold a colour psychology workshop with Fashion Communication students at the centre. As much as I love teaching, or rather interacting with design students, the constant travel to different centres does take a toll on my health.

The dry heat of the “Land of Kings” was a new experience for me. As a child, I would travel with my family to see my sister in the town of Pilani in northeastern Rajasthan. These trips would usually be short affairs, mostly done during the cooler parts of the year when the BITS campus is quite green so you wouldn’t feel the heat as much. But during this visit, I experienced the mercury rise. Transitioning into summer at this place was not easy. And I am not talking about the Delhi heat problem. Delhi feels like paradise when compared to the moisture-sucking air of Rajasthan. My days were mostly spent in air conditioning, and my walking path was dictated by following shaded spots on the ground. For most of the time I was there, I wrapped muslin around my face, wishing it was always drenched in cold water to soothe my burning skin. Still, there was no escape from the relentless heat once I left the shelter protecting me. The trees, the people, the animals, the birds, all life seemed to be asking for mercy from the ironically life-giving Sun.

Only when dusk arrives can you breathe a sigh of relief. The merciless sun now takes a softer tone. The colour of the evening is a tangerine dusk. The hot air becomes kinder, morphing into a slow breeze. You close your eyes and feel your body relax along with the mood of the sky. You can finally sit outside in the open and watch the sun go down as the earth swallows it up. Everything seems slightly easier and you don’t have to take refuge under the shade any more.

You see why the culture of Rajasthan, or even Gujarat for that matter, is so bright and colourful, why the folk music has so much soul. Because the sun, which usually gives life, can also take life. Take the calmness of water away from the land and you are left with a feeling of lifelessness. I tried to compensate for this life-sucking heat by wearing a cotton shirt with a vintage print and wide collar, along with white denims. The cotton made me feel lighter and the print made me feel hopeful and light. People in this culture compensate for a desaturated landscape through using saturated colours. That is why vibrant colours and eclectic prints became such an important part of the Rajasthani culture. Clothing is a reaction to surrounding environments, and also an opportunity for people to express themselves amidst a landscape that can often feel oppressive and boring.

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Photographs by Suryan Unni Joy.

Story by Sahdev Hooda.

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Magnetic fields festival

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Before the last year got over, I did my first trip to a music festival. Magnetic Fields Festival.

It was a last minute plan and I decided to go with a friend(Rishabh) and Priyanka, who is now a friend too. We took my car and I was happy to be behind the wheel yet again. We followed the GPS and went a little off into the smaller towns on the way, but without too much hassle, thanks to the company I had, we talked, laughed and sliding through time we reached our destination. It was a six hour long scenic drive. Rajasthan has some beautiful sights and views to offer during your ride. The festival was hosted in the Alsisar Palace and the desert adjoining it. We reached in the evening around 8 and headed straight to the tents to check-in. There were rooms available in the Palace for booking prior which are royally luxurious but I was quite happy with the bedouin tents as well. It was impeccably organised right from the valet to the rightly numbered lanes and tents.

I was quite excited to be there as a blogger and I was looking forward to things right from the start. While walking through the sand towards our tent, we could hear the music playing in the palace already. The neat tents, the printed fabric walls posted on sticks, little bon fires and a good vibe from the festival crowd was setting the festival mood. We quickly put our luggage and got fresh to get out.

My favourite thing in the tent was the spacious restroom with hot running water. The desert is extremely cold in the night, so I had heard and I found no exaggeration there.

We were warned by Ruhi(magnetic team) so we came prepared to brave the cold and party. We walked from the tent area(desert) to the Palace exchanging smiles and following the sound of music. A small walk, good enough to give you a clear picture of the cold.

The palace was lit all around, it looked magnificent in all its heritage and beauty. I imagined the sets of a Bhansali film walking around. The romance of an Indian Palace is spellbinding and a music festival inside one is like a dream.

Quick bite at the food court and we were ready to begin the groovy business.

There were three different party areas in the palace. I loved the idea of party shifting from one spot to another after an act got over. There was the courtyard where the first night we danced non-stop for almost 3 hours. Five stars to the festival for the backdrop visualisations. They were completely mind blowing.

The second area was the lawn which had a bigger and broader stage for the performance and the visualisations played right behind the artists. That was my favourite party spot.

The music went on till morning but we crashed around 3:30 am.

The next day we got up early with sun toasting the fabric of our tent, giving the beautifully dispersed light inside. We lay in the sun right outside our tent. Rishabh played the guitar and me and Priyanka just chilled and lazed since we lacked the talent to add to his tunes.

There were more such parties outside other tents as I think others too wanted a piece of that sun basking. Even though the music began early, we were preparing ourselves for the evening. When its dark and faces are not so easy to recognise.

Later we roamed around the festival area and the palace in the day time. Met friends, made friends, ate food, clicked pictures, admired some beautiful people, made some conversations about life and such.

The evening started my party with RATATAT and I really enjoyed this act. I am already following them on Soundcloud. This night was quite crazy as we partied non-stop till morning. I missed the dungeon party. which was in the dungeon of the palace. True to its name, the dungeon was a torture chamber before, though I heard the party there was anything but a torture. Damn it! I still wish I could have caught up with that.

The spirit of a music festival can be seen in everyone and everything. The second morning was the same. Bright and colourful. The cold had started to tick me off a little as there was no internal heating in the tents but I tried to make up for that in the daytime with the sun toasting everything in the desert.

My third day favourite act was HVOB. Live vocals and drums and mixing. The girl has a beautiful enchanting voice. No wonder they are called ‘Her Voice Over Boys’. The party went on from one spot to another with everyone fixing their drinks in breaks at the bar and refuelling for the next act. Towards the morning time, BLOT took over and I think  they had everyone dancing to their groovy tunes. It’s a shame that I had never heard them play before as I stay in Delhi but I am glad I did at the festival and they are quite good with their music.

The festival passed by so fast and the morning was here. We had to leave. I am thankful that I was blessed with awesome company of Rishabh and Priyanka. Priyanka was a great support even for the blogpost. She even clicked some pictures that you see above. I also met quite a few people who are doing something similar as me. Left their well set corporate jobs and chase their dreams or some who are contemplating doing so. There was a certain like-mindedness in the crowd. Everyone wore a smile. Everyone seemed ecstatic and partied hard. I had a great time and given a chance to cover Magnetic again as a blogger, i would love to.

For now, I plan to travel more as the more you venture out, the more enriched you are as a person.

“we travel not to escape life, but for life to escape us.”_Anonymous