I’d just come out from a much needed soulful cry in the Hazratbal Shrine (Srinagar, Kashmir), having overcome the initial trepidation of walking into a very Muslim space as a clear outsider in a city famous now more for religious violence than it’s treasures. Head customarily covered with a borrowed scarf, heart swollen, having run through the rituals just like a true Islamic believer might have, I was freshly overwhelmed by the abundance of bhakti, that evasive state of being when the worshiper becomes one with the worshiped- eyes closed, bodies swaying to the Sufi’s calls to Allah.
All of them in me, I in them all, I walked out of the shrine in a state of stillness, only to be rudely awakened by this swarm of little boy energy waltzing through the plaza. Irresistible, I chased them and ended up having a pretty involved love-fest in a charged exchange of energy. Here’s a shot from the encounter- all five of them were on my lap, climbing on top of each-other at one point! Ooh what joy! No less for me than for them.
That elemental pleasure of connection rekindled, I watched them stage their poses and follow themselves into my viewfinder through their dirty fingerprints on my preview screen…identifying themselves in miniature, giggling at the other’s awkwardness…
The beauty of existence glowing in their smiles, wide eyed show-men, somersaulting on the long arm of a resting steel ladder on a silver-grey overcast afternoon. These five little scoundrels vying for the camera’s love, carrying the promise of the day.
It’s Children’s Day in India, in honor of our first president, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru’s love for the little ones. I remember being given a single rose on Children’s Day in middle school, just for being a kid. A day for celebrating your inner child…what could be better? Must go out and play!