By: Mona Nawaz
“Cell phones are not allowed”, I heard the command on reaching entry point of the place officially designated for festival celebration. The command emerged from an army check post where few army jawans were collecting the cell phones , followed by a thorough security scan of tourists who were going to witness the festival. My group peopl wasn’t seem happy with the security restrictions. And for me it was over-my-dead-body sort of situation, so I made up plan of action in my mind to deal with the problem, submitting cell fones was like losing only source of keeping visual and still reminiscence of the event. I kept on walking forward, even avoided scanner-door, lady constables and other measures. Lady constables , who seem standing there clueless in Taliban-version-islamic-getup (only eyes were visible), tried to stop me in very hesitant way for security search in a narrow clothed cabin stood nearby, but I some how the other managed to keep going onward while waving my hands for saying hello to those veiled ladies. They also didn’t bother to bother me either.
Now there was a steeped path in front of me going somewhere upward of colorful people/tourists. After a short while of walk , We reached a point diverting into two ways, both were an intense short steep giving no hint of what was at the end of them. Luckily our guide Iqbal Shah Kalash navigated us to the way on our left hand. Reaching up, we found our self in a big earthen courtyard-looking unpaved compound in middle of kalash houses. Having few large trees shading the people present there , and also some tree logs placed there which seemed to provide a seating facility. And there was a blast of colors , sound and movement. Kalash were dancing there on the beat of drums, men were chanting holy chants and drummers were playing musical tunes. All were in their best traditional kalash dresses for celebrating this big happy day. When we say traditional Kalash dress, it means the whole exotic world of colors, patterns, flowers, designs, sequins, beads, threads, creativity and hard work.
One just cant resist to get lost in this never-seen-before world. As I was at that time; lost in intoxicating energy of dance moves, drum beats and magical Vedic-era chants of Kalash shamans. One set of three dancing kalsh girls saw me moving on the beats and called me to join them for dance. I join them , putting my one hand on shoulders of one of girl ,she did the same, and we started moving on drum beats. Knowing the fact that at that I wasn’t having so dance-worthy physique, and skin tone was also inclining towards darker tone, means, I was looking someone misfit among those kalashi beings adorned with Dardic-origion features , physiques and demeanor. But being adrenaline junkie at that particular time , I cared none and nothing, and kept on dancing. I was completely lost in intoxicating dance moves absolutely enthralling drum beats in that some sort of divine-like atmosphere. I felt too high to take much care of any sort of worldly judgments based of shallow social criterion for a while. At that very moment, we ceased to be separate entities.
We all seemed to be transformed into “one” reality, one with each other, one with the mother nature, one with the supreme Divine presence all around us. And we were doing “one” thing at that time, presenting our heart-felt gratitude to the Divine. Gratitude for blessing us with all the blessings, all the colors, springs, songs, music, compassion, life and happiness. While dancing together hands in hands, innocence in minds, love in eyes, and gratitude in our hearts, we all were just ONE human existence.
Nami danam keh Aakhir choon dam e deedar mi raqsam…….
magar nazm baa an zouq keh pesh e yaar mi raqsam