A SYMPHONY IN SEPTEMBER

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an entire orchestra to play it. But remove a single instrument and the whole thing falls apart.
The orchestra of art that you witnessed and were so amazingly a part of, in a cozy little café one afternoon when it was drizzling outside, would not have been possible without a ragtag team of volunteers who, please do believe me, magically came together. There really was magic – come closer, we’ll tell you about it. It might take a while, but then, all good things do.
We’ll tell you about people who travelled from different cities to volunteer – Shreya, Prathiti, Kopal, Shruti; people who took leave from work just to be a part of it – Jileesh, Praneet; people who could not physically be there but who, in their own intricate and delightful way, shaped the event – Karan, Shreya; about a 20-something and a 40-something who met for the first time in their lives that morning, instantly clicked and spent the remaining day brimming up the place with their insane energy as if they’d been pals for ages – Rohit, Anindya.

We’d had a few too many sleepless nights leading up to 1st September, and the night before the event, we were mindlessly exhausted. Kopal and Shreya had arrived from Lucknow the day before, immediately got down to work and in a span of a few hours, we had 6 of the most beautiful, hand-drawn posters that spoke our message better than anything ever could. We then spent the evening putting them up around the Village when it started raining. We spent half the time inside the car and the other half scratching our heads for places to put the posters up, not sure if they would even be around the next day, not sure if anyone would even notice, not sure…until Praneet came in to rescue us at the last minute, the whole thing was wrapped up in 15 and we went home. That’s him.

The night before, while we were trying to battle that sinking feeling, all of a sudden a lost soul turned up who had to leave town the next day, who was lost because he was unable to find any meaning in what he was doing, who found our project better responding to his needs, that spoke to him. Karan fired up the room, our will, and social media. In no time we were back on the whiteboard, gearing up for the next day, with a wish in our heart and peace in our mind. He needed us just as much as we needed him, something the universe gratefully took note of.

The morning of the event, while we were late, the man of the hour, Jileesh, was bang on time, already setting up the place and getting down to work with the staff before we could even put down our bags. He set the tone for the day that followed. Throughout the day, he was there, taking part in the process and inspiring everyone. And then there were Rohit and Anindya, whose camaraderie lit up wherever they went. When they realized they needed something to carry while informing people about the event, they ended up taking a few minutes to whip up little posters on their own. That level of initiative is invaluable in a team. We’re sure their infectious energy was the reason why, when we’d have been satisfied with a few dozen people or so, the turnout was close to a hundred. And in all this, they even managed to take an art break of their own. Talk of win-win!

Kopal, Prathiti and Shruti were the reason why the people who walked in through the door, stayed. When you have a diverse set of people to cater to, from Sonepat to Amsterdam, you need a bundle of energy that should be organic, that smoothly maneuvers from one to the other, and that aligns all the different routes people take to reach the same goal of self-realization through art. These three were that bundle of energy. They seemed to be at all the places all the time, meeting everyone, walking them through the process, putting the concerns of those who hesitated at ease. They were why we could peacefully break for lunch, knowing they were there handling things. They took complete ownership of the event and were totally present, physically, mentally and with the entirety of their being, continuously helping people and answering questions.

During the evening as the place started filling up to its capacity, our guardian angel in the form of Vrinda swooped in to lend a much needed helping hand. We met a while back in one of our sessions and knew how packed her schedule was, but she still managed to turn up. While the place was bustling with people, there was no need for us to tell her what to do. She took ownership as if she’d been there since morning and just took over, helping us sift through the noise to be a pillar of support.

The reason why the whole day won’t just be a figment of our memories but a documented event that happened is because of one guy who can be trusted with eyes closed, the one behind all the pictures and all the words. When we asked Praneet to cover the event, we weren’t sure he’d be comfortable with it. He’s notorious for being an overt introvert – chatting up with people and clicking their pictures was something he admitted he hadn’t done before. But when it got down to it, he was on his feet throughout the event, immersing himself in that endeavor and resolute in its completion. And his words, they move you in a way you never thought words could. It’s not possible to imagine someone else doing what he did. He’s someone who’s there even if he’s not physically around.

Speaking of someone who was there despite not being physically present, Shreya travelled from Lucknow for the event, slept late so she could work on the posters and was a fireball of energy in that damp evening which was spent putting them up, that evening which later became fun because of her. But that same night, as terrible luck would have it, she was brought down with fever and couldn’t show up. But she knows it and we acknowledge it, that she did actually. She was there.
We’re yet to figure out how a team as magical as this was pieced together. The art community is indebted to have people as devoted as they are, such supportive and selfless pillars of strength, who make a team look like a group of many hands and one mind. It’s not possible to imagine a single person missing from the picture, like a jigsaw puzzle which can’t be arranged in any other way, with any other piece.
It’s not just a story of a solitary event that happened somewhere. The reason we wanted to tell you our story was just to show you how, when you set your mind to something with a higher goal, that truly moves you, something that benefits the entire community, like-minded people just magically show up from everywhere. It may sound cheesy, but there was a moment in that day amidst all the noise and colours when we realized that each one of them was destined to be there. Maybe they were. The universe gives, but only if you ask. We asked for a song, but the universe gave us a symphony.
Now you tell me. If this isn’t magical, what is? 🙂 Share

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