Color your Life

Jan. 14th and 15th is the Uttarayana kite-festival celebrated in Gujarat, India. It’s a tremendously colorful spectacle with thousands of people flying kites on the terraces and rooftops of buildings throughout the city. Uttarayana is meant to mark the day that the Sun begins to travel North above the hemisphere signaling the approaching Summer. It’s a truly amazing sight that has to be experienced to understand. Kite shops line the roads and shops close down for the weekend as everyone takes time off to be with family/friends and fly their kites while dancing to music.

The day after I arrived, we went to a kite shop to pick up a pack of brightly colored kites on our way to downtown Ahmedabad. The cultural richness of the city is not missed when passing through the old city walls that used to encompass the town.

 

The downtown streets of Ahmedabad are very narrow and so similar to all the other streets that it was like walking through a maze finding the right building to climb up. We actually got lost twice after we parked going to the building and on our way back to the car. After we got to the building, we ascended the stairs to the roof where others had gathered either tying their kite together or flying it off the roof. Even the strings of the kites were brightly colored neon-pink or yellow that would leave your hands colored after the paint chipped off of the string.

Here are some pictures of what it looked like flying the kites:

The festival continued well into the night as we watched in awe as the night sky was lit up by orbs of light similar to the chinese festivals. Essentially they were tiny hot air balloons powered by small candles and hundreds of them flying up through the sky at once.

An orb of light flying above the terrace. It appears reddish from the glow of the candle flame within.

The festival is known for continuing throughout the day and night.
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At night, sitting on that terrace, reflecting on the colorful kites during the day and the balls of light flying at night, I realized something about the transition:

Our world is filled with Dualities. Day/Night. Black/White. Up/Down. Hot/Cold. Ying/Yang.

When you balance the outside, you balance the inside.

If you build strength on the outside, you feel stronger on the inside.

Why do people feel better after a tiring run? You feel better if you’ve accomplished something on the outside, which drives that accomplishment inside.

Our exterior world and inner world, which is our own body, mind and spirit are inter-linked.

It’s about finding that balance within yourself and the universe.

When gurus always say “hapiness within you” or find “peace within”. What they mean is that simply reflecting those thoughts and feelings into the exterior world, reflect back into your interior world. If dropping weight makes you feel better about yourself, you truly will be better. You must actually be happy and endlessly satiated with the state of your weight or you go into imbalance.

Whatever you do on the outside reflects back on yourself inside.

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We live in a very vanilla world. We get drawn into patterns of big brands, big box companies, and bland products. We seek out a Starbucks not necessarily because of their coffee, but for the familiarity. In many ways, this cuts away at the core of creativity. Other brands and companies begin to copy the way of the leading brand until they all are vanilla, the same message, the same product. Corporations have been structured like this for years, leading to the same idea for work schedule, retirement plans, benefits. Creative ways in actually achieving production and consumption are thrown by the side as bigger solutions are seen as the sole answer. In times of economic woe, as we’ve seen in 2008, the necessity to tighten spending, consumption of resources can lead us back to the infinite possibilities of a business/product/service/idea. New ideas begin to be possible as opportunities for change open up. The truth is that these ideas were always possible, but money, systems and familiarity blind us from seeing the way.

I walked into a restaurant in Goa that had over 50 items but nothing mentioning simply some cut up fruit. Since I noticed some items used bananas and oranges, I  simply asked for them to cut me up some bananas and oranges. At first there was a look of confusion on the server’s face as to how this would work, but I simply smiled and he went back to the kitchen and had this made:

When your menu item isn’t there, why not just create it?

Just like the kites flying high above Ahmedabad, coloring the sky with bright hues, color your own life with new experiences that add value. Create a handmade card instead of picking one up from Hallmark, skip Panera for a local bakery down the street, make your own pizza from scratch with fresh ingredients rather than ordering delivery. Share these moments with others so they can experience them too. It’s the little things in life that add spice and flavor to keep things interesting.