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Hues on the pearly sands of Kutch

It was my third week at home, living on frozen food and searching for a job on AngelList. I must confess, I was mostly just staring at the laptop screen, thinking of my start-up days, which I knew were over for good. My dreams were shattered, and I had lost the will to fight back, along with my life savings, by a single twist of fate. Everything in my life was grey, around the edges and in between.

I was drowning in self-deprecating thoughts when my phone rang. It was my childhood friend, who is a professional photographer. He was in Gujarat on a 10-day assignment. During this time, he had visited the Rann of Kutch. I suspected he was calling to check on me. But I was wrong. As soon as I picked up the phone, he started bragging about his trip to Kutch. Without giving me a chance to talk, he went on about the picturesque mornings and moon-lit nights resembling planet Tatooine from Star Wars, and the endless celebrations and colours in the desert.

My friend is an excellent photographer, but not a poet. Still, his words felt like they were casting a spell on me. As he spoke more about the place, my thoughts drifted away from my dismay and flew towards the beautiful mornings and nights at Kutch. I felt strongly about going there to find out if my friend’s description of Kutch was not an exaggeration.

I boarded a bus from Mumbai on a cold January morning. The strenuous 17-hour bus ride gave me a stiff back. By the time I reached Kutch, I was exhausted. But all my annoyance evaporated as soon as I stepped onto the white desert that stretched as far as my eyes could reach. I kept my luggage in one of the bell tents that my friend had told me about. There were around 300 tents in multiple clusters in the middle of the desert, arranged in the shape of a horseshoe.

My trip to Kutch opened my eyes to the truth that happiness can spring from within even in the hardest of circumstances. It is up to us to pick up the brush and start painting a new start.

Not very far from my tent, there was a group of six people clad in kurta-dhotis and red turbans. Sitting together on a red carpet, they were singing a folk song. Each of them played an indigenous musical instrument and sang in unison. Dancing to their tunes were folk dancers, captivating the onlookers with their moves and their colourful attire. People were clapping, clicking pictures, and applauding the artistes.

I had never witnessed such liveliness in one place. And I didn’t think a barren desert could emanate such happiness. After so many months, I found myself smiling. It struck me at that moment that if a barren stretch of land can become such a source of happiness, I too can find happiness in my life.

I wondered what gave Kutch this touch of magic. A vibrant landscape, far away from the urban chaos, painted by colourful traditions and nature’s restorative hue—it was paradise.

By dusk, the tents lit up with different colours that could be seen from several miles away. And when the moonlight fell from the cloudless sky on the white desert, the landscape turned blue, making it a treat for the eyes. Maybe this is how life is too, I thought—a plain white canvas transformed into a masterpiece when painted with colours of happiness.

When my shattered dreams plunged me into a pit of darkness, everything seemed empty and hollow. But my trip to Kutch opened my eyes to the truth that happiness can spring from within even in the hardest of circumstances. It is up to us to pick up the brush and start painting a new start.

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