My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali

Tripoto
25th May 2018
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali 1/1 by shongruff

The project was coming to an end in office and we were literally burning our asses out to finish the work. No Saturdays off and working late nights was like a cherry on my pineapple pastry.

Day 1

I was scrolling through my Instagram when I saw the story of this PFA ' Platform for artists' from one of my favorite Instagrammers. she said that she is also going there. 'IT IS GOING TO BE FUN!'- I will have a good, talented people around, and surely get to learn new things, make friends, and most importantly get out of my COMFORT ZONE of not being amongst many people. That is why I did not tell my friends also to hop along because then we are in our own space, we do not get together with other people but before that wait, "Am I an artist?"

I, in no time, called Kshitja, her number was there for any queries ( later I came to know that she is the co-founder of PFA). She was like what do you do, I said am not into any sort of art. I just do a bit of blogging and YouTube but not anything like full-time. I am not a professional. and she was like- we need people like you only. You need not be a professional.

My thought process before the festival was like-

Super chill sessions will be there. Also, did I forget to mention we were having early morning yoga and meditation session? This was the picture in my head.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

I will gel on with other creators (that's what I 'think')???? and benefit from them. Get to learn while I am enjoying.

Days before the trip-

Socially awkward me: Kshitija ruined my trip she gave my number to fellow female artists who were also coming from Delhi. One of them called me up and now I am going with two other girls.

Trying to be Social me: Dude! that is why you are going- to be outta your comfort zone, mf!

Socially awkward me: K, Bye!

Let's begin our trip-

Thursday, 5:30 PM

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

I met Priyanka and Shruti. Priyanka sketches and Shruti photographes :P I mean she is a photographer. Soon, I was the one who was the talkative one. Actually, I have a habit of making the other person comfortable so that I can get comfortable. It is bit tricky but yes that is the thing. Priyanka on the left, My face looks weird and Shruti on the right

During the night, Shruti woke me up, we had entered the hilly area, and we witnessed the huge forest fires. It was so horrifying and heart-breaking to see speechless trees burning down.

Next morning we reached Manali, we took a cab to Jagatsukh, a village 30 mins from Manali.

I came to know I have to live in a dormitory. Oh, shit ???? Don't judge me plz! M not a papa ki pari kinda girl, I have lived in worst of a hostel or it was us roomies who made it so. But I am a grown up now I prefer privacy, (says the socially awkward me again)

DAY 1

Friday, 11 AM

We gathered in The Lost Tribe's common area for our free breakfast and the introduction part.

There were around 30 artists, some budding- singers, musicians, poets, and yes mostly painters. I don't know why but I have this weird thing in my mind that artist=painter and there it proved me right.

The day was full of activities. Wo chodo, Breakfast is Important. I scanned, I double scanned, I triple scanned the menu of 10 items. I ordered Parantha. No matter how many faces who make at home seeing parantha. When you are out, you will order parantha only.

We were a group of 3- Shruti, Priyanka and I, we thought we will share it, so I made sure one parantha is getting ordered now it was my time to experiment. The order taking guy recommended their specialty 'chocolate bomb'. It was not having chocolate on the top but inside was brimming with chocolate and am not a huge fan of chocs so it was too much of it for me. But it will be a dream come true for a choco-lover. The parantha was so scrumptious.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Choco Bomb- Speciality of TLT

In the meantime, others were doing their first task of finding any object from the surroundings that describes them. Be it a flower, leaf, stone, anything you have to be creative about it.

I luckily found an artificial garland (don't have a picture) in no time which showed my steadfastness and observant nature.

Later to which I explained it is vibrant in color shows optimism and cheerfulness that is why I felt a connection with it.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

These ladies were selling tea, lunch, and dinner and, also a few traditional clothes, fruits like cherries, raw green almonds and apricots.

I didn't have my lunch that day. Time was for activity no.2- Collab with an artist of different forte.

Soon it felt like a college, assignments, and tasks! We were supposed to finish our task in 2 hours. Bro, I am not here to take the stress :(

A few people had just arrived, I got to collaborate with them. Both related to photography. I, a travel blogger and one was a cinematographer other a photographer- what a match!

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

I did not want to stay there like others. I just went down exploring the village, their houses, we filmed our way and we reached down to the banks of river Beas. I did not want to work according to time limits. We sat there, watching the river gushing, burbling and splashing. I could not tell you how badly I wanted to take rest there itself but I knew now or later I have to go back. So let's go back.

People started presenting-

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Have you seen a dustbin more beautiful than this?

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Round Table discussions

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

This was our presentation.

Everyone enjoying The lost tribe's HOT CHOCOLATE

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

We have to speak in front of everyone what we did, the challenges we faced, and the good points.

I loathe this thing! What will I say? I just do whatever I feel what gives me happiness, there is no thought! How stupid will I sound in front of people who are creative, make songs at the spot, sing, create art, my mood was in a low spirit now. I was feeling as if I am a misfit. I made calls to my family and friends.

I was feeling lonely. I wanted the days to end faster. I looked at the mountains for some solace.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Before dinner, we had a session with famous fashion blogger- 'Ritu Arya'. I came to know about her there itself. She had a strong personality and a great sense of fashion. She had a new fan over there now :)

She started her short presentation. It was basically about how an artist can grow and survive with his art through social media. Some artists prefer following, some do it completely for themselves. It felt like a class because we are not used to it now. but was really helpful.

After dinner, we stayed for the bonfire. But @khushnumapanchi and @vichitramanushya took it to some other level. And how can 3 AM be devoid of ghost stories? I could not be a part anymore so I left.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Our dormitory was close to the cowshed and because the window was open. Our dorm was the house of business of flies. But I slept keep my ears closed with the blanket.

DAY 2-

Next Morning, Saturday, 9 AM-

I had no plans of watching early sunrise. I was here for PFA and I wanted to sleep till late so just went with the flow. No stressing my body.

Enjoyed my tea and poha with this view :) The Location of the lost tribe hostels is very raw and appealing. A perfect destination for the budget travelers.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Soon we got ready and I had these munchkins in my dorm.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Most of us missed our today's Yoga and short hiking session. Time for today's activity!!

Some of my friends chose to bunk, I think the activities on the very first day took a toll on them also. It was not just me. But I chose to stay coz I had come for this fest only not for roaming around. I can do it someday else.

Activity was group collaboration- This time we are 5-6 people and we have to showcase our art at its best. We got the whole day. Actually, I was happy today. We were not rushing through anything. We got to know each other. And when I come out of my shell, I am unstoppable. Now screw what others are doing. I am not less than anybody else. Jai Mata Di, Let's rock it!

Me bunking the practice and hopping into the neighbor's house

Meet ' Bachi'- A 4 month old calf

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

ENROUTE HOSTEL TO THE PANCHAYAT AREA-

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff
Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

REACHED THE PANCHAYAT GROUND-

Must have seen generations growing under it & lot of panchayati decisions

We did a skit performance in front of the audience in the temple arena. It felt so good. though we screwed it up, I had fun. I was contented.

There were 5 groups and after everybody's performance. Shruti Ashok aka @thebijniswoman of Instagram- The founder of The lost tribe hostels. I realized it that very moment I have seen her somewhere. Omg, and she is the owner, how on earth I didn't realize it. She was our strict cum sweet headmaster there. She started a stopwatch and asked people to describe their today's experience because we were running out of time. Then Kshitija summed up the evening with her emotions pouring out.

Now was the time to party!!

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

We went to the pub in Manali. Party people won't call it a pub but yes it had music, We played snooker and our singers started singing shutting the DJ off.

And not to forget late night musical bonfires????

DAY 3-

Last day, Sunday-

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

This was the day when we actually completely did nothing but chill. We did Yoga and meditation. I literally cannot explain how empowering and detoxifying it was by Disha Deshpande. Tears came out of my closed eyes. Doing yoga amid the mountains with psychedelic music playing.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

I could not believe it was 2-hour long session. It didn't feel like one. I could have done it for 5 more hours. So refreshing for your soul.

Even the local dogs were ecstatic about Yoga

Then had my breakfast. I am a vegetarian but there was a choice of sexy looking omelet and bread jam. Omelette won!

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Then we played a game of bomb and shield whose purpose was to tell us that we need the help of other fellow artists to grow in our lives.

After a shower, It was time for the last activity. This time it did not feel like a burden. We had a collab with all the 30 artists. Yes!! We painted a wall. This time I was not underconfident. I was painting the way I did at home. I liked what I painted :)

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

B**chod Sutta

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

I wrote in Kshitija's diary about the experience and sat there for an hour or two lying and gazing at the sky and the mountains. Had the yummiest local food as the lunch. Local food- Curry, Pahadi Rajma and Pahadi Chawal.

At around 4 PM, we bid goodbye to everyone. We took selfies, we danced and we left. Deep, Ankita and I preferred to walk. Ankita was going to old Manali, she was staying there for more days. Deep was going to Chandigarh. We got a ride. The driver was full of energy, he was offering us weed and was so garrulous. He put a full stop to our journey in a humorous way.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Reached Manali Bus stand and seeing the deplorable condition of it was heart-wrenching. Govt. should install dustbins there. There was no one to be seen around and reduce the use of plastics to the maximum.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

The picture above is a very subtle one. The smell was so disgusting at the bus stop. It was full of plastic and just plastic everywhere. One which can beat the world's best bus stops was suffering under the hands of humans. Just beside it, runs mighty Beas river whooshing but the cliff is entirely covered with black polythene and donkey dungs making it a pathetic scene to watch.

If you are still with me, Thanks for bearing me till the end. Enjoy some more pictures-

Lunch on Day-2 The ladies were charging their food a bit high. For example this cutlet only for 100 bucks.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

Never seen so many roses together

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

And trust me,it is not even 1% of it. Roses bloomed like leaves in these plants.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

My boi Kavya (on the left) made me this vase. It was filled with original flowers. Though I told him we should not pluck flowers. They look pretty alive. He will learn to love nature for sure.

Photo of My First Experience with an 'ART Festival' in Manali by shongruff

She taught me the local dance ' Naati'

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