A retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medallist Scott Hamilton had once said: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
So thoughtful and so true, isn’t it? It is all in the mind, and finally, the attitude is what sculpts the body language and the personality enabling every individual to thereby spray out its wonderful charm.
The hub of various happening festivals, our very own Goa nurtured and showcased a unique and highly-anticipated global event, The International Purple Fest 2024, organised by the State Commissioner’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with the Directorate of Social Welfare, Government of Goa, and supported by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, which beautifully celebrated the abilities of the disabled and gave them every ounce of hope to grab victory through their diversified talents, and hold the hope and victory tightly to their chest not only now but for the rest of their lives…Amazing, don’t you feel so?
• PURPLE, BUT WHY ?
A colour that has always been a personal favourite and close to my heart, urged me to take my curiosity further and learn why only Purple, why not some other colour to adorn the banner of this fest?
‘Purple’ represents wisdom, creativity, dignity and power Also, In recent times, Purple has been lucky enough to be chosen as a colour representing people with disabilities further narrating their power and contribution to society.
• TELL ME MORE…
Entrance gate tak pohoch gaye, ab andar bhi ghoom aaye?
Come, let us walk inside together to grab further insights about what all happened under this ‘Purple’ ceiling.
The lighting of auspicious lamp lit up the hopes and beliefs of hundreds of God’s special children from all over, and the cultural flow of events that followed the opening ceremony further boosted their morale to the fullest.
The purple anthem titled “ Dhumal “ was written by the maestro of words Javed Akhtar while Shankar Mahadevan lit up the stage and smiles of everyone in the audience with his melodious voice.
A plethora of events were meticulously planned to imbibe every field be it sports, medicine, creativity or academics, embracing the disabled from every nook and corner, thus enabling them to showcase their talents, few hidden and of course few that never got a chance to walk on the ramp, up the stage.
• EVENT IT UP, ONE AT A TIME!
Let me take you all through a few of the events those were planned for the differently-abled champions.
• THE PURPLE THINK TANK
From brain dumps to brainstorms. From ideas to thoughts and from diversified speakers to panellists, each paving the way to thought-provoking debates and discussions!
• THE PURPLE EXPERIENCE ZONE
Step into a room full of games and activities, designed such that one can experience the challenges faced while navigating through the world of disabilities.
• THE PURPLE EXHIBITION ZONE
Oh, how we all love strolling through lanes and some more lanes in an exhibition, don’t we? This was all of that and much more…
Aids, accessories and appliances in the field of accessibility, have been innovatively designed by these specially-abled angels …Take a bow!
• PURPLE SPORTS
You name it, and they had it….The extraordinary energy, the never-give-up spirit and the grit and determination that oozed out of these super-talented ‘Athletes with Disabilities’ would put any sportsperson to shame.
A few of the activities included Blind football, Special Olympics’ unified football, volleyball & badminton, International Chess Championship for visually impaired, Tennis for visually impaired, Wheelchair cricket & basketball, and more.
• PURPLE RAIN
Inching towards the last but never the least … everyone’s favourite!Indeed, a shower of live mesmerising performances of dance and music by renowned artists from India captivated hearts ..
Other activities included the purple kaleidoscope, purple spectrum, purple convention zone and purple fun, which took up adventurous activities such as bird trails, astronomy and coastal walks, Goa Darshan and much more.
Stephen Hawking had once said:
“My advice to other disabled people would be, to concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”
Each of sir’s words was proved right…Isn’t it?
From wheelchairs to crutches, hearing to cognitive aids, canes to walkers, every device that aids these champs saw the light of creativity and confidence for six-super days, in this one its kind of International Purple Fest Goa decked up in its grandeur, hosted by our very own state Goa. And, I can vouch that the smiles and confidence gathered in these six days will cling on to them for life; embrace and aid them to come out of the comfort zones and excel in every field be it sports, academics or creative than they otherwise would ever be able to.
An event that somehow, in some silent way got closely connected to each of us, occupied a special corner in our hearts, sharing and spreading countless confidence and smiles finally took our leave, victoriously yet lovingly until the next year of celebration by saying ‘I 💜 U’.
(The writer is a pharmacist by profession, lyricist/storyteller/poet by passion and a mother by choice. She believes in picking up inspiration from the tiniest of things around her and also scripting silence.)