By Mamuka Badridze,
Consultant in Positive Psychotherapy
I want to tell those who have not heard about the Saarbrücken Square in Tbilisi, that there is such a square and near it one can find Dedaena Garden, which hosted New Year’s celebrations last year. The joyful events and attractions impressed the visitors not so much by their scale as by the organizers’ good taste and friendly atmosphere. Naturally, all this made my 7-year-old child very happy.
Entering the place we were attracted by the small Christmas market huts arranged in two rows, which were eagerly offering sweets, toys and souvenirs to children. Next came different kinds of attractions. Finally, the decorative Christmas sleigh with white metal horses added the finishing touch to the whole place.
In the center of the garden stood a huge Christmas tree with a Santa Claus hut beside it, but it was occupied by a tall police officer instead of Santa. However, that did not deter my son from several brave attempts to get inside the hut. Fortunately, the police officer’s pretentious resistance to the little intruder amused everyone and the incident was resolved. When I inquired when Santa Claus would arrive, the police officer told me that it was a secret. Of course, such things should be kept a secret.
Hearing children’s joyful chatter, I thought that Santa Claus had at last arrived, but the cause of their excitement turned out to be an Indian wearing a blue turban, yellow coat, red jumper, blue trousers and pink boots. He stood there surrounded by the children – Georgian children, and not only children, found the man’s outfit so festive, that he at once became the main attraction for them.
My son, delighted to see the Indian man, begged me to take a photo of him with the stranger. I was reluctant to do that, as the man seemed a bit embarrassed at being the center of attention. Other parents did not know what to do either – to show interest like their children or to politely ignore the Indian.
The reason the stranger with colorful outfit attracted everyone’s attention is that he stood out from others wearing dark, mostly black clothes.
Suddenly I felt a pang of disappointment as I realized how important the color of one’s clothes was and how attractive children found those who dressed differently from most people.
Maybe we like the black color because our country is diverse in colors and people and wearing dark colors is an attempt at balancing the effect of our colorful landscapes and individual characters. It might be wishful thinking, but one way or another, black is the most popular color in Georgia.
Meantime, the “colorful” Indian managed to escape from the excited children and quietly made his way toward the exit. Even from a distance, I felt the positive energy coming from him. He seemed to have moved us all, a whole group of people dressed in dull clothes.
Then I remembered early 1990s, the distressing time of war in Georgia and the words of my best friend Nick: “Wouldn’t it be cool to see a man in a turban in the Tbilisi streets one day?”
That day has come, Nick.