There’s something naturally alluring about musician and songwriter Monica Dogra. It could be her spunky attitude, or her soulful music, or even her self-claimed apsara-like demeanour. Either way, we can’t resist shadowing this half of music duo Shaa’ir and Func, leading us to The Burning Man music festival where she seems to be finding her own ‘Freedom’. By Bayar Jain

Every year, thousands of people gather in the Nevada desert of United States of America to erect a temporary city devoted to art, community, and radical self-expression. With this background, it’s not surprising seeing musician Monica Dogra there as well. Not one to shy from expressing her opinions, this American musician kick started her adventure with a text-based post on her Instagram feed.

According to the photograph, she cut herself out of the social media world till the end of the events and decided to completely immerse in creativity. The caption read “share with intention to grow community and inspire meaningful creativity so I can be of greater service to the world!” Noble intentions, we must say.

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#burningman2019 for me was ritual, sound, healing, ecstatic communication with the divine…. I witnessed the most beautiful women empower one another, sing songs to the elements, beat drums to herbs that will heal with the rhythm of creative force… it was a time of birthing…. I saw men with crystal clear eyes take a knee and promise to their feminine counter parts to hold space… for as they humble themselves… there is easy room for the feminine to rise…. I wept streams of release…joy…because it is my nature to believe in community and build with the aid of my ancestry… with the precision of wind… it is my nature to love… it is my nature to trust… thank you #burning man … for kissing me and holding me and making me feel safe…. to be fully expressed…. without any of the ego identification STUFF… we connected heart to heart…. rawness and fullness…. and here we are, more prepared to do the work… together. Bless upppp. . . . Major gratitude for @memerman for being my captain and making it happen . . And my creative counterpart fellow warrior spirit @nachoarimany for seeing my soul and taking this video . . Kimono by @aumi

A post shared by Monica Dogra / Aka Shaa'ir (@monicadogra) on

After an almost 10-day hiatus, the former host of the music show Dewarists came back with a bang! She posted a slow-mo video of her at the Nevada desert, dressed in a boho attire complete with boots and a bandana. In a long accompanying caption, she spoke about her takeaways from the festival itself, highlighting how moving the entire experience had been for her. Intense gratitude and humility resonate throughout.

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mys·tic /ˈmistik’ . . . a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect. . . Still reeling from how my intricate and specific prayers were answered… by meeting such phenomenally radiant souls. Missing you specifically right now @memerman @r_a_i_o @nachoarimany @sophiesofree @cristomillar @mariayatriki @louloudenington @matteocasnici @crussen @sarahdevi108 . . We were explosions in the handbooks of mystics. . . Thank you for helping me weep tears of joy after so so long! #burningman2019 . . I was so there / I barely took photos! . . #seekingyou #comingsoon . . Photo by @arka_patra

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In another picture, she can be seen sitting in an oversized shirt behind a veil of smoke. Chunky bracelets and her signature bindi complete her avatar. While the photograph itself oozes a mysterious vibe, the accompanying caption only reasserts this. Not only does she give us the dictionary definition of the word ‘mystic’, but she also goes on to reveal how she ‘wept tears of joy after a long time’.

A true poet at heart, her next photograph is a true pictorial representation of the free spirit that houses within her. Dressed in the same boho ensemble – this time with more chunky jewellery and bead necklaces – Dogra looks as radiant as she always does. If anything’s different, it looks like she had the time of her life.

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The Mayan Prayer for the 7 directions…. I experienced a mass prayer on the playa at #burningman and it was so indescribably powerful. . . From the East, House of Light May wisdom Dawn in us So we may see all things in clarity . From the North, House of the Night May Wisdom Ripen in Us So we may know all from within . From the West, House of Transformation May Wisdom be transformed into right action So we may do what must be done . From the South, House of the Eternal Sun May right action reap the harvest So we may enjoy the fruits of Planetary being . From Above, House of Heaven Where star people and Ancestors gather May their blessings come to us . . Now From Below, House of Earth May the heartbeat of her crystal core Bless us with harmonies to end all war.. . From the Centre, Galactic Source Which is everywhere at once May everything be known As the light of mutual love . . . Photo by @arka_patra . . Wearing #seekingyou @145east

A post shared by Monica Dogra / Aka Shaa'ir (@monicadogra) on

The Burning Man music festival is also about transformations, both external and internal. As Dogra poses against a red backdrop, her determined eyes and the accompanying Shakespearean like poem only adds to the beauty of the post. One word: mesmerising!

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Lessons learned at #BurningMan that I’d like to preserve and carry with me into the days to come . . An open heart is often met with an open heart… people want to help… people want to love… if only we felt safe enough . . Radical self expression feels so good! Let loose… dance! Love! It’s contagious! . . Everything we touch matters. Mindfulness with water… mindfulness with food… mindfulness with how to serve others… mindfulness is a great and grand offering . . There will always be something you will miss… be fully present where you are… it deserves all of your attention. There is a reason why you are here. Be here now. . . Giving is a great gift. Receiving is good too, but giving feels incredible! . . Wearing @payalsinghal on the playa . . . #love #india #burningman2019 #payalsinghal styled by @khyatibusa #metamorphosis

A post shared by Monica Dogra / Aka Shaa'ir (@monicadogra) on

In a three-part post, this musician’s apsara vibe continue to leave us transfixed. In an inspiring caption, these words stuck out for us: “Radical self expression feels so good! Let loose… dance! Love! It’s contagious!” The small video of her dancing in the desert only affirms this!

Standing in the middle of a desert, one is bound to hit by the wrath of nature. In her concluding photograph from the music festival, she reveals how even a dust storm didn’t faze her spirits. Dogra reveals that despite zero visibility, the motto “faith over fear” kept her going. A true inspiration, isn’t she?

Related: Travel Talk With Karsh Kale: We Say, “Hallelujah!”