Today is Holi. Actually, it’s one festival I have never been too fond of. But this day does have some special memories, especially of papa, who used to wake up very early in the morning to fill up the water balloons. He would also make colored water in a bucket and place that bucket in the passage outside our home. And then send me off to play this festival of color with sound instructions of not hitting at anybody above the chest level or spraying color into anyone’s face or eating or drinking anything offered by anyone known or unknown. Then coming back in the afternoon after having played to the heart’s crazy content, I would hate at what I saw in the mirror and dash into the bathroom to wash n rid me of all the horrific colors. And every time it was the same difficult bathing experience and I would promise myself that, that was my last holi.
And then there used to be the HOLI –LUNCH. Mom’s absolutely mind-blowing puran-polis. Piping hot! Straight from the girdle into my plate accompanied by masalewale aloo and kadi. Aah! jannat, really!
Another recollection I have of Holi is the harrowing time we used to have a good eight to ten days before the actual day. My school bus-stop was at the main corner of our street and it was quite a walk to our society. It was almost traumatic to walk that stretch those few days as the boys of the area would wait in hiding n target every girl that passed by. I remember asking my mom to come to fetch me though it really wasn’t much help.
And then there was the actual day. All that color and that madness about who gets to apply the most and on whom, who gets painted the most, who gets drenched the most….all madness to the hilt! I never really enjoyed all that once I grew out of my childhood and stepped into my teens. But I stepped out, nevertheless, just to be in sync with my peers. Even then, I remember always keeping a distance and carrying an air about me like I was off-limits. I never realized it back then but now, looking back, I understand why I was the least colored among all my other friends and also the most dry one in the entire building. It must have been my o-touch-me-not attitude. Only, they didn’t call it attitude back then. But somehow, I never really liked being doused with color by just about anyone. In fact, I don’t remember me applying color to anyone except a few friends I considered “safe”. I believed if I don’t touch you then u can’t touch me! And I think it really worked for me…
I don’t exactly remember why or how I developed distaste for this festival but my vivid recollection is of the Holi I played when I was fifteen and in the tenth std. My board exams were on and the algebra paper was the very next day. Ideally, I wouldn’t even have thought of stepping out of home leave alone play holi, but I was cajoled by some of my friends and I couldn’t say no. So though I didn’t even have my own colors, I still went to play with borrowed ones. And it turned out to be my best Holi …. And the last too.
Then college happened and a whole new series of learning experiences and evolving from those started happening. I realized that I didn’t have to do things I didn’t want to just to be in with my friends. So though they would come calling, I would not go. The slogan” Holi hai, bhai holi hai, bura na mano, holi hai”, and everything that was expected to be allowed under its guise; I just couldn’t allow myself to let go into this frenzy. I just couldn’t stand that crazy madness anymore.
Sanjay too, isn’t a holi fan either. So it makes the two of us. But so are my little devils. Infact, yash did play until a year or two back when it became too murky n dirty for his taste. My other little gem had been playing with plain water the last couple of days and I thought, OK, at least we have someone here who doesn’t hold a thing against this day. But last evening he came home and announced that he shouldn’t be hassled about going to play holi as his friend had just informed him that he would not only be required to bring colors but also that he will be doused in a variety of those. That’s it. But in the morning he thought he would give it a shot. So he stepped out armed with his water-pistol. I was hopeful. But it was short lived. Little Teddy was back home in 15 minutes, no less. He had just a little bit of color on his cheek n a wee bit on his tee. And that was enough to turn him off! He checked himself out in the mirror and rushed his father to bathe him immediately. And then, promised me that he would not play holi ever again!
So I am back to square-one…..
Having said all that, now I must mention that this post has happened because Sunny made me all nostalgic about Holi. It is, however, very ironic that I haven’t ever played holi with him. Simply because by the time he stepped out to play this colored riot, I had taken a retreat from it. Strange, now that I think about this.
…..and I always thought there was nothing that Sunny and I didn’t share. Well, just one pinch of color, Sunny. For you….