It was after I got into job that I started dreading Holi. Holi was the time when everywhere it would turn into Disneyworld’s Big Splash fun. The air would be rent with loud screams, with the Tom and Jerry chase enacted live. Come March, yes most kids would get started with Holi 15 days before the D-day in Bengal, and I would start dreading the newly-acquired hygiene fetish of the kids. They were intent on giving me a bath every time I stepped out of the house. On my way back from office I was like a Ninja warrior, ducking balloons and water pistons from all possible angles. I am convinced Keanu Reeve copied my moves for his Matrix series!
In the evening as I would go for my walk, I had to do a complicated hop-scotch-jump, to avoid the steady stream of water balloons. It more than took care of my warm-up. On the way to the grocer, dry-cleaner, any place, my head was perennially craned upwards scanning for those watery missiles. And the little devils had mastered their skill from Houdini – excited chatter – loud splash and voila the miscreants would disappear into thin air. There were times I was tempted to give them a loud round of applause.
All this practice had made me very bold. Once I even did a dare – a day prior to Holi, a friend and I walked all the way to the market for a golgappa expedition. When the tummy craves, the heart does not listen to reason. The golgappa’s were yummy and we came back almost dry, thanks to our ducking skills. And since most of the balloons landed at our feet, we returned with very clean footwear!
On the D-day itself, all hell would break loose and it was fun watching the frenzied antics from the cosy confines of the house. The kids in my apartment building would make sure they did not miss out on all the fun. And they would come back soaked in myriad colours, enough to give a rainbow a complex.
The fact is I was never enamoured with Holi. True, during my kiddy days this festival was one big party. Running around sopping wet, looking like multi-coloured baboons and the yummy gujiyas that followed….ahhh. My fingers would hurt from tying all those water balloons, but did I mind…Naah. And it was fun watching high-on-bhang adults make a complete fool of themselves.
But as you grow older your practical side overtakes you. You start noticing the rashes the colour gives, hate the mess and find the suddenly overfriendly friends dying to give you a dip truly annoying!
When a friend suggested I write about Holi, my first reaction was, but how can I? I hardly play Holi now days! Yes, it is has been nearly seven years now. I live in a complex where most of our neighbours are complete strangers to us; we make friends while going up and down the stairs. I like to call them my stair-social-circle. The bachhas are civilized and intent on passing their exams. Plus it’s impossible to aim balloons from a high rise at unsuspecting adults! Gosh, is it possible I’m missing my hop-scotch dance, all that pleading and the furious looks I had to give to shoo off the kids (though it never worked). Reminiscing about Holi madness in a non-descript locality has made me all nostalgic.
Maybe this year I’ll throw away my fear for colours and forget the calories in the gujiya and truly let go! The child in me is egging me on – go Bhaskar GO!
And before leaving let me wish you all a very Happy Holi. May the myriad colours of Holi fill your lives with Rainbow of colours and Happiness!