Holi thi err…hai!
There was a time when the festival of Holi came as a welcome break from studies. We* would be preparing for our final exams. With parents and teachers breathing down our respective necks, one chance to get away from them was pure gold. And holi gave us just that. One full day, in fact! We would wake up early and quickly get into old clothes, for the revelers from the neighbourhood would be on to us any time. Half the day would be spent colouring and getting coloured and the remaining trying to take it off. We used such effective tools like Rin Soap, Kerosene and Scrubs. (Want to know the secret of my glowing skin, anybody). That’s right, your regular soap wouldn’t stand a chance even if you applied it ten times over. And then there would be a sort of race…who’ll be the ‘last’ person to lose the colour?
Mom never played with colour. She would hate it when the floors of the house are dirtied by the water-mixed powder. “I’ve got that floor washed just two days back”, she’d yell. God knows what they were made of, but who cared? Especially that silvery colour. That’s the one that required Kerosene.
But colours, of course, are not the only thing you are decorated with on Holi. Eggs and Tomatoes were quite common. And if you were really unlucky, a can of used motor oil sealed your fate. Nice and tight. Even Kerosene was not good enough.
We’d move around in a group. And after every house attacked, the group size would increase. This went on till the last remaining friend was decorated appropriately. Face, hair, ears, arms, legs and so on.
If you wanted to take revenge on one of your friends, this was the chance. Take a rotten egg and smash it on his head. More fun if he’s a vegetarian! He wouldn’t be quite sure who did it because all looked more or less the same.
That was how it used to be.
Times have changed and people have moved on. Some have got married and are too scared of their wives to come out and play. No amount of cursing would help. Some others have moved overseas. But mostly–the saddest of them all–people are just not interested any more. I’d have still played with whatever little group we could gather. But two sad demises have made sure no cries ‘Holi Hai!’ this year in our family. And either due to some extraordinary lapse of concentration on part of our HR manager (or just pure sadism), our office will remain open on Holi this year. bah!
Thankfully, one thing has remained constant over the years on Holi. Dosas! The breakfast on Holi is always Dosa. And mom has kept the batter ready this time too.
Enjoy the festival of colours, rotten tomatoes and egg a and used engine oil. I’ll have to be happy with them Dosas.
Hope you read this post ‘after’ you have played Holi and taken the bath.
*I was born and brought up in a joint family. 8 of us were kids belonging to a similar age group. All our friends in the neighbourhood and cousins who lived near by were not too old either. When we all got together, it’d be around 20 of us.
Image courtesy: Narasimhan