This post was intended for the Holi week but got delayed....but nevertheless, the content still remains sufficently fresh and readable :-)
The week was a pretty relaxed one, perfectly punctuated by a holi-day on Wednesday. I am overall really averse to the idea playing holi as I find it quite a messy concept, unless there is a right company. I did manage a quiet and peaceful holi this time. In the day-time, as per custom, offered some abir (the bangla name for gulal) to God and parents. In the evening cousin sis-jijaji, niece and maasi came for a visit. Sis carried a small box of fragrant organic gulal, and it was fun smearing each other with that. Post some tea, snacks and sweets, holi was over and then it was business as usual for the rest of the week.
Let me take you through some of my most memorable holies over the years. I remember shopping happily for colours and pichkari while in Dimapur from the time I was around 3 years till 8 years of age. On the D-day there was lot of fun splashing around with colour with other children around. And then, there was no holi colour-splashing/smearing for a long time when I moved to Kolkata and subsequently to Faridabad. But things changed when I joined college and started staying in hostel. I stayed in campus for 2 holis out of total 4 (2 years, managed a mini-vacation and ran home), and these were really fun times. The holi actually started a few days before the day with water being splashed on each other oh-so-often. Most of us enjoyed it thoroughly, but for a few unsporting types. I remember one of my close freinds S, was splashed with a bucket full of water while she was on her way to college to attend the 1st period. She was furious and had to miss the 1st period. But she was not really "unsporty-unsporty" types as otherwise, we actually would not have done this to her and she would have never spoken to the masterminds of that act ever again !!!
And on the actual holi day, it was really maddening....too much coloured water, gulal and pukka rangs being dabbed on each other, and we kept chasing each other across the length and breadth of our hostel compound. This was the first time I ever used pukka rang - which remains on the face for atleast couple of days, inspite of all the rubbing and scrubbing using an assortment of soaps. Another very cherished memory is of our another dear friend - R. She used to be paranoid about holi and was making plans to run away to one of her local relatives place. Her roomie had left for Patna to celebrate holi at home. On the morning of holi, we saw a big lock hanging on the door or their room. Somehow, we were suspecting that R may be hiding inside, and we tried all out collective negotiation skills to paint a rosy picture of the celebration outside, to pull her out of the room. There was no response at all. By this time, rest all the girls who were in hostel had surrendered themselves to the excitement of colours. At this point, we were little confused about R, whether she was inside the room or not, and decided to launch a full-on assault with buckets and buckets of coloured water which were pushed into the room through the narrow space below the door and through the ventilator. We hoped that R will at last come out of the room, to prevent her room being coloured in random colours all across :-) But again there was no reaction. Reluctantly, we concluded that she may have actually gone to visit her relatives in Ranchi after all.
The truth emerged in the evening when we found that one of mausis (female workers who helped with day-to-day work in our hostel) came with a key to unlock the lock in R's room and then she was found seated on her cot in the corner of the room !!! It took quite a while to clean her room, and her roomie was all the more furious to see the state of the room when she came back from vacation. It was a meticulously planned and executed escape plan I should say!!!
The evenings were even special. On Holi and diwali day, the curfew timings of 6.30 pm for girls to come back to hostel were relaxed and we made full use of the same by going around and visting all the profs homes. It was fun having home made goodies, which we missed so much in those good old days in hostel. The dinner spread in the hostel mess on holi also used to be really special!!
Another memorable holi was the one I spent in Pune, while I was attending my induction training in my second job(which was incidentally, only 6 months into my 1st job). We were 4 girls in a batch of 16, and stayed in individual rooms in a single apartment. There was no question of playing holi, as we all pretty uncomfortable with the idea. So we decided to lock ourselves up, and sit quietly expecting that no one would come calling us. But it was not to be the case. A big group of colleagues, mostly seniors came and knocked on the door. We, as per our decision, continued to stay put indoors, all dry and clean. But the persuasion became greater and beyond a point, you actually cannot defy your seniors in office, that too when you are just a new joinee. So with trepidation, we opened the front door and came out. And the minute we did so, we were drenched in a bucketful of coloured water - woosh.....and actually it was fun!!! We got into the game full fledged and decided to join the gang. Then it was lot of colour, food, water , music for next few hours....
Holi is about getting free of your inhibitions and letting your hair down. It is best celebrated in a fun group of people with whom you share a high level of comfort and trust. Otherwise, it is quote messy and no fun at all !!! There haven't been any occasions for such mad revelry on holi for quite some time, but I do look forward to similar opportunities in future. There is happiness lurking around each sharp bend in life's path and life always springs surprises when you least expect it............