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Holi Hai

March 11, 2009

Rang barase bheege chunnar wali

Rang barase…

The quintessential holi song, so resplendent of holi festivities —  gulal, pichkaris and bhang. Holi is such a fun filled festival. Though water balloons and hooliganism have robbed it of its vibrancy.

Today sitting in far away UAE it takes me back to my childhood days in Gwalior, MP when I and my sister would yearn to smear our faces and of  others with colours. But only managed to see all the action from behind our curtains locked in our house with our parents. Mum and dad being the good mallus hated holi so much that they would lock the house for the day and would never open the door to anyone. Only by the evening when everybody had bathed and washed all the colours were we allowed to step out.

In school we played a bit of holi towards the senior classes and by then we were not too keen on getting dirty with colours, polish and varnish (yes… with time I guess people wanted to experiment and use stuff that would be hard to come off on others).

My first real holi was after marriage. We were married a few days before the festival. As it was not an acceptable match on either sides, the extended family stayed away from the festivities. It was a young family friend of Cuddles’ grandpa who took the initiative to slosh us newly weds. Their terrace was the venue and Mr ID was I guess too excited with the prospect of  seeing a wet new bride that he left no stone unturned in the preparations. Armed with buckets he and his son made us the target. I remember driving off to my in-laws’ house sitting on newspapers so that the car seats would not get wet. The colour from that holi took almost a week to come off from my hair and face.  And I secretly thanked my parents for not letting us play holi all those years.

We managed to escape such holi celebrations a few other times with some excuse or the other. And then yet again in 2006 before a family wedding we were invited to a holi revelry. By that time tempers had cooled and we were pretty much accepted by the whole family and frequently invited to the many get togethers. At this holi though I was not the targert (it being the said cousin who was to get marrried) neverthless it was our first holi with the entire clan giving the cousins a perfect reasons to drench me with a vengeance. At the end of the day the old lady of the house was kind enough to lend me her oversized salwar kameez.  The highlight of the day were the gujias which I duly gorged on.  There were some bhang ladoos but I managed to escape them.

It is Cuddles’ first Holi this year and we spent a quiet one with dots of gulal and some nice kachoris and meetha samosas that we found in a local shop. I was tempted to buy the pichkaris but I guess next year would make more sense for the brat.

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