Monday, March 01, 2010

March and Holi

Time does fly fast. It's already March. The year is no longer "new". Another month and the first quarter will be over. And then we will already start reflecting at what we acheieved and what we missed in Q1. And am yet working on plans and targets for the year. Somehow the onset of March month has also set in a sense of urgency...so much to do in 2010 and so little time !!!

By the way, all the above feelings are only related to office..thankfully :). On the personal front, I continue to take things as they come..each day at a time. Off late I have been keeping busy with setting up my new house, which is quite an interesting though tiring business. I will write about that in detail in my next post.


The real reason why I sat down to write today was because apart from being the first day of March, today also happened to be Holi. I was reminded of how I celebrated Holi when I was a kid..and how things have changed since then.

As a person, I was never naturally inclined towards this festival (have always liked Diwali more). Its a different thing that once I overcome the initial "Holi inertia" and start playing colors, I end up having a great time..always :)

I grew up in Patna where Holi is one of the major festivals, and is celebrated by the old and young alike. Not playing Holi was not an option for everyone, in fact the more you resisted the more you were targeted. And all was done under the slogan of "Bura na mano Holi hai". :)
Our closest neighbors, who were Bengalis, Uncle, Aunty and 2 sons, were the most enthused family in the entire neighborhood when it came to playing Holi. I still remember how every year either "Bengali Uncle" or "Bengali Aunty" (as we fondly called them) or their 2 sons would come and stand in front of the house and urge us (me and my brothers) to step out to play colors. I would stay hidden as long as I could, till Mom would finally throw us out, because they would threaten to come inside the house. As soon as I stepped out, I would be painted within a few minutes and the amount of color put on me would be directly proportional to the time I took to step outside the house.

Having got past the first round of colors, I would instantly start feeling comfortable..how dirty can one get anyway? We would then form a group and go from house to house calling out people and playing with them. The guys would go one step further...putting mud, silver paint and tearing each other's clothes was common tradition. Trying to recognize who was who in the multi colored crowd was always fun. And the sheer sadistic pleasure of putting the darkest of colors on the cleanest of people was unimaginable. This was also the time when you meet and get to know new neighbors and instantly connect to them through colors.

The time of Holi is when winter is just fading out and summer is yet to set in...so we would feel cold when someone threw water on us and hot once the color started dryin on us. Once we had done a round of all the houses in the neighborhood, we would come back to our own and then the slow and long cleaning process would start. Inspite of covering ourselves lavishly from head to toe with coconut oil to be able to remove the color easily later, cleaning oneself would still be a tough task. After several rounds of cleaning with wheat flour paste, soap and shampoo, we would still look like discolored extra terrestrial creatures.

In the evening, we all would wear brand new clothes and visit everyone's houses again (this time we would go inside the house) and play with dry colors or "abeer". We would touch the feet of all elders with get blessed.

And how can I not mention food? Like all Indian festivals, Holi is also a food rich festival. Since this is probably one festival when we do not do any pooja, cooking non-veg is allowed. One of the favorite combinations during this festival is Pua and mutton. Dahi wada, malpua, black chana, gujia were some of the other commonly made dishes in most of the homes.

So colored, stuffed and happy...is what we used to feel during Holi. It would take weeks for the color to go from the body, esp ears and nails. We would proudly show our discolored selves to our friends the next day. It was an obvious indicator of how "well" you played Holi.

This year, Holi was on a Monday. I did not have leave. I had a super hectic day at work and was on calls till 7 pm. Apart from Dahi wada, there were no other Holi delicacies which were cooked today. Of course, I did not play colors at all, playing even dry colors has been banned in office premises for past 2 years.

One more Holi over, one more Holi wasted.

How I wish I could go back in time and to play Holi the way I did when I was a kid....

10 comments:

Parul Kanse said...

Rajani,
God ! this blog just took me to my Jharia days.Reading it was a feeling of deja vu.
Great writing
Love
Parul

Rajni said...

Thanks Parul....

I got very nostalgic too while writing this.

Satya Raj said...

hey rajni...really u hav reminded me of our childhood days....exactly this is the way how holi is celebratd in Patna..but since the last 3 years we were in delhi n there its like nothing...no playing with neighbours...only we used to go to JNU to play holi...n i never forgot to carry the pua n dahi bada tradition of Patna...this year i am in meerut n found that here holi is celebrated with utmost pleasure n there is a lot of society gathering n we felt better this time..

MAG said...

Holi is not for me, hence quite bored with this

Rajni said...

@Satya - I believe festivals are celebrated more in their true spirit in smaller places.

Good to know you had a great Holi this time :)

Vivek said...

Sorry to pry, but did you ever study in Jalgaon for a year?

Anonymous said...

Consider changing the office.

Anonymously C

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