Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Rangon Ki Holi

With festivals a galore in India, each unique and holding it's own significance, Holi is definitely one of the most loved ones.  And why not??  It is a festival celebrating love.  They say Lord Krishna's pranks of coloring his beloved Radha's face gradually turned into a celebration with people smearing their loved ones with colors and expressing their love.  It also marks the onset of Spring.  Even today, the temple towns of Vrindavan and Mathura host the grandest celebrations with people coming in from all over the world to experience unfettered joy.  Having heard and read so much about it, I wish I could be a part of all that energy, love, and joy someday.

Memories of my childhood engulf me as the festival approaches.  Pestering Maa to buy me some colors in the market and then again wanting to buy all of them while she would ask me to choose any two or three.  Such a difficult choice to make, that would be.  Come on, who can leave out any color for that matter??  I wanted all of them.  Year after year, we would battle it out...I won some, and She won many.

Image Courtesy:  Google - India Mart

I still remember my rendezvous with the festival of colors.

I could hardly sleep that night.  Raghav had told me umpteen stories about it, and I was just a few hours away from knowing what it would be like.  I had my imaginations running wild.  I was anxious and excited at the same time.  I was wide awake, or I thought so, as I heard my mum's voice, "Vidyuuu....Raghav is already here....Don't you want to go play Holi??!!"  Goodness Gracious!!!  When on earth did I fall asleep!!  I hurried out of the bed, scrambling, falling, managing to freshen up (or did I??  :P), ran to the bag filled with colors and pani ke gubbare, picked them all up, smiled gleefully at Raghav, and ran we both out of the house screaming, "Holi Haiiiii !!!!"

Scared of all the mess that I would get my hair into, Mum had made me sit down the previous evening and oiled my hair nicely using her all-time favorite brand of coconut oil - Parachute.  She loved the fragrance and vouched for it's efficiency.  "It will protect your hair from all the dirt, enhance it's growth, and give it a beautiful shine," she always has said.

Raghav was my landlady's grandson and my best friend who taught me how to cycle, how to burst crackers, how to fly a kite, and now he was going to take me to experience and play Holi !!!  Being born and raised in South India, I had no clue as to what Holi was even at the age of 8.  So this was going to be a big adventure for me and having heard so much about it from my buddy bro, I was all set to have fun.

The moment we landed on the street, I heard a splash and before I could realize what had happened, I was all drenched in reddish colored water.  My heart stopped for a moment...looked up at the kids around me in a state of semi-shock even as they smiled, giggled, and laughed...and then came the adrenaline rush...having tasted the flavor of  Holi!!!  Chasing each other with pichkaris (plastic hand-held water pumps), throwing water balloons, smearing colors, splashing water...Oh I had so forgotten myself and ran around the streets of Karol Bagh with Raghav and his friends.  My heart thumps faster, and I feel a strong rush of emotions as I recollect my first Holi.  How I have been in love with the festival of colors ever since then.

The love affair continued when we moved to Pune.  What beautiful memories!!!   CanPark was an apartment with 40 flats, and it was mandatory for everyone to participate in the holi celebrations (else they had to pay a price for it...*wicked grin*).  Holika Dahan (a ritual signifying the victory of good over evil) with offerings of Puran Poli (a sweet bread made of self-raising flour, split Pigeon Dal, and jaggery), singing and dancing around the bonfire was just the beginning of all the fun.

Next morning, all the didis and bhaiyyas and some super-enthusiastic uncles and aunties, including my parents, would happily go around the apartments, greeting and smearing everyone with loads of vibrant colors and pulling them all out for a gala celebration.  I do remember a particular someone getting seriously offended, but then, we did get away with bura na mano, Holi Hai !!!!  Haha... 

Scrumptious food would be arranged in the parking area.  Oh!!!  How we hogged on the Samosas (a deep-fried savory with a filling boiled and smashed potatoes, peas, and Indian spices) and Jalebis (a deep fried sweet made of self-raising flour and gram flour, dipped in drooling at the thought of it) in our tiny-mini breaks!!! 

Age, sex, and religion never mattered.   Everyone was out there, enjoying themselves to the core, running behind someone with a bucket full of water or trying to escape getting dunked into the mini water tank...haha (of course with all safety measures taken).  :P :D  

There you go....memorable moments of our mommies and daddies having a gala time during one of the Holi celebrations at CanPark, Pune.

And mind you, apart from those two kids who probably got into the frame by chance, none of us juniors were even aware that someone was taking pictures.  We all were in our own colorful world.  But then when the photo albums made rounds, we had made such a hullabaloo as to why we were not informed....even we wanted to get clicked!!!  Huh!!!

By noon, after having all the insecurities and inequalities wiped out, CanPark would be a bunch of super-happy faces soaked in rainbow colors; having forgiven and forgotten, laughing and hugging each other.

Such is the power of this festival that works it's charm playfully, renews bonds and strengthens the faith in relationships, families, and friends.

There are times when the joy experienced is so overwhelming that it cannot be put down in words, and that's exactly what I am feeling right now.  Pune gave me my happiest and most memorable Holi moments.

Time caught up.  High school, and then college, and then work gave no time for any more celebrations, and the most common reason was "Oh Come On, we are all grown up now!!"

But then my marriage took me to UK, and there I saw that just like the 8-year-old me, my 20-something-year-old friends had never celebrated Holi !!!   Yes, you got it right.  They all were South Indians.....Tamil-speaking South Indians.  I leaped at the chance, and thankfully, my girls grinned happily at the idea of playing with colors.  Oh How eagerly we had waited for the colors to be delivered after having ordered them online.  Those packets of colors turned out to be precious packets of love and joy that we experienced as we played like kids even as the Brit neighbors watched in amusement. :) :)  

Now with the festival just around the corner, and my mind having taken a trip down the memory lane, my heart flutters at the idea of splashing colors at people - known and unknown, irrespective of color, caste, creed, sex, or age just like this ad by Parachute Advance.

I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories atBlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed. 

I hope to unleash the kid in me this Holi.  Will you???

Chalo Phir se Bachpan Laut Chalte Hai...Chalo Phir se  Khul Ke Khelte Hai...
Aakhir Tyohaar Bhi toh Holi Haiiiiiiiiiiiiiii !!!!

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