Monday, March 1, 2010

Remembering the days when I used to play Holi

It's Holi today. And I'm remembering those days when I used to play Holi as a kid, studying in school. A few days before this one-of-the-best festivals, I used to buy a few packets of balloons ("gubbaare"), some amount of dry color ("rang" or "gulaal"), and one or more pichkaris. I also used to buy some amount of semi-permanent colors ("pakke rang"), and sometimes also the large-sized balloons (the ones you inflate with air).

I used to wake early to start filling the balloons (each balloon was precious - I remember counting the balloons to make sure that a packet which claimed 50 balloons indeed had as many), and used to dip them in a bucket full of water (to slow the outward flow of water). After this was done, all of the arsenal was carefully placed just behind the gate (in the behra, or verandah), and I used to venture out of the gate, looking for my prey. I frequently used to team-up with some of my friends, and we used to together attack others.

And it would happen sometimes that we would be hit with eggs or grease, by elder guys on bikes. Sometimes someone would overturn my bucket (and I would do the same sometimes).

I also remember the time when I would come back home, all colored and drenched, and mummy would ask me to rush straight to the bathroom. I remember using shampoo to remove color from my hair.

All that is past now. It's been years since I played Holi this way. I don't even have a picture of me-a-kid playing Holi. And as I sit here at my office in Jo'burg, I'm remembering those beautiful days when I played Holi, and I'm missing them.

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