Though I have had my share of Holi celebrations, now it is but a faint remembrance. I am not allowed to celebrate the festival here in Tamil Nadu….they say I am a Dravidian. And it is supposed to be an Aryan spring festival.
On Holi day (which incidentally was also a holiday) all the Gujaratis (West), Bengalis (East) and the Northies who have set up base here let loose their clothes but all I did was watch.
Before you go ahead, you have to assume that I have never played Holi. You will also have to assume that I am a true-blue Tamilian, who has never been exposed to the metropolitan life in Chennai, where everybody celebrates everything and instead…I am some village bumpkin (which I actually am).
I know, you probably asking “Isn`t assumptions the mother of all fuck-ups?”
*I am not going to apologize for the usage of bad word here, because it is YOU asking.
I agree. Who ever said we did not f*&^ U* the way Holi is celebrated. Read on.
* * *
There are different legends for Holi. The most popular being the legend of King Hiranyakashyapu and his son Prahlad. According to the legend, Holi began as a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Isn`t Diwali also celebration of the triumph of good over evil? Yes…but just because you want different reasons to celebrate your festivals, it doesn`t make sense to make the evil guys, the winners.
Other popular legend is the one involving Shree Krishna. He was quite a flirt. Sometimes even exceeding my comprehension…I never visited places where the women take bath. No, I promise. But this guy was quite nosy …and yet we celebrate his antics with his soul-mate in the form of Holi.
Perhaps, we should speak to the Archies` and see if we can start celebrating Valentine`s Day in the name of Lord Krishna. The ladies can start sending their boy-friends cards with pictures of Lord Krishna and Radha. The men (or boys?) could play the flute to entice their loved ones….and then take them out to ‘flop` movies.
Either ways, Holi celebrations came as a surprise to me. It was my first month in Old Delhi (I hang around behind the Red Fort…and no I am not a guide) and on Sunday I saw something really crazy.
As soon as I got out of my shack, I saw a crazy bunch rush past me…in the melee…some color fell on my shirt. I went inside and changed my shirt…for I could not go to office like that. I hadn`t walked ten meters when a small boy sprayed water on me. And that too colored water. Changed to another shirt – the last of the clean ones. This time, it was a balloon that flew in from God-knows-where…and splashed on my trousers. I did not worry and kept walking.
I saw a bunch of youngsters man-handling a teenaged girl. And they all looked like street urchins…those that hadn`t taken bath in years…just that these were colorful personalities. Very demonstrative, I thought.
The girl was wriggling..trying to get out of the ring six of these street urchins had formed. This was enough to wake up the superman in me…I can`t see a lady in distress. I rushed into the ring…and lifted the girl…and bought her out to safety. Next second, she slapped me. The boys pushed down on the hot, tar road. I thought they were drunk too….hence complex.
Leaving the girl to fend for herself I moved on. By now, my clothes were really dirty. Colorful would be more apt.
I think, I resembled somebody in the area…for everybody came up to me and started greeting me. I would greet them in return. A few of these friendly characters would suddenly turn violent and drench me in colors…red, pink, green, blue…you name it and these guys had it.
After a moment, I realized that these guys were following me. Wherever I went, these colored faces showed up… some were sloshed and could not walk. A few asked me to drink…they called it Bhang…I somehow resisted.
I was about to enter Chandini Chowk when four guys lifted me off the ground and dropped me into the mud pit. I could not breathe for a long time…and eventually..I was pulled out. When I opened my eyes…and removed the mud from my ears, I could hear shouts of Holi Hai! Holi Hai!
So, this is what they call holi….very aggressive for somebody like me, for whom holi meant spraying ink on the white-shirt clad backs of fellow-students…
I thought I will finish with a moralistic question:
Why is it called the festival of the spring? – Do we even remotely do anything related to nature on that day…except cut trees in advance, dry them… and burn them?
But that would not be in the spirit of Holi….so here is the question: When will Tamil Nadu start celebrating Holi the way it is done in Old Delhi?