Do me a favour, let’s not play Holi

There was a time, not too long ago, when I used to dread Holi.  We were staying in this busy locality, located in the heart of Delhi, where everybody took more than a healthy interest in each other’s lives. Kitnaa kaa liyaa was their catchphrase.  The boys loitered on the streets, trying to extend their hand for friendship to anything that walked by in a skirt.  Yes, they were a friendly lot and I don’t think they ever passed any exam.

And there were kids – lots and lots of them.  They would spend most of their afternoons outside in the gullie so that their Mummy jee could sleep in peace.   Come festival time (especially Diwali) and the kiddos would be seized with festive fervour that would start weeks in advance. You didn’t need reminders, you could trust them to drill it in your head. The bachha party would go phaat...phut...phit all afternoon with their strip of cartridge.  But instead of the damn thing going into the pistol, the kids would burst it one by one, in slow motion, till one got a splitting headache.  My expressions of rage were apt enough to get me the lead role in Anaconda (no, not the Hindi version on UTV)!

If Diwali was a headache then Holi was the time when our neighbourhood would turn into Disneyworld’s Big Splash fun.  The air would be rent with loud screams, with the Tom and Jerry chase enacted live. Come March and I would start dreading the newly-acquired hygiene fetish of the kids.  They were intent on giving me a bath, every time I stepped out of the house.  On my way back from school I was like a Ninja warrior, ducking balloons and water pistons from all possible angles. I am convinced Keanu Reeve copied my moves for his Matrix series! 

Water balloons filled with water and ready for...Image via Wikipedia
In the evening as I would go for my walk, I had to do a complicated hop-scotch-jump, to avoid the steady stream of water balloons. It more than took care of my warm-up.  On the way to the grocer, dry-cleaner, any damn place, my head was perennially craned upwards scanning for those watery missiles.  And the little devils had mastered their skill from Houdini – excited chatter – loud splash and voila the miscreants would disappear into thin air.  There were times I was tempted to give them a loud round of applause.

All this practice had made me very bold. Once I even did a dare - a day prior to Holi, a friend and I walked all the way to the market for a golgappa expedition. When the tummy craves, the heart does not listen to reason.  The GG’s were yummy and we came back almost dry, thanks to our ducking skills. And since most of the balloons landed at our feet, we returned with very clean footwear!

On the D-day itself, all hell would break loose and it was fun watching the frenzied antics from the cosy confines of the house.  But we made sure Tee our daughter, did not miss out on all the fun.  We’d push her out of the house with a go have fun baby!  Our little baby would come back soaked in myriad colours, enough to give a rainbow a complex.

The fact is I was never enamoured with Holi.  True, during my kiddy days this festival was one big party. Running around sopping wet, looking like multi-coloured baboons and the yummy gujiyas that followed....ahhh.   My fingers would hurt from tying all those water balloons, but did I mind...Naah.  And it was fun watching high-on-bhang adults make a complete fool of themselves.

But as you grow older your practical side overtakes you. You start noticing the rashes the colour gives, hate the mess and find the suddenly overfriendly males dying to give you a dip truly annoying!  

When a friend suggested I write about Holi, my first reaction was, but how can I...I hardly play Holi!  Yes, it is has been nearly seven years now.  I live in a complex where even our neighbours are complete strangers to us; we make friends while going up and down the lift.  I like to call them my lift-social-circle. The bachhas are civilized and the guys are intent on passing their exams. Plus it’s impossible to aim balloons from a high rise at unsuspecting adults!  Gosh, is it possible I’m missing my hop-scotch dance, all that pleading and the furious looks I had to give to shoo off the kids (psst it never worked).  Reminiscing about Holi madness in a non-descript locality in Delhi has made me all nostalgic. 

Maybe this year I’ll ditch the organic colours and forget the calories in the gujiya and truly let go! The child in me is egging me on – go Purba go!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. hehe....shud tel u den....go hav fun baby!

  2. :) Holi approach-eth.

    Here, in Bangalore, we hardly play holi.. most parents are skeptical about letting their kids go out on that day.

    I haven't played much, but the lil' that I have, was superb!!

    * makes mental note to make holi plans *

  3. i cannot realy understand why people dont like holi, it is just one festival when u can truly let go and let the animal take over u, not the overfriendly types but the one which does not really care...u should try it once again..

  4. One of the best holis i witnessed was in Moreh, people used to throw pure water instead of coloured water. Happy memories. I hate the acidic or chemically laced colours, gulal is ok

  5. Yay, go Purba go!
    and talking of being on the toes all the time, I'd recommend that all citizens play such holi... at least it would keep everyone on vigil, of not just miscreants with water loaded balloon bombs, but also terror threats.
    Here, we tend to make an early escape from the holi celebrations after the beginning round. Because first people here paint us with a spectrum and then they blow scam whistles and tear the clothes down.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  6. hey let gooooooooo and induge in the colors.

  7. TO ALL....Damn why did I write that last line...And please be original...Try saying No Purba No!!!

  8. Sadiya...Baby dreads Holi

    mazing out...Organize a Holi party and please don't play ..Rang Barse! (it's a done to death song)

    Perception...Let the janwar in you play. It needs some airing!

  9. Degiude...Exactly! why do things have to be so messy!

    Sid...Purba is going nowhere!

    Blasphemous Aesthete...And now even a comment can put you behind bars! Sad.

    Hey RK thanks for the idea :))

  10. k here you go...noooo purba please dontttt give in and play.think abt the rashes and the expenses for the medicines,doctor...........hih hih...holi shouldnt come at all...all issues solved

  11. Good one.. U made me remember my childhood days..:-) thnx...:-D

  12. Hi! I too was scared of Holi all these years.. but then for last 2-3 years I crave for getting coloured and drenched!!! age catching up!! LOL!


  13. Hmmm...whatever,,,,to the last line.

    Funny take. Did you wear combat clothings?
    Now can I write the dark and broody and sociopathic version which you forbid me to write before your post was published?

  14. never played holi. we dont have it down south. your post makes me want to :-)

  15. ha ha...u know Purba..I love holi and I miss all the fun that I used to have in India..the post of urs reminded me of my good old Holi days.

  16. I'm not allergic to colors but I never played with it because mom won't lemme. We don't celebrate holi and I wonder why.

  17. RK...Now you're talking sense!

    Raghu...Colourful,lazy,crazy days

    Restless...Let's get together and paint the town red ;)

    Prats...Waiting for your nut-cracker version

  18. Harish...But you do get a holiday, right?

    Indianvalueswevalue...Time to get dirty this year :)

    Nethra...Why not? Personally I feel kids you never be deprived of such crazy, OTT experiences.

    Giribala...Will try to.

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  20. Holi is the perfect spring festival celebrated the Indian way. Now as adults i dont mind the sookha gulal smearing... it adds sparks to ur daily routine and it is a good way to socialize with your immediate neighbors.

  21. beautifully expressed!
    yes perceptions of having fun do change... that is why memories can be cherished!



  22. I am one big holi hater -- was, am and will be forevermore. Wait, I hate only the colours and the chore of washing off all the indelible ones for days afterwards. Bring on the gujiyas and all the rest of the goodies. I love holi!

    Looking forward to the post-holi post :)

  23. Till two years I was the way you described yourself and then an incident changed me forever…

    An uncle of mine known for his serious nature rang the bell and said he would only apply a tilak nothing more… and I like a fool opened the door. They (group of10) threw plates and fists full of colour…that too hard to take off, pakka wala purple! And I decided to take revenge and jumped in the battle-field which was pink already and since then I am a convert!

    Just do it, Purba!

  24. was outraged at the headline. and thought for once we are not on same wavelength!!
    but reading through .. brought my affection and immense love for you back :)

    I just lovvvvvvvve Holi and sadly been deprived equally enthusiastic company since years. But this years have high hopes :)

    so I'll also shun originality for a change..

    Go Purba Go!!! bring out the anacondaas inside you and revel in the colorful livery...

  25. Holi is not just another holiday. No.

    Holi is WAR! Each one is on their own - there are no friends, only enemies. That was Delhi, for sure.

    Damn, I miss it. Bangalore is a lot more .. calm during these times. When you have people like @pzes walking around "making mental notes to make holi plans", you know this is a faltu place. They don't know the real thing :D

  26. Absolutely. Let go this year. For some reason unknown, even I now have a little bit of contempt for the colouring. I try and live in my room and make sure nobody breaks in. :-|

  27. Wohoo..Splash Splash..Have fun Purba..Go for it.."Surf Excel mat bhoolna"

  28. Hi sis nice article...
    Happy Holi

  29. Abha...Holi if played properly can be a lot of fun. And properly is a matter of perception.

    magiceye...As kids we don't need much to make us happy. As adults our expectations shoot up.

    Zephyr...I wonder what the history behind gujiyas is? I mean why just gujiyas.

  30. Pals...That purple is a menace, takes days to come off.

    Will, if you insist :)

    mepretentious...Dear Holi enthusiast, I'm sure this season you will find enough riot-minded people. Hebbb phunn.

    Kartikay...LMAO Delhi's Hoil is something else. Time to educate Pzes.

  31. D2...Wait till you come to Delhi. You aint seen nothing yet.

    Blue Lotus...Naa I usually discard them. I mean why bother Surf Excel :p

    Sangram..Thanks Bro!

  32. Never played Holi until fate decided that I marry a north Indian and visit the in-laws during holi season and get drenched, powdered and in couple of hours all colors merged together to give me a algae green-black color and make my teeth whiter in the pics along with my rolly eyes :P

    Happy Holi!

  33. The Holi in my childhood was a lot like the one you described here. The joy lay in drenching those who did not want to play...

    In many parts of UP it seems Holi with colours goes on for many days, these days all festivals have become a shorter, saner version of what they used to be. Go ahead and be a kid again this year Purba, have fun.

  34. Colors are good:)..chemicals are bad:(...Purba Di a Happy Holi to you...wishing A-Musing colorful days ahead:)

  35. Thats a very nostalgic post! Get out and have fun Purba:) Why not give Ariel and Surf Excel a great time?:P

    Happy Holi...Wish u many more colours and laurels!

  36. now i will ask a very stupid ques here ... when's holi :S is it alreday holi time...
    Its been ages.. or was it my previous when, I had a hearty Holi.. dutching balloons and playing with wild colors...
    Nostalgic post :D I too miss the fun.

  37. OMG! how do you manage to do this? one after the other. hilarious post...

    Anyway my thoughts match with yours but everytime somehow one person manages to pull me out and once I am out there I am suddenly on the other side of the fence. All this mess seems fun and you just don't mind looking like a (in your words) multi-colored baboons.

    Just give in to the child in you. I am saying go Purba go. Daag acchhe hai!!

  38. Lakshmi...You can't leave behind such a comment without an accompanying pic. So unfair.

    IHM...Ahh the Holi pranks we played! Think I"ll opt for a saner version at the Epicenter.

    Raksha...You too sweetheart, have a happy Holi...

  39. cloud nine...Ha ha.. you are more concerned about Surf and Ariel :p
    Wishing you a fun Holi.

    Rajlakshmi...LOL @ previous birth. It's on 18th March btw.

    Sapna...Daag acche lagte hain doosron ke kapdo paar!! LOL

  40. The fun is when you are playing with friends...Dont want strangers rubbing cheeks and touching for all the wrong reasons...I am making ghujiays today...Happy Holi, dear.

  41. Here's a little tip so that ducking never works ... "always aim at the waist that way a wide margin of error can be accounted for without much disappointment"

    ooops :)

  42. Go have fun baby Purba. Go for it!!

  43. we should play it only virtually...

  44. I love holi.... Its my fav fest... Go purba, play with lots of colors and eat lots of ghujiyas n some bhang too :D Enjoy the fest of colors :)

  45. As a kid, I always enjoyed playing holi, but only from my balcony! Never been out there!
    Holi for me is actually more fun because of the 'day' part that is added to it!

  46. Its high time this festival is conducted in a sophisticated manner, i.e. without color and restricting to greet each other instead of saying just NO!

  47. Alka...We have a bong version of gujiyaas...lobongo lotika (a folded square pierced with a clove).

    Have a Happy Holi :)

    flawsophy...Thank god those little monsters don't read my blog.

    Always Happy..:))

  48. Jagdish...So it is.

    Shrinidhi...LOL...good one!

    Tanishka...Wouldn't mind getting high on Bhaang.

    Arti...All day masti guaranteed.

    SR...Some like it rowdy, some keep it each one his own.

  49. very artistic. this reminded me of Regan, he said "honey I forgot to duck."
    You seem to have ducked and enjoyed the duckings.
    the pic. of holi colors too allure one to join in.

  50. Waiting for another post from your end..:-)

  51. This Incident happened in my First Year Engineering Studies.I have born and brought up in small village,I came for near by town for my studies. In our college some people celebrate " Holi " one of my classmate put color in my shirts. College staff catch all students have color in their shirts put fine and send Letter to parents Like this " Your Son playing holi with girls so Warn him otherwise we take action ..." Our family stunned with this letter they screwed me. This is my First and last holi Experience.

  52. pramod...Oh I was a duck-pro :D

    Raghu...The after-Holi-math?

    DPS....Your seniors put you off Holi for life!

  53. Holi-phobic. From birth till death. :-D

  54. What a sneaky post! And I really thought you were advocating NOT playing holi! Grrr!

  55. Sam...Dahling the first lesson of life -> Never say never :))

    Sunil...Haha..All I can say is, have fun but not at someone else's expense!

  56. I stopped playing Holi after the one where i ended up getting colored like an alien and the silver color didnt wash off even with detergent!!
    hilarious post, had me in splits... loved the Keanu Reeves part the best :P

  57. Hi Purba,
    Nice vivid imagery of Holi. You should free that child in you and have lots of fun. Happy Holi!

  58. Bookworm...That silver colour is almost permanent and takes ages to come off!

    And thanks :D

    sajeev...Tough call but will try my best.

  59. hey,
    we all should go!!!!

    purba wanna join us??? :P

  60. holi is a great festival i and my husband play with each other he use to make my mouthstahe will black clor nd dip me in a tub of color mke my nose red and whole body eith black clor i too ply with him in a very bad manner i used to put curd nd dahi bada on his face mud aal that we just look lik a joker nd hav a snap

  61. Holi is a horrible and an uncivilized event...It is a disgrace to even call it as 'festival'...

    Now-a-days, less and less civilized people come out on the streets on this day as they are forced to spend this time at their home in order to escape all the barbarous activities that go on in the name of Holi.

    Any event where unwilling people are forced to participate in orgy cannot be called as festival by any means.

  62. Holi is not for serious people ..or civilized people...Its for the masses..the ones who let go ! :D Have fun this time.. !


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