Colourful, wild, bold and bright, messy for all, dressy for none...the first few thoughts that come to my mind when I think of the festival of colours. Marking the official onset of spring or Phalgun in India, Holi (also known as Dol Jatra, Phaguwa,Phakuwa,Sigmo,Yaosang,Ukkuli in Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Goa, Manipur, Kerela respectively) is your license to let your hair down, get 'happy-high', pull out the war paint, eggs, jam and what-not and go colour the people you like, or even better, those you don't like! ;-) Seize the opportunity, after all, 'bura na maano, Holi hai' ! ;-)
Generally falling in the month of February or March, this 'riot of colour' unleashes itself as winter reluctantly gives way to warmer days, a signal that it is time to gently fold those Pashminas into neem-laced trunks, as the buds of the Tesu flower begin to unfold and bloom on the branches of the Palash tree while twelfth graders have their noses buried into their question banks, writing Board exams.
I remember during my days in University, this would usually be a three day colour flinging uproar, with people prowling on the streets,armed with 'pichkaris', buckets, balloons and any and everything that can hold colour, in the hope of catching hold of someone unsuspecting or sporting enough to play Holi. The day would begin every year with a solemn promise to myself not to participate in the pandemonium, only because of painful reminders from previous years of having to scrub off the colour for weeks, but I would mostly always end up being the 'HOLI-est' of them all ! The tell tale signs would remain long after the festival was over, behind the ears and around the finger nails :-)
Hmmm, fun times! Holi is, exciting indeed, if you have family around, open space to play, running water supply and the ideal temperature to play with colour. The festivities are underway here as well, with the Indian community organising get togethers and events and also playing with wet colour this weekend, even though the weather forecast suggests the mercury will remain well below the zero mark !
I am nursing a cold, so the two of us here are going to celebrate in more sober ways, eat a gujiya or two and dot some 'gulal' to mark the day. More importantly, we wish for friends and family, that they see more blue skies, green grass, yellow sunshine and crimson sunsets and hope that life's most beautiful colours flood their worlds this Holi. It is the festival of colours after all, and may the happiest shades find their way into your homes this year. I hope you enjoy the festivities with your loved ones and that you keep the coconut oil handy if you're planning to go the whole hog ! :-)
Happy Holi ! Have a wonderful day !