Thursday, March 8, 2012

Holi – The Festival of Colours…and Water!


(As it appeared in the Bandra Buzz  last year)

It’s that time of the year again when the whole of India unwinds and chills out to participate in the Holi festival. Colourful faces, wet clothes and ecstatic shrieks all herald in this joyous spring festival. Holi is yet another celebration of the triumph of good over evil – It is the commemoration of the burning of the demoness Holika as she tried to kill Prahlada, the privileged devotee of Lord Vishnu, who miraculously survived. Huge bonfires are lit across India to celebrate this glorious event.

Holi has always been celebrated with gaiety and vigour in Mumbai. The cosmopolitan nature of this city ensures that people of all castes and creeds become wet and colourful during this festive occasion. Gangs of mischievous kids hurl water balloons at each other or at unsuspecting passers-by who first shriek, then abuse and finally burst into laughter - well, not always! And then there are the groups of adults who are comparatively restrained in their celebrations. They smear each others' faces with colour or toss the powder gleefully into the air such that it stains their clothes which are often white in colour – that is, before they get stained.

Unfortunately, the colours they use nowadays are synthetic and not only difficult to remove but extremely unhealthy as well. Traditionally, only natural colours were used and they were supposed to have medicinal value as the ingredients included neem, kumkum and haldi.

Some of the nostalgic memories of my childhood include rushing to the bedroom window immediately after breakfast during Holi to watch Kumar, my classmate, lift a huge bucket of balloons and position himself for the day-long assault. Kumar‘s sixth floor flat was strategically located to provide a perfect view of the small lane heading towards the building. So, at regular intervals, I could spot the missiles darting out from the window and falling on the unfortunate victims below. The angry yells confirmed the accuracy of the strike. Soon I would try to emulate my idol by filling at least a dozen water balloons. Unfortunately, the nearest road was quite far from my third floor balcony and so I let the balloons drop down harmlessly on to the compound below. In the evening some of my balloon-tossing friends would hurl the water-laden objects at passers-by to good effect.

Yes, most Indians would have fond memories of some amazing moments they experienced during Holi. This wonderful festival certainly adds colour to our lives!

----- Vivek Pereira

11 comments :

Vivek Pereira said...

Yes, as this articles suggests, every Indian will have their own nostalgic memories of this great festival! The worst affected are kids who need to study for exams.

parkerd said...

It's quite an interesting and funny article a la Vivek. I like the part when you describe your friend throwing water balloons on the road. Very hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Holi is a wonderful festival were so much bonding happens.

Vivek Pereira said...

Hey Parker long time no see. All of you please feel free to contribute to these articles. It's our own space where we can make a difference in this otherwise ruthless world.

Anonymous said...

hey Parker...this is darryn here...you remember me....It's been some time since we interacted last online.

parkerd said...

Yes Darryn I do. How's everything?

Anonymous said...

I'm fine. :)

Cheryl Coal said...

We Brits do celebrate Holi too. All the Asians just enjoy this festival. By the way, I've never participated in it but I like seeing other's getting dirty.

parkerd said...

Hey Cheryl - Howz it going? Cool,huh?

Anonymous said...

Hey we Americans like Holi too. It's like the festival of colors and we got a colored President sitting in the White House!!

parkerd said...

Hey I think it's quite a racial comment! Anyways it's up to you guys to decide!