Indian festivals are synonymous with fun, festivities and food. Holi is, without doubt, among the most popular among all the festivals. After the cold days of winter, Holi was eagerly awaited, with colourful packets of water balloons and water guns lining market stalls and pyramids of various colours on display. Though celebrated on the full moon, the festival is not restricted to just one day but lasts for nearly a week, spread across the days before and after the actual festival. It is a festival that creates beautiful memories around family, friends, fun and foods.
The arrival of Holi conjures up memories of days gone by. While children today jostle to buy fancy water guns, we played with simple pichkaris, water balloons and home-made colours made from dried marigold flowers, haldi, rose petals, or dyed rice flour. Before the actual festival day, we would flock to shops with our friends or parents to buy our ammunition. Once prepared, groups of friends would gather in the park or at each other’s houses to plan the strategy for the main day a.k.a Holi. We’d identify our targets, ranging from rival groups of kids in the colony to unsuspecting passerby, planning our ambush and strike zones, huddled in corners with a sharp lookout so that nobody overheard our important plans.
On Holi, we would wake up early and start filling our water balloons with water, which were then stored in tubs and buckets. Other tubs and buckets would be kept ready, filled with coloured water. Some children would be stationed on the rooftops and balconies, while others would hide behind staircases, parked vehicles and hedges. Everyone would wait patiently for a target and once identified, would bombard him or her with water balloons and water guns. Any scolding was greeted by, “Bura na maano, Holi hai!” All the fun and play was followed by a vigorous scrubbing by our mothers to get rid of all the colours and then feasting on traditional Holi sweets like gujiyas and chaat and we would go to bed happy without a care in the world.
Gift yourself a little bit of your childhood this year. Let down your hair and join the children this Holi. Don’t worry about anything, pick up that water gun and go have fun. Holi Hai!