The Nomad’s Holi

Moving out of home for studies, then a job and then marriage and kids, it’s been decades since I was home for Holi, which also means that it has been decades since I celebrated Holi with water, colors and well… Friends. From those crazy days where you would scrub your skin with all kinds of soap including the ones you clean your clothes with, to simply contemplating if you should even take a bath in this confused weather, life has definitely taken a different path.

I miss the old days – when we’d spend an hour or so applying oil or varnish all over our skin so that the color would slip off and it’d be easier to clean ourselves later. Then meeting our friends with platefuls of yummy food… my mom almost always made the papdi chaat which I could never have without any color splattered in it, running around, screaming, as if you did not want to be colored… the pretense that added the fun in the celebration. I think I can still hear the screaming, that surprise I felt, not knowing someone emptied a pack of color on my head and I’d only realize when some water was poured over me; those colored nails I got because I applied too much colour on my hands, hiding and waiting for a friend to come to the side but they’d anticipate and move away, the coloured nails that told everyone about the wild Holi I played for days to come…!!



All that makes up my Holi now is food. Gujias, paapdi and drinks. We just spend the day lazing around, eating good food and maybe ending the day with some drinks. It does affect me that our Holi is only limited to our family of 4, including two 3-year-olds because we barely go out and socialize with a circle of friends. It seems appropriate to wait for some more years before our babies are old enough to play sensibly when we can take them with us to the local society ground, and maybe enjoy some coloring with our friends.

Whatever it may be like, I know for sure that it is nowhere going to be like the Holi we celebrated as our younger selves, where we never cared about the color being ‘organic’ or if our pictures were being taken. We moved out of our house colored in silver varnish, hoping to get so badly colored that it would take a while for our parents to recognize us when we are back home, and the color would not come off for days… wonder if any more Holis are going to be that carefree, that uncivil… or that fun.


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