The winters are almost over now, as would be evident from the absent pullovers and sweatshirts, and yes, it’s about time we came out of our cocoons and let loose to some crazy rhythms and appetising fodder. It’s the festival of colors: Holi; and as I was reminded by a friend, it also marks the onset of spring.

So, what is Holi for you?

Is it the Bhang, the Gajjak or the colors?

Or is it the relentless drinking, followed by some reckless driving?

Or maybe, another occasion for some Poker….!

Whatever it is, the valour, fun and aura of this festival is unmatched, whether you like the festival or are dragged into it, there’s no denying this fact; a long list of Bollywood tracks will vouch for it!! Ask Mr. Hahn(LP) and he would quickly identify Holi as a direct influence to the video for the band’s first track ‘The Catalyst’.

I’m not too much of a Holi person myself, a part of which I attribute to my father, who is not one either!

But, it’s not that I never enjoyed Holi. A large portion of those who remain passive might be able to draw parallels to my situation, it’s perhaps, in response to what commercialization has done to the wonderful festival. Gulaal is anything but cement, something, something, perfumes….. Colors: another exotic mixture of potentially hazardous chemicals.

But, I, belong to a small community, with virtually, one foot over the line; so, yes, in spite of a few hiccups, and a silent request to my friends for using only dry colors, I’ve embraced Holi.

Eyeing a better scope and spectrum on the festivities, I begin stalking friends and acquaintances about their perception of the festival.

Holika Dahan‘ reflects upon the miraculous escape of Prahlad, a Vishnu devotee and death to Holika who despite her boon was burned to ashes. But that’s pre-Holi, all the color and splendor of Holi may be attributed to Lord Krishna and his  much publicised ‘rasa-leelas’ with Gopis and His divine love for Radha.

For some, like this friend of mine, “Holi marks the onset of spring for me. Donning a bandhni in the morning and visiting the temple, playing with vibrant colours and gulal – holi has its own unique charm.  The splash of vibrant frenzy colours that surround you in holi is the best part about it!”, she quips.

But that’s not the end of the story. A call from my not-so-long-estranged buddy, finds me looking for a mode of transport. Me being the lousy man I am, I make a call to one of STC’s employees. Five minutes later, the Skoda arrives, it’s back latch is un-fastened, revealing two cartels of beer.

“Holi preparations are on!!”, I quip. He smiles back, signalling the guards to take care of the liquid.

“So, what is holi for you?”, I’m back with my question.

He takes out a slip from his pocket and hands it over to me, “Take a look!”

The list does not contain something I didn’t expect, and you, I guess are smart enough, which allows me to skip this part.

After playing DM for close to 2 hrs or so, me and my buddy draw for lunch.

“So, what is Holi for you?” (I’m at it again!!)

“Bhai! It’s just about meeting up with people, friends and foes alike; and this, I think is the uniqueness of this festival. This festival lets you turn your foes into friends!”

Commendable I think , “And friends into foes”, I joke.

Holi, the festival of colors, of intoxicating bhang, of dancing souls, of drenched bodies, is a significant Indian festival which symbolises our rich culture and society. The splash of vibrant frenzy of colors that encompass you is perhaps the best thing about Holi.  So, break free of all the boundations and scream out loud: “Bura na Mano Holi Hai!!!”

– Sajal, TIF

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