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Holi Hai!

Holi is the festival of colour. Like almost all festivals in India it has a story – in Hindu mythology Prince Prahlada was resented by his father, the king Hiranyakashyapa. The demon king was a cruel man and forced his subjects to worship him and no other god. But his son defined him and continued to worship Lord Vishnu. The king attempted to kill his son in many ways but failed every time. He then asked his sister Holika who was immune to fire to sit with the boy in a huge fire. But the king was thwarted again when Prince Prahlada walked out of the fire unscathed while his sister burned to death. The day is thus celebrated as a victory of good over evil, a day to rejoice.

Holi also signifies the end of winter and the time of the spring harvest. As houses are refilled with grain after the winter it is a time to celebrate and make merry. Holi also brings in the first spring showers of the year and breaks the heat wave that is just starting to announce summer.

This Holi as I watched the kids play with colour and water guns I remembered the Holi’s of my childhood. I wish someone had told me then and I had been able to comprehend just how short those fun years would have been. I might have filled them with more memories and valued it a lot more.

The day before Holi was a day of terror for Mom I think; she hoped we’d get back home without getting into any colour trouble. Washing the colour out of our uniforms would have been a nightmare. So colour was banned when we were in uniform but then when has that stopped kids. We played Holi with plain water, filling water in our bottles and chasing each other while squirting. We came home drenched to hear words from Mom but they weren’t so bad, after all there was no colour to wash 😀

The day of Holi was something I looked forward to, it was the day to go out there and get as dirty as possible – every shade of the rainbow. The kids on our street would get together, each bringing colours and then it was a melee. You tried to colour others while avoiding the colours being thrown at you but secretly you wanted to be the most colourful too. We made little water balloons and had water fights, even hid on balcony’s and aimed at passersby 😀 I still remember the year I came home with silver colour in my hair; it took ages to wash away.

And then there was that Holi party we had in college. Our gang got together in a riot of colour but it didn’t end there. We followed it up with eggs and engine oil. Yuck, I know. You should have seen Mom wrinkle her nose at the smell in the bath after we cleaned up 😛

Those days were fun and yes, it still is fun to play Holi but what I wouldn’t give to be that child again chasing another kid down the street with a fistful of colour.

Photo Credit: rudresh_calls

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