“Holi Haiii…” *followed by loud gurgle-ly group laughter*
Today Holi seems like a festival headed towards extinction just like many of our other traditional festivals. We have started looking at it as a festival of water wastage, a day of skin and hair damage, another reason of animal abuse, and much more. Though some 20 years back it wasn’t such. Holi was the festival of colours. It was the festival of unabridged love. It was the time for tasty delicacies and most importantly it was the time to just mindlessly splash around. This was the Holi of my childhood. And astonishingly Holi didn’t mean the day we had a holiday from school. Of course that was like the D-Day but Holi called for fun a whole week before the D-Day!
Those days we did not have the ready-made water balloons we get these days. Nor did we have the instant water balloon filler. But you know that was good, because necessity became the mother of invention.
All the families on our colony used to get milk from the one and only diary that there was. And Mishra uncle, the diarywala, used to keep these coloured small polybags. Nothing of the 2mm quality, really thin ones and just big enough to hold 2 packets of half a litre milk. Red, yellow, dark pink, parrot green and sky blue; that’s it. Not one more colour. Though we used to long for the white ones. No, not at Mishra Uncle’s.
All our mom’s had a common habit, like almost all Indian mothers. An enviable collection. A large polybag containing many, many smaller polybags. All the little beauties from Mishra uncle’s diary would go in there. Every year around mid of March, these thin, small, coloured polybags will start disappearing in large numbers and they start re-appearing on the roads of the colony, lying flat down on their sorry tummies with a splash of colour around the site of their fall 😀 Yeah, little rascals at work Everyone knew that!
We would all come back from school, have lunch and then the mission would begin. Afternoons would be the best time because mom’s would be resting after feeding us and dad’s would not be around to scold us. After all it wasn’t legit to throw water filled polybags on innocent adults passing by. I would flick the polybags from our mom’s collection; fill my little garden bucket from the garden tap outside. I would open the tap very slowly so that the water isn’t rushing out at a speed that would rush me into trouble and would hold the bucket tilted and very close to the tap’s mouth – again noise reduction tactic. 😛
Me, Shraddha and Divya – we would come together at my place, so any noise mom won’t bother too much as she would innocently believe that the girls are playing kitchen-kitchen together. They would bring their gulal and I would have mine. We would mix a couple of gulal packets in the bucket full of water. Imagine what terrible looking colour water it would be – Red plus green plus blue! We would fill Mishra uncle’s polybags, tie it with stitching thread (again flicked from mom’s stitching set) and the water bombs are ready.
It would be a guerilla attack. We would stand beside the gate, hidden, and fling the bomb on a vehicle. Didn’t have many cars those days. Scooters, bikes, Lunas, bicycles and hero puchs. We would never, never target a walking victim; lest they come inside and lodge a complaint with mom! (Smart kiddos, we were 😀 ) Target spotted, bomb ready in hand, target near the gate, fling bomb and….slide back into hiding. Giggling with hands cupped so tight on our mouths that our nails would dig into our cheeks. Many times in the rush to slide back into hiding we would fall over each other.
Bruises gained, still giggling.
Just need to remember those days to get some lessons in teamwork and enjoyment to the hilt. Fun then didn’t mean expensive restaurants or even stepping out of the house; it just meant pure unbridled laughter. Ya, ya at the cost of an innocent adult! 😛
I still have a corner apartment, a window facing out and a wall to hide adjoining the window. Maybe I should try my bomb tomorrow. I still love a good laugh 🙂 (but unfortunately now throwing coloured water balloons on unwilling persons can be charged under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Ouch!)
Happy Holi to all you lovely people. Cheers to a wonderful time gone by. And laughs too!