One of the most popular festivals of India is back! This is the time when most of the indians get busy throwing “Happy Holi” gifs, and memes on their whatsapp groups just like they throw coloured powder, water and (as per the latest news) semen filled balloons on each other! The excessive cajoling and forcing to play Holi gets to me. Oh! You don’t play Holi? how can you not! Let me dunk you in a pool of water so dirty that it breeds mosquitoes! holi hai bhai holi hai! Its sheer ‘Holi’ganism.
I am not sure if this festival was always like this. I do have childhood memories of playing Holi with my friends and being one of those kids who threw the water balloons at random people walking on the road. But somewhere in the late 1980’s, when there were lots of ruffians moving about our streets, an incident ruined Holi for me.
We had been up to our usual mischief of getting our bucketful of balloons and throwing them at random people. I don’t recollect what had happened then but a few of these drunk ruffians landed up outside my house with swords in their hands. I can still picture the whole scene – Me looking down from the terrace of the neighbouring building, while my dad standing calmly in front of these ‘Holi’-goons and talking to them. He managed to calm them and they walked away. But the fear, the guilt that I had put my father at risk had sown the seeds of dislike for this festival.
It is not that I have not played Holi at all post that incident, but I always did my best to hide behind it. I hated the gulaal, oil paints and the other crap people threw at each other. It gets to a grotesque level of coloring. I fail to see the ‘fun’ there! To make it worse, most people are drunk – either on bhang or other forms of alcohol which kills the leftover sensible cells in their brains.
My last memory of ‘playing’ Holi was a few years ago. Memories of that day are painful. To celebrate that holi day was one of the ways I could salvage an important relationship which was crumbling. To make matters worse, it was at a place I disliked. So you can imagine my discomfort – not my favorite festival nor am spending it with people who I liked much. But I had resigned to the fact that I had to go through this ordeal if I had to mend the broken.
If I say I was molested there, it would be an understatement and I am not joking here. I just stood there while I was plied with colour all over my body and if that was not enough a gentleman who preferred to address himself as “Le Ravan” on social media (An interesting creature but will write about him someday when I have less murderous thoughts) picked out a fistful of colour and put his hands in my pants and applied the colour all around my private parts! It was disgusting! The other jokers there including the relationship in question, somehow saw a funny side to it. I stood there simmering in anger bearing this humiliation and hoping all the while that may be these splashes of cheap color will help fill the relationship chasm. But it wasn’t to be, instead the colour dried, caked and left untreatable scars.
So now that I have documented why I don’t really look forward to this festival, it will be easier to just forward this blog link to anyone who asks me why I don’t play Holi.
I have nothing against the festival but let us have fun responsibly by using less water, herbal colours and real feelings. These festivals are meant to bring relationships together. This festival has beautiful origins. Let us abide by them for the next generation to remember this as a festival of love!
PS: The views and experiences are my own and not meant to offend anyone. But, if you are still offended then all I have to say to you is – Bura na mano Holi hai!!