Colours of joy and nostalgia

With this post, I have exhausted my all my reserves! I wrote this piece on the 21th of March in 2008. Since the festival of holi is just a couple of days away, I decided to finally publish this. Wishing you a very happy and safe holi ๐Ÿ™‚

It is the 21st of March. Hardly three weeks are left for my exams and I feel like I always feel before any exam. I realise what the goal of my life is… do anything but study. I want to listen to loud music and scream my heart out. Go for long walks and just drown in the sights and sounds of the surroundings.

I was standing and staring at my books wondering how to execute the strategy I had so carefully devised to counter the enemy. The plan was simple really. All I had to do was study as much as possible, take down little notes here and there and then pray to God.

As I was going over this plan, I heard a squeal downstairs. It was followed by more screams of little girls. I looked out of my window. What I saw filled my heart with joy. I recalled some of my own memories of this colourful annual occasion.

Little girls were squealing โ€“ partly out of excitement and partly out of fear. They ran in circles while boys came charging with their buckets. The little girls prayed for mercy and then ran home accusing them of attacking from behind and screaming that they would take revenge.

Tomorrow is Holi โ€“ the festival of colours. It has been a while since I took part in any of the proceedings. After almost a decade, I had got an invitation to play with my school friends. Due to ill health I turned down the offer to join the get-together.

But as I looked through the clear glass, memories of my childhood flooded me. The festival of Holi has always filled me with fear. Year after year we would go outside, chase down each other and throw buckets of water over each other, try to dodge the water balloons and scream out of sheer excitement. We’d scream on being chased down, jump for joy on a hit, devise devious plans to counter the boys โ€“ yes, back then too it invariably was, as is today, a battle between the girls and boys. Kids from all blocks used to patrol the streets, those whom we had never even spoken to would jump out from nowhere and then the warfare would begin!

And then there were the snipers! I remember once I had the privilege of watching an expert in action. We were on the ninth floor. I was perhaps four years old and my brother around nine. I saw him load his water balloons with colourful ammunition and when an innocent civilian walked by, he would drop the bombs. I was instructed to hide as soon as the balloons were released. I prayed that I be allowed to know whether it was a hit or a miss. But the orders were clear. My brother said we’d know if it were a hit. And true to his prediction, there were screams downstairs! Success!

There is something about this festival that puts a smile on your face no matter what you do, how old you are, whether you are out there fighting, or just looking out of the window.

Now I sit here and wonder how to get back to reality. Something is missing. Yes. I know what it is. I can now study. All that was required was some loud music.

* * *
I couldn’t resist the temptation to use colours ๐Ÿ™‚

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