Friday, March 9, 2012

Holi long ago

Holi, the festivals of colors was celebrated a few days ago and it brought back childhood memories as usual. Somehow all festivals prior marriage seem more exciting and colorful, one of the reasons could be that we were carefree and did not have to make any arrangements like now!!
Father had retired,I continued in the same convent school which was the best in the city, and still is .We shifted to our own house, left the palatial government accomodation and had to let go of a lavish lifestyle . Our house seemed so small in comparison though its considered huge now!
My Mom was very popular with all relatives and friends and they continued coming to our place for celebrating festivals.We had family friends whom we knew for decades, we children sort of grew up together.
Celebrations started at least a week before Holi with Mom making traditional sweets like 'gujias', 'shakarpare', namkeen and many other assorted tasty stuff.Slowly the different goodies piled up and it was thrilling to come back from school and see what had been made during the day!
Holi lasted for a couple of days , at night there was Holika-dahan where we made a chowk or a small square platform of bricks, decorated it and burnt pieces of wood to symbolise the burning of negativity and ill-will. Goodies which were prepared earlier and kept untouched as well as bushels of wheat were offered to Holika and 'Gulal' was smeared on each other.
Holika-Dahan signalled that we could officially start playing Holi,though my brother and I used to play with plain water much earlier to the festival and got plenty of scoldings for getting wet.
Next day after a hearty breakfast we gathered outside in the lawn to play Holi in earnest with buckets of water for mixing colors.Mom used to get Tesu or Palash flowers for making herbal color, the fragrant saffron colored water also contained many medicinal qualities .Pichkaris,dry and wet colors and other various equipment was bought several days in advance for the event.
We went around neighbour's homes and they too came to our place to play Holi.But all color play stopped at noon and we had to wait for another year to act like monkeys!
It was a matter of pride to us kids if color stayed on for several days even after vigorous scrubbing! It sort of showed the world how much we had enjoyed the festival!!:)

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