Monday, March 21, 2011

Holi Hai!

Seriously, I have never celebrated Holi, to this level ever before. The last time I remember doing anything close to Holi was when I warned friends that they cannot put color on my hair, or most of my face other than my forehead and clothes was a strict no-no. In spite of which some of them got some color on my cheek and I promptly played spoil sport. I mean, come on ya, I am a South Indian, what did you expect? Have you ever seen or celebrated anything south Indian with loud music or dance or color? Other than of course the weekly temple loudspeakers that aimed at making people living close to the temple deaf. We believe in doing a Pooja for everything and make every festival as stuffy and boring as possible. Look at our weddings for example and compare it to a Punjabi wedding...thanks, I rest my case.

As we drove to the temple yesterday I recollected to G about my Holi experiences. I had read it in my CBSE Hindi text book at school. I say CBSE because I am sure the State Board Hindi syllabus might have  have gladly omitted such acts of color throwing. I wondered how those hand pumps would look and what people did after all the colorful mess?

Then of course there was the instance of stupid idiots on a bike who threw color on my neatly pressed school uniform. I had no idea who these guys were and I had just finished my plus two boards, literally the last day at school for my entire life, before I started college. I was  walking back with my girl friends (two Northi's and two Southi's) and we were drenched in colors. I had plans for that afternoon, the evening and the night and here I was with oil color on my face and my uniform. "Hell, this is still Tamilnadu," my friends screamed at those guys. I abused them in the newly learned words intermittently spitting out color. I hated Holi because I could not get the colors off my skin and I looked so funny because in Chennai you stuck out like a sore thumb when you went out colorful on Holi because those days only a few people knew about it.

Later, I avoided Holi, the bad experience remained in my head. I was the fussy one who hid and did a drama if anyone came close to me with color. I always wondered how people wanted to get nasty and what a mess it would be at home. I was the Holi snob.

Last year, G convinced me to go to the temple with him to see what was happening. Babs was 2.5 years old and she was just recovering from a mild fever. It had been raining the whole day and when we got there we saw people having fun. There was music, dancing and colors in spite of the downpour. I took a recovering Babs and danced a bit and requested people not to color us because we did not want to get dirty, and shocking! Everyone obliged. So we got out of the temple with just Tikka's on our forehead. I loved it. Just the music and dancing made it worth it. So we decided that we will try and making it in 2011.

And we did. G and I wore an old white tee and jeans, Babs wore her cute but short-now white halter dress. We got there with the colors and met with another friend who had bought water guns with her for the kids. By the time we left the place, we were all unrecognizable. We danced, we sang, the kids played with each other and we had a blast. Babs loved it. She asked me if she could go and play Holi again the next day...Sorry love, you gotta wait another year. But before that we have tons of things to for instance your mother's birthday Tomorrow!!! :)

Happy (Belated) Holi...Finally I let myself go and did not stop anyone when the color came my way and I did not spare anyone either. There was a certain sense of camaraderie, no stranger doused me unless otherwise they did a visual non-verbal permission check. It was fun, if you are in Dallas next year, maybe you should also join us!


PS: Really sad to see Rafa loose to Djokovic in the Indian Wells finals. But then Djoker did play awesomely well and somehow Rafa was just ok...could have been better. is another year of seriously Vamosing for me! and Rafa please do something and get back on track...


Sophie said...

Are you saying anything north indian is punjabi? you do know that most N. Indian weddings are loud and colorful? not just punjabi right?
and before you think I am defending the honor of Biharis or something, I am from Kerala and I have mostly North Indian friends, so I know.

Anu Russell said...



I think you missed the point of this post...It did not have anything to do about who I define as North or South Indians. So please, if you want to pick a fight, not here. Sorry about that.

Having said that...I do understand what states are there in India and I understand what comprises North India. Sorry that I did not start off my post with a detailed geographic and cultural description of India. I also did forget to explain my understanding of each culture's specific wedding custom's so that I do not dishonor any custom. But in doing so, I might still screw it up because I would be inaccurate...I am assuming that would not bother you...I just tried to pick the one that most people will be familiar with.

Again, you just missed the point. And your comment sounded like you were super pissed off...were you? just curious.


Nitin Vaswani said...

haha, really enjoyed ur piece..more than the actual Holi part, the COLORFUL comparison tween the 'Northis n Southis' was penned more in "2 STATES: chetan bhagat style", with NO parochial touch to it. A humorous person is one who can laugh at ownself FIRST before 'coloring' others and u fit the bill perfectly.......keep the 'pichkari' flowing, ART :D

Sum said...

Hey! Happy Birthday Anu!!!
And yeah.... I too have the same kinda experiences with Holi, being a South Indian... may be someday i too will come out and play!

Megha Bansal said...

You have never played holi before. tsk tsk ;)
enjoii madi! Holi is my second fav festival, after diwali but ofcourse :D

@Sophie - THAT is what you picked from this post? Waah!

Anu Russell said...


Thanks...ya it used to be very different in Chennai but things are now changing...and hopefully for the better!


You just have to give in and was so much fun not to worry about the mess or having color in your hair. It was really nice. I felt so relaxed...most of the time I think i am super stuck up.


Ya, well, you never ever played holi with how would I get to play? huh? you tell me! year we will go together...your bachoos will also be big enough to enjoy it!!!

P said...

1. Hate holi too... ditto for bad experiences

2. Rafa lost - Sad day :(

3. But, India won at quarter finals - Yeay! :) :)

Anu Russell said...


Aww...and I blanket assumed that all Mumbaikars loved Holi :P yet again proved wrong :)

I have hope for him at Sony Ericson this week...lets see...

Lets see how Wednesday goes...scaryyy!!!!