Rang Barse Of Yonder Years
Rang Barse Of Yonder Years2 mins 129 2 mins 129
Preparations started a week ahead of the actual date. Tents pitched on the lawns with seating arrangement and buffet tables set up with crystal glasses, fine bone China crockery and cutlery. Early morning on D day, the kitchen staff had their hands full preparing the aperitifs.. thandai, rooafza, lassi, mini mince samosas, gujiyas, paneer tikka..the list was endless and we kids enjoyed the revelry sans the liquor...occasionally stealing sips of shandy from glasses left unattended!
Plastic pistons, a bucket of coloured water, gulaal, stood as standby crying for attention. Custom demanded to first touch feet of elderly, sprinkle coloured powder, and after receiving their blessings, the floor i.e. green lawns were left open to us. And this one day, no one minded us being rambunctious kids, dunking each other with colours of Holi. Cemented storage tank filled to the brim with coloured water, much to the consternation of the maalis (gardener) on whom rested the onus of emptying. and cleaning the following day. But they too indulged us. After all, Holi comes once a year.
And the fun went on till we dropped dead exhausted from screaming, shouting, and taking turns in being dipped into the water tank. Stretched out on the lawns half awake we watched Moms and Dads having adult fun, raucous laughter reaching our tender ears, till sunset over our little gated community.
A potpourri community of Britishers, Anglo Indians, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Sindhis, Punjabis Bengalis, Madrasis's (at that point of time Madrasi was commonly referred to anyone hailing south of the Vindhyan range, never mind if they had surnames as Menon, Pillai, Ranganathan etc.). All we knew was belonging to one big family, enjoying the various cuisines and 'breaking bread' at Club parties with friends.
Post celebrations were scrubbing time. Whole cakes of lux soap wouldn't take off the purples and greens. The next day school assembly resembled a field of brinjal faces of various shades. And the smile on the faces of the Nuns and teachers spoke volumes! That was then. Hurtling past childhood graduating to teenagers and then we all moved away, migrating to the metros for higher studies or wherever our parents relocated for better job opportunities. Community living in the post-Raj days soon ended with factories closing or being taken over by the new growing breed of homegrown industrialists, formerly British holding companies.
Hail to Holi and all the fun we had as kids! Whatever happened to take away the spirit of yesteryears? Studies, overzealous environmentalists, and overprotective parents.. killjoys...all ganging up playing spoilsport, in reducing this festival to merely a date on the calendar.