My Life Journey Through All the Colors of Holi

My Life Journey Through All The Colors of Holi

Holi, the word itself is enough to bring joy and enthusiasm to hearts. Colored faces, thandai, dahi-vada along with a hearty breakfast of poori-sabji and halwa; this is what I remember the most about this festival. As a child, I was the first one to wake up and fill the bucket with water balloons making sure that my pichkari and bucket full of colored water were in place. The entire street of Maszid Patty was full of children and we would plan in groups whom to target. Mostly it would be the least favorable one that year who had to bear the brunt of pakka rang and bucket upon bucket of water when few would be given the task of surrounding that child. 


The case with elders was not the same, the woman who came out of her house late giving one reason after the other was colored by the whole toli as if there is a single wildflower for the swarm of bees to gratify their hunger. The scene created sympathy in my heart for the poor soul, had she turned up as a used color palette instead of making a futile attempt to be a blank canvas. But amongst all this chaos the ringing of kulfiwala would evoke a sense of coldness and sweetness melting in the mouth leaving a nutty aftertaste. After a long winter and no ice cream rule, parents did not deny the kulfis that day. And I would never shy away from asking for bhang wali kulfi which the kulfiwala would deny having every year.


Ah! The sound of chang and the joyful dancing of men on the beats of Marwari Holi songs infused merriness all around. I remember my elder maternal uncle singing and playing manjira, he would be the happiest during those hours. During my hostel days, I missed this jollity the most and after my marriage, I never really enjoyed Holi. But this Holi was different, I went to the Holi meet organized by the Hardware Association of Guwahati which was a candid family program where a singer sang Holi superhit numbers, songs depicting devotion for Krishna-Radha and friendship numbers too. Also, there was a cake-cutting ceremony for an elderly couple who had their anniversary that day. The camaraderie of the dealers and their dance moves stole the limelight I must say. 


After that, we went to Fancy Bazar where every year chang program is organized. Here, the entire Guwahati seemed to have stepped in to get a glimpse of dancers performing on Bollywood songs though dressed in Rajasthani attire. The scenes of the desert and Ghoomar dance were played in their background screen, this deported the onlookers to Rajasthan itself. Finally, we reached the place where the Friends Club of Guwahati had organized a grand chang program. For the first time in her twelve years of life, my daughter had seen the chang instrument and she kept questioning what it is and why it is played. All I could tell her was that it is how people of north India welcome the spring season, especially the farmers as they dance to celebrate their good harvest and offer the same to God on the day of Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan
Image by Dr. Vinay Bajrangi


I know that there is yet another story to be told, the story of good over evil, the story of Prahlad and Holika, the story of Lord Narasimha and Hiranyakashyapa, but for me, it is the story of faith. It was during my visit to Tinsukia during the Holi of 2021 that I asked the pious fire of Holika Dahan to give me the strength to fight the wrong and immoral things happening to me and my daughters. I believe Bhagwan Vishnu granted me the power that day to see the truth while hand-holding me through the tough journey of getting out of the abusive marriage.


Today on the day of Dhuleti 8 March 2023, as India is getting drenched in colors, Indian women have mixed emotions where they want to feel empowered knowing that this day is dedicated to them when every other message will be talking about gender equality, eradication of discrimination, violence and exploitation of women. But deep down she knows that the festive celebration would empower the cause for which the entire concept of Women’s Day was formulated. Nearly half of the women are unaware of this day, and half of them want to know what is special about being a woman and if she is different from the other half roaming on this planet. Some would be beaten up as their husbands enter houses drunk, some would be molested becoming the prey of carousing, and many would shy away from speaking the remarks meant to demean her for her femininity. I am a mother of two daughters who love Holi because they can get messy and are not scolded for that. They will be playing outside, but my biggest concern is their safety as the time approaches for them to step out, I am looking for a circle of people who could empathize with me right now and want them safe in a way I want them to be. This is what Holi brings for me now, then how could I have the liberty of wishing Happy Women’s Day today?

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