Whenever I think of holi it is always the beautiful colours that I see on a white background. Since I have spent my entire childhood in North India where Holi is considered as one of the most important festivals, I have been lucky enough to get holidays and enjoy the festival with friends. The usual Holi celebration would be to go out during the day and play with friends or sit in the balcony and watch others play holi. When we were kids, we loved playing with gulal ( powder colours) and mixed it in a bucket full of water just to pour on everyone who passed by from the balcony. There was also a fear of even going out during Holi because someone or the other would come and apply colours. Those days we were not even aware of clicking pictures during holi so I do not have any pictures to remind of the beautiful days but the memories that I have had in celebrating holi with friends is amazing. Mom would keep a separate bucket where I could mix colours with water, dad would come along with me to the local market and buy colours and pichkari ( water spriklers) or balloons ( later to be filled with water). I always loved having a minimum of 5 different colours. It was just an amazing feeling just to keep everything ready the previous night. I would hunt my cupboard with mom just to find an old dress which could be dirtied with holi colours. Mom would ask me to dab my skin with numerous amount of coconut oil before going out to play holi. It was not the end. When we were kids we had a specific time to come out and play. We feared the elders who would play holi with paint mainly, the silver ones. There were many beautiful faces hidden behind the golden, silver and green paints. I am feeling excited just as I recollect those beautiful memories. The entire day would go in just playing holi, spraying colours on others, pouring buckets of colours water on each other, even from the balcony or use those water guns to spray coloured water even when we stand in the balcony, look down and talk to each other. The entire row of houses and from top to bottom had holi colours dripping, in our apartments. There were many notorious ones who would deface the newly painted white walls with the colours and instead all the innocent children would be scolded for these acts. It is mostly in the month of March so it would either clash with the annual or board exams but no body wanted to miss celebrating holi. I remember the last holi that we played in school after my 12th board exams. We skipped the actual day and instead celebrated the last day of exam by playing holi outside the school premises. I did not wash that white school uniform with holi colours for days together just to keep that memory alive.
Once the celebrations of the day were done with, mom would be ready at home with enough soap and gram flour so that one could get rid of the colours easily. Despite spending more than an hour cleaning up, we would end up with some red or green marks behind the ears, on the finger nails and also in the corners of the forehead and around the neck. Those signs actually made one feel proud when we would go to school the day after holi. It actually spoke about the amount of time one has spent playing holi. Evenings, we would get dressed in fresh clothes, preferably white or light colours. Since in our culture holi was not a major festial, we would go to other's house who had invited us for dinner. There would be 7-8 invitations from the neighbourhood and I never wanted to miss even one house. I went to each and every house with my parents where they would welcome us by applying powder colours ( gulal) . We would be treated with one of my most favourite delicacies like Dahi Vada', Katahal ki sabzi '(Jackfruit) , Mal pua, Puri', Pulav, Chole, Gulkand Sherbet/Nimbu Pani and other sweets. These delicacies still happen to be my favourite. We would spend time meeting friends and talking to everyone around.
Slowly as I grew up and went out of my hometown to study down South in India, the effect that holi had on me started decreasing. Although in college I have played holi a lot with friends and I can vouch for the fact that it was a crazy holi celebration that we had, but nothing like the holi celebration of childhood days. We at least got time to celebrate holi during college. Now, after having started to work which is also in South India, holi celebrations have reduced. We do not even get a holiday for holi. But this time I have decided to celebrate Holi in a way just as I used to do in childhood with my friends. In order to bring out the fun of it mom and dad came home during holi and my favourite Dahi vada and Katahal sabzi will be made at home.