When I was young, Holi or rather ‘Dol’ as we Bengalis call it was a day I used to wait for eagerly. Every year till I was about 14-15, the day used to start with us ‘para’ (neighborhood) friends gathering in front of my house, laying down all our colors, balloons and ‘pichkaris’ etc in one place, getting buckets of water out and then starting to play like crazy . We were good kids. We never used to throw balloons or color at unknown people and it was mostly just us. We used to start at about 9 in the morning and continue till about 12. Then return home with black faces and color all over and I remember having used Rin soap to get rid of the color a couple of years because it was so bad. Morning time was reserved for the liquid colors and evening for ‘abir’ or gulaal. It was the same batch of people and we used to smear abir on each other and then as a treat, have chicken roll and cold drinks and come back home so happy.
Once I entered my teens, that excitement of playing Holi kinda died down. I guess I became a lot more conscious and the idea of running around with a black face did not feel as appealing as it did once. My friends also stopped playing and therefore Holi became more of a food centric day. My mum used to make delicious dishes and we would all have thandai, eat a lot of sweets and just enjoy ourselves.
It was many years later that I rediscovered the pleasure of playing Holi. It was my first year in college and the day was just before Holi. I had no idea what I was in for that day. I went to college, attended the morning classes and went to the canteen as usual. I step into the canteen and I see color all over. My first instinct was to just run but then I was a fresher and the seniors dragged me inside and said “No escaping today”. And I thought what the heck. If you can’t beat them then join them and that’s what I did. We played for about two hours completely forgetting that we had to attend a guest lecturer’s class. He was specially invited from outside to take that class and was waiting for us to turn up. Some of the studious ones showed up but we were busy dunking each other in color. And that’s when we saw our Professor inside the canteen. He was furious and you can imagine our faces. We had hoped to bunk that class but did not have that much courage so we, with our black faces and multi-colored hair actually attended a guest lecture for nearly two hours. Poor sir could not even look at us because all he saw were a pair of eyes. Those two hours were pure hell. We were so embarrassed and needless to say, faced an extremely irate Head of the Department two days later. And that my friends has been my #SabseRangeenHoli! If only I could turn back time and go back to those carefree days! I don’t have a picture from that day but here’s one with the college gang taken on another memorable Holi, four years back.
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