When I was very young, probably in the fourth or the fifth grade, my dad would pack me downstairs with a small bucket full of water balloons to play holi with my friends. Now as far as I remember, I was a shy guy (arre sacchi!). I didnt have many friends. So while all the other kids would be busy colouring each other, a drawing class gone wrong, I would wonder how to enter the colour fest. I mean how do you go about throwing water balloons at people you dont know very well. I used to stand in the corner wondering how to get into the commotion. After half an hour of standing there, I would turn around to go back home, but just so that I dont look like a complete loser to my dad, I would throw a few balloons on cars, and a few on myself, to look the part. Then I would return home, soaked in the colour of three balloons I splashed myself with, take a bath and have puranpoli for lunch.
What I didnt know is that my dad used to watch me from our third floor apartment, while I went on throwing balloons on cars and drenching myself in colour. He didnt say a word.
My best holi were the ones I played with my cousins. The night before the holi day, we sat in the bathroom stocking ammunition. I filled balloons with water using my new nagraj brand pichkari, while Aroop expertly tied knots to the balloons. He had names for all types of knots. Floppy knot, army knot, super knot..
"Arre main aisa knot bandhega na, Michael Jackson bhi nahi khol paayega", Aroop used to say.
"Michael Jackson kaun hai?", I asked. I didnt have cable then. My favourite shows included Phulwari bachon ki on DD1.
"Abbe Michael Jackson nahi malum? kya dance karta hai bey woh.."
Its amazing how highly kids thought of him. And who can blame them, I mean of the 6.5 billion people in the world, how many have turned snow white from jet black?
Aroop(I know you are secretly reading this), you were such a showoff! :P But not his mistake entirely if you ask me, this is what cable Tv did to a lotta boys during the 90s.
Our colony, had two cricket groups the "bade log" and the "chotte log". My problem was that I fell in the age group which was common to both. But I chose to play in the chotte log, coz they played underarm cricket and I didnt know how to bowl overarm then and also it was easier to win there. What? Dont judge me! I like to win!
I shifted base to bade log at the start of the 7th std. I had taken a liking to overarm cricket inspite of the fact that I was terrible at batting and couldnt bowl 6 legitimate deliveries without giving away 20 extras. Anyhow, it was Bablu, who was usually the captain of my side, who had deep rooted confidence in me. How else do you explain a newbie bowler like me getting the first over in every match. As I excelled in the following years, it was as much as a triumph for him as it was for me. I have opened bowling several times now, even so for my team in college, but it still doesnt compare with the thrill that I used to experience when Bablu tossed me the ball.
Over the years I have taken Bablu's place and tried to do for kids like Debu and Nachiket what Bablu did for me. Its such a high to see them grow into such good players.
During my engineering, holi became just another holiday. Last year when I worked with Siemens, it ceased to be even that. I spent the that holi in the office. Ofcourse we did throw a little customary colour around. Too bad our German boss took a leave that day (clever fellow), we had decided to give him a taste of Indian festivities (if you know what I mean). So we spent the day working a little and forwarding mails a lot, which is good thing, coz the next day I had my friends (who worked in Indian companies which were more considerate to their needs of soaking themselves in colour on holi) send me queries like -
"Dude? yesterday wasnt a holiday??"
To which I replied - "Nahi re, was in the office. "
"hehe, dude!! no holiday on holi-day?? hehe he"(yeah, thats the level of jokes we crack)
"No re, had to work.. Have to finish this project before the German boss leaves for home. If I dont the assembly line in Berlin will have serious problems. Thousands of euros down the drain I tell you."
He was in deep awe. He must have thought that I was the VP (Assembly lines) Siemens AG. Here, it should be noted that he was an IT guy and for him assembly lines was pretty much the lines we stood in before the morning prayer back in school.
But I did hear him telling my other friends - "Abbe! Arshat kaam karta hai bey!!"(his eyes and the eyes of the one hearing this statement as big as saucers)
Last confession - I will be celebrating this holi with my cousins, it gonna be fun. I know for a fact that Aroop's favourite isnt MJ any more. So I wont get any - "Abbe Michael Jackson nahi malum? kya dance karta hai bey woh..". He might ask me questions on Metallica though- showoff I tell you :P
My dad is abroad so he wont be joining us. But I would be cool even if he was there. Coz now whatever happens, I wont splash myself with balloons to look the part...
Happy Holi everyone.
My 2007 holi post here
Of Holi and that confession thingy
Editor in chief arshat chaudharyCurrent Issues: aroop, arshat, holi, india, michael jackson, SIEMENS