Posted by: Mojo Jojo | August 12, 2007

A Holi to remember

I get up from bed, my brain still groggy from sleep. Mom’s tugging at my blanket – a smile playing on her face. “There are people waiting outside for you.”
I mutter something under my breath. Waking up at seven thirty on a cool Sunday morning is not something I fancy. But then, don’t want to keep them waiting, whoever they are…
I stumble into the living room and peek through the window and horrors! There are five people outside – and their messed up faces make them look like zombies right out of Dawn of the Dead!
AARGH! I forgot: It’s HOLI today!
Beneath the thick layers of yucky colour are five friends of mine – waiting to splatter me with colour so I could join the great majority. But no, I could do without all this…
I shake my head slowly: Nahi yaar, Aaj nahin aa sakta. Tabiyat kuch theek nahin hain (No guys, can’t come out today. My health’s not all that fine).
At the head of the gang is Sushil Dubey: the biggest and strongest of the lot. And he looks angry. “Hum kya ullu lagte hain, %$#^@? Jaldi bahar aa… ya hum andar aa jaayenge! (Do we look like idiots to you, &%@$? Come out or we will have to come in).
The rest of them scream out similar threats. But I just smile.
Because ours is the toughest door in the area… nice, sturdy and certainly stronger than Sushil can ever get. They are just bluffing – it would take more than just a big bad wolf act and a huff-and-a-puff to bring my door down. Plus, my dad’s the principal of the local school – they wouldn’t dare try anything and piss him off.
Suddenly, he is there – my father. And (c**p) he … he is opening the door for them!
And as my so-called friends pounce on me and start painting me red, I hear my dad mumble something that sounds curiously like: Boy shouldn’t stay indoors on a day like this.
Anyway, that’s the magic of Holi. You get bitten by the vampires and you become one yourself. Soon, I find myself in the great outsides with the very gang that has devoured me – searching for other dry souls on the land.
We tour around the place, armed with powder and waterguns, each deadlier than the other. And all around us, there’s not a single thing that is not drenched in colour. Wow! I think, This is life! Good I crawled out of bed!
Down the road stand some figures in black. And they are stopping passersby and heaving them into a huge mudhole, painstakingly dug on the side of the road.
They have just thrown a little girl in. The child flounders in the waist-deep slush while her tormentors yell loudly: Bura Na Maano, Holi Hain! (Take it cool, it’s Holi). Tough.
But well, the question is … do we venture down that road or not? Sandeep says no, we don’t have to fight them. I agree. Don’t have much of a stomach for violence. Then we all look at Sushil – he’s the leader of the pack; he makes the decisions.
And he says Chal.Dekhte hain kya bigaad lenge woh log(C’mon, let’s see what they can do).
There are seven of them. And all of them about a foot taller than us. But now there’s no turning back.
The bad boys look at us. We look at them. And then Sushil tells them in no uncertain terms that agar rang lagaana hain to laga dopar agar keeched pe aa gaye tho maar khaaoge! (You can put colour on us if you like. But if you try to throw us in that pit, you’re going to get whacked).
The guys look at each other – and slowly give way.
We walk down the road, triumph glowing on our faces. Dinesh is the happiest of them all: “We showed those dumbasses! Yeah!”. But Sushil doesn’t say much – it was a gamble, and we had pulled it off.
We drop by the houses of other friends. Some of them are already drenched in colour, running around the place menacingly – while the others sit tight in their houses, still virgins.
We do the honours. And our army grows and grows… first twenty, then forty, until we are the most formidable force in town.
There’s a party on at BCD colony, and we join in. Bhaang is available in plenty and today is a day when the elders won’t mind us getting tipsy. Probably because they are busy getting drunk themselves. Ha!
Glass after glass of ale, and our spirits start soaring with amazing rapidity as we recount our adventures and misadventures of the day. Some speak about how they had managed to escape every waterbaloon that was thrown at them while others, in crude terms, exclaim how good it would have been if everyday was like this one.
And then, this guy joins in. You can’t see much of him because of the colour, but it just isn’t enough to hide the evil smirk on his face. “Tell you guys! Holi is the best time to do things to these babes around the place … And they can’t do anything about it because, man, Holi mein sab chalta hain! (because… during Holi, everything goes).”
And then he starts saying how he had ‘done’ stuff to one of them, who, incidentally, happened to be one of our classmates.
Sushil reaches out and a clap of thunder later (read slap) later, all is well with the world. And we don’t even want to think about it anymore.
It’s afternoon already and we are homeward bound. And boys being boys, we jump around and punch each other playfully until every unpleasant thought is out of our minds. And lots of bruises and laughs later, we reach our respective destinations.
Dad opens the door, and he simply smiles to see me tottering around from the bhang-effect. And as I make my way into the bathroom, I notice that my parents are also painted in war colours, albeit a little more discreetly. Cool, I think as I scrub myself vigorously in the bathroom, Even dad’s into Holi.
It’s evening and Sushil comes-a-calling. I step out of my house and we start out on our daily walk through the countryside.
Then I tell him what I think of people who use a fun-thing like Holi for their own perverted purposes. Sushil just smiles and says,”People like them are always going to be there. But then, that does not change the fact that Holi is beautiful – and meant to be kept that way.”
I nod. And stare at the dwindling ball of fire overhead. It will be night soon, but we have to enjoy the sunset while it lasts.


My friend, Sushi Dubey, died recently due to malaria. This post is dedicated to his memory.



  1. oh so sorry to hear that… and about ppl who pervert a fun thing for their own motives – well,it is an abomination to our society, but who can help it?

  2. hey JJ… this reminded me of the water fight we had in heber…. just like u said, we try to hide and stay away, but once you are bitten, you become one of them. I remember hiding as much a si could and finally got drenched in the indoor stage where i was cornored..and it was fun after that..and when we ran out of water, some one nut went to the kitchen and started throwing stale sambar.. haa
    those were the days

  3. so u guys were at Heber eh?? iv been there only on sunday mornings, but i can imagine…
    used to have a friend who claimed to play rock just over the chappel.. man, that, baffled me..

  4. @ AB: Yeah, Holi has its bad points too. All the baddies think that it’s one day when they can do everything they want and still get away with it. Btw, you used to come to the Heber chapel? And yeah, all of us used to play rock over it. Except for Mac – he was a real choir-boy (quite literally).
    @ Mac: Yeah man, our water fights at Heber used to be very much like this. Come to think of it, our water fights were more savage (gotta blog about them too, I guess) and fun. And somehow, Diamond was always the first to get drenched 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear abt ur buddy’s tough to realise that someone’s suddenly disappeared from ur life..

    I agree with Mac..the water fights were fun..i remember a mudfight too!! *Sigh* As for Diamond, well……

  6. Sorry to hear about your friend, Jim.

  7. sorry about your friend…it’s hard to loose them and easy to remember them…your Holi sounds like a wonderful celebration…enjoyed your post

  8. Sorry to hear about your friend… But, fond memories by friends make his journey more pleasant..


  9. yo MAC, youve gone up in my admiration…lol
    anyways, iv been going to Heber maybe once a month for the last one year.. like the mood of the service there, and well, it gets over fast.. ok, so thats wer you got to know PJ, eh? he was my senior at school, and actually i found my way to this blog through his…:) and my whole blogging changed after that.. like, i started getting lots more readers. so thanks buddy!

  10. Stopped by after long! its great to have you back.. and about your friend, hes right!

  11. […] year ago, when a childhood friend of mine died, I remember thinking hard about death and how she would one day claim me for her own. But I have […]

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