WoW – Write on Wednesdays #4

Hello beautiful people!! December is just such an awesome month, I think! So, today’s writing prompt is to write a story revolving around a holiday or about a holiday or anything with the mention of a holiday😊 If you are interested in receiving a Write on Wednesday prompt too, you can check out Julie’s writing site here. And it’s free!!

So, here is my short story for today’s prompt, based on true events😉

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

I was really nervous. All the poori and alu sabzi that I had hogged for breakfast threatened to either come out from the top or the bottom of my body. Don’t get me wrong, I love all festivals just for the food I get to eat. The sweets and the savouries that mom and the other aunties make. But once the food part is over, this particular festival gives me a stomach ache, headache, heartache – anything that I can make up, to get out of celebrating it.

It is the month of March. In India, this is the time spring is officially supposed to start. The cold winters give way to colorful flowers and budding green leaves. The temperature is just about perfect- not too cold, not too hot. We are a big country with a multitude of mini cultures and religions living and celebrating their festivals together. But if you look closely, more or less, every festival celebrates the same thing, but probably in slightly different manner. The one that I dread, and am talking about, is called Holi- the festival of colours. It marks the arrival of spring. It marks the defeat of good over evil. It marks the importance of faith. I’m good with all the philosophical aspects of this festival, and simply love the culinary bits. But the actual celebration with the colours- is what makes my knees go weak out of fear.

So, here’s the thing. You are supposed to ‘play’ with colours – both dry powder and wet/water colours and celebrate. Which basically also meant, jumping on unsuspecting people or weaklings like me and pasting them with colour – Everywhere! And I mean, everywhere- eyes, nose, hair, mouth, clothes.. ughhhh! And if you run out of colours, you can also resort to using anything gross you can get your hands on- eggs, mud, jump-in-muddy-puddles, paint, oil, milk, you get the picture. It’s great fun for toddlers, only they aren’t allowed to play because it’s could result in an infection maybe, but horrendous for 12 year olds like me.

Coming back to present day, we were clothed in our old clothes that could be destroyed and disposed off after all the ‘colouring’ and ready to leave the house. My sister and I had our water guns, a few packets of colour powder in yellow, green, red and blue colours and a bucket filled with coloured water to fill up our water guns with. My sister was ready to go- she loves this festival. I on the other hand, was trying to think of an excuse to back out. “I could use this time to finish my homework papa”, I tried. “No. Studies in study time. Play in play time.”, my military dad said in his military voice. Ok that backfired. I followed him meekly outside, with my color gun and the powder colors.

“Hey Deepak! Happy Holiiiii!!” cheered a group of uncles and aunties, after they smothered us all with colors, and dragged my father away. My little sister found her little gang and ran away with them to throw water balloons at unsuspecting people. I didn’t have a lot of friends, courtesy of spending too much time watching X-Files and reading Anne of Green Gables and doing my homework. I lived in the society, so there were many kids my age, but I was the nerd, not the popular kid. And my best friend from school lived somewhere else. I knew the other kids here, but didn’t really know them. I stood alone in the playground and looked around. I didn’t see anyone else and thought, maybe this was a good time to make my escape and go back home.

When suddenly, a group of kids, around my age, shouted, “look! we found a clean one!! woo hoo!! Happy Holi clean person!! Time to get all colored up now!” I looked at them with fear and started running. Big mistake. This made them run after me with water balloons. Splat! One balloon hit me on my leg..that hurt. Why do people make water balloons again? I tried to run faster, but my chappals broke, and the next second the kids were on me, shoving color everywhere. I was so afraid. I said, “Stop! please stop!”, but it was Holi, and apparently it is everyone’s right to put color on you, if you are outside. In just a few seconds, I was covered in color from head to toe and the kids had run away to find their next victim, ahem, clean person, I mean.

I had color in my nose, in my eyes and inside my mouth. It tasted yuck and I wanted to gag. Instead, I started crying. I really hated this festival. I wished I never had to celebrate this. Just then, I saw my dad, and ran to him, thinking, maybe he will see my trauma and let me go home to clean up and curl up with my books. Instead, he said, “Why are you crying? Crying is for babies! For God’s sakes, Prachi, act like a grown up and like a defence officer’s daughter. This is just color! Now go and play with the other kids!”, he boomed at me. His favorite dialogue for every time I cried or looked afraid. I went away, trying to find a corner where I could just hide for a few more hours until lunch time.

That is when I met her. She was colored from head to toe too, but she wasn’t cowering in fear or crying like me. However, she was crouched in the dark eating some laddoos.

“Hey, Happy Holi!”, she said to me. “I’m Vishakha”.

“Hi, I’m Prachi. Sorry, look I don’t want you to put any colors on me, please”, and with that, I started crying again. Oh my gosh, this was mortifying!

“Hey, hey hey, don’t cry..are you all right? Why don’t you come and sit here, and share some of these home made laddoos with me? They cure everything!”, she said, with a smile, that revealed colored teeth.

“I can’t”, I sniffled. “My mouth tastes like powder”.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Just pretend like you have just brushed and try one”

I took one and it really did taste heavenly. Soon, I started to feel slightly better and smiled at her.

“I wish I was as brave as you. I just hate this festival, but no one in my family will let me stay at home and not come down”, I lamented.

“Hmm..well, to be honest, I’m not brave. I used to be shit scared too. Until I figured out a trick. But I’ll tell you the trick, if you promise to spend the rest of the day playing Holi with me, eating with me, dancing in the club house with me, basically hanging out with me”, she said.

“Ok, I can give it a shot”.

“Well, it is very simple. Don’t resist. Don’t run. Call people to put color on you and stand like a statue until they’re done, and then say Thank you! and Happy Holi! Now, its my turn, and then smother them with the wildest concoction of colors you have”, she said, with a gleam in her eye.

I thought she was mad. Here I was telling her, that I’m afraid of people putting colors on me, and here she was telling me, to not resist. Well, I had nothing to lose. I had seen the worst. So we both stepped out, and as soon as we saw another bunch of kids looking for people to color, Vishakha shouted, “Happy Holi!!”

The kids ran over to us, and I stood like a statue with my eyes, and mouth shut, just as she had instructed. The kids put their color, but it wasn’t bad at all this time. They were gentler, somehow, and none of the color went into my eyes or my mouth! And then it was my turn! And oh boy did I have fun putting all of my colors on the now resisting kids!!

A few hours later, I was hogging on the chicken biryani at the club house, with my new friend- Vishakha. We had played with so many kids, and I knew so many people now! We had danced like maniacs and joked about all the drunk uncles and aunties, dancing to the latest Holi songs. We had had a lot of lassi and soft drinks and ran around a lot too. I had never had so much fun , in my whole life!

I looked at her, with a huge grin, with my green colored teeth, and shouted, “I love Holi!!! This is my favorite festival ever!!!” Holi hai bhai!!! (It is Holi, brother:)) And since that day, I had never feared this festival again!

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I hope you enjoyed this recollection from my childhood. All the events happened exactly as I have written, with the exception, that it was my father, who had taught me that trick, instead of the little girl I made up 🙂 Thanks papa 🙂

Holi is an India festival, celebrated during the month of March, to mark the beginning of spring. It is played with dry and wet colors, lots of food, music, and bhaang 😉 One day, when all the adults get to be as messy as toddlers, and not give a damn! Many bollywood songs and even Coldplay’s videos have been inspired by this festival of colors 🙂

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