It’s a festival that involves colour, water and general merriment. And to top that, in India, it has an all-permitting tagline that says ‘bura na mano, Holi hai’ (don’t take offence, it’s Holi). Put Holi and that anything-goes tagline together, and there’s bound to be trouble. Nonetheless, Mumbai is busy preparing. After all, it is that one day of the year when all boundaries fade and celebration is all that is on everyone’s mind. Delicacies are being cooked. Get-togethers are being planned. Mud pits are being dug up. Relationships with friends who have gardens and running water, the most-wanted commodities in this city and state, currently, are being rekindled. Sangria recipes are being tried and tested.
Beer is being stocked for that roving gang of strangers that’ll eventually come to your house if you’re the one with the garden. Thandai is also being arranged, of course. Veterans say the secret of sourcing great thandai lies in buying it from the places that make it the freshest. In pursuit, last year, I was directed to an eatery at Linking Road in Bandra. I was told to ask for a bottle of thandai discreetly. “Smile” was the invaluable tip. The sardarji owner responded positively and assured me his thandai was the best money could buy. The sales pitch that followed, sealed the deal.
He had three flavours, Master Blaster, UPA government and Rahul Dravid. “Dry fruits se strength badhti hai, yeh sab strong parties hai ji,” he said. Correct. I went for the Master Blaster, obviously. And the thandai was great; very strong party. The best part about Holi is that if you don’t look like a troublemaker, you’ll find yourself a celebration to be part of. Last year, a few friends and I happened to find ourselves at a certain Bollywood director’s party in Andheri. The music on the playlist comprised Amitabh Bachchan classics mostly. Some women in chiffon saris in the fake rain were doing their thing. It was interesting. Unlike the rest of the year, when you usually even avoid eye contact with your neighbour in the elevator, this one day, you tend to go all out. Maybe it’s the comfort of anonymity, hiding under the colour, or maybe it’s just the freshness of the thandai taking over. It’s great, however you look at it. Wish you a Holi good time.