There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who love Holi with all their heart, and those who hate Holi with all possible organs in their body. Holi lovers are the descendants of the hooligan race that originated in medieval Asia in the first half of the Godforsaken century. Holi haters perceive themselves to be from the civilized civilization, and can pronounce ewwww quite effectively. Somewhere between these two kinds of extremists lie those who have no strong feelings of love or hate for the festival, but are particular about playing it only with dry colors, so as to save water. Each of these people is said to use at least five litres of water on an average, to wash out the dry colours from their face. Holi is, therefore, a peculiar and weird festival. And you can’t keep weird and Chaddha ji away from each other for long. Since I earn almost my entire livelihood by making fun of Chaddha ji each week, I decided to repay it by letting him be the expert on this week’s column. The topic I gave him was ‘what annoys you the most about Holi.’ I also gave him a sheet of paper to scribble his thoughts on. He wrote Mrs Chaddha’s full name on the paper, both sides, in capital letters. And handed it back to me with a pained look that mirrored the depth of his grief – on Holi and all other days of the year. Chaddha ji’s sense of annoyance doesn’t go beyond the tragedy that the presence of a spouse brings to life. But mine sure does, especially when it comes to Holi. And my irritation is not borne out of being a Holi lover or hater (if I had to, I’d confess to being the former). It arises out of seeing supremely exaggerated and mind-bogglingly frustrating behaviour of some people that is on display when the festival of colours strikes us. Let me tell you about the worst kind of culprits, in my Holi dictionary.
1) You-don’t-like-it, so-I’ll-drag-you-into-playing People: These human beings come with an agenda. They have devoted their life to the cause of forcing someone to do what he doesn’t want to. The louder you tell them that you don’t want to play with water or colours, the more cosmic force descends into them with which they’ll pull you into it. The primary weapon in their arsenal is a phrase - ‘bura na mano holi hai’, which roughly translates to ‘we give a rat’s ass to how you feel’, and originated in 16th century in the moronic era. The best way to deal with such people is to suddenly start dancing with lunatic proportions of joy in your limb movements, thus giving them the impression that you are more involved in the celebrations than they are. For effect, you may need to dab of bit of colour on your face yourself. The moment they see you celebrating, their attention shifts to some other hapless creature trying to hide a clean self. Not for long.
2) I-hate-Holi-but-I’ll-still-come-to-the-party People: Why, my love? Why roam around announcing that you hate Holi so much? Chup chaap side ho jao. But no, such people would lurk around, shriek like a Gecko on heat each time a Holi lover approaches, and run all over with their hands covering their cheeks. Favourite phrase? ‘Mujhe allergy hai’. Okay, too bad you haven’t found a dermat yet. How about going indoors and looking for one on the net? Last heard, gulaal allergy can cause severe cerebral disorders. If you have spent more than ten Holis shrieking around the house, I’m almost certain you’ve caught the bug.
3) We-are-innovative-beyond-colours People: They learned out-of-the-box thinking before the box was invented. Such creative minds can’t, and shouldn’t be curbed. So what if all they could come up was grease, mud, beer and eggs. Beer and eggs both are excellent conditioners for hair. Grease has kept the nation from unnecessary friction among people. And mud?..well…mere desh ki mitti sona ugle etc. So what if such people, and their alternatives to Holi colours, gross the daylights out of you. Unhone toh creativity lagayi nah? We have no respect for innovation in this Country, I tell you. And what of the sheer passion with which they try to rub things all over your face. At least give them points for manual labour.
4) We-only-play-with-organic-colours People: And I only have steamed broccoli and asparagus for breakfast. Only those which grow within 2kms of my house, with no chemicals, no fertilizers, and no taste. But how does my breakfast figure? Oh yeah, organic colours. Those which get sold in plastic pouches that come with ‘safe for environment, and your skin’ stamped on them. They smell like broccoli and asparagus. Because, you know, fragrance is synthetic. These colours cause no harm and allergy to the skin, or the soul. And people who insist on only using them or natural flower extracts as Holi colours also hear Sitaar in the background when they softly apply them on your skin. I swear.
5) We-won’t-play-Holi-with-humans People: Don’t tell me you are still playing with actual people? It’s so done to death. The real fun is to throw a balloon with pakka colour on the neighbour’s parked car. Or to splash water on a helpless stray animal. Ek toh we are giving him a free bath, why will he mind? And you know what, it’s so not interesting to triple-ride on the bike without helmets after a few shots of bhaang, if you end up playing with real people. Duh. We’ve got to rehearse for life beyond the world of human beings. We’re kinda headed there, anyway. Tum bas bura nah maano. Okay?
Sonal Kalra plays Holi wearing a water-proof, grease-proof, colour-proof and common sense-proof space suit. You? Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/sonalkalraofficial. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra