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Holi hai; bubbly, wacky Holi hai!

Indians here are only too happy to herald the spring season with this festival of infinite colours and prospects, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 14:11 IST
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya

Holi has always been a vibrant part of our cultural montage. Like elsewhere, Indians here are only too happy to herald the spring season with this festival of infinite colours and prospects.

As if in agreement, the weather seems to be veering towards warmer hues and in Atlanta, people have begun to discard their winter sheaths for lighter, brighter apparel.

Traditionally, this Hindu festival has been an amalgam of verdant, sprightly colours and sweets that douses the senses with sheer playfulness. Gradually, it has become a national, pan-Indian reason to come together and celebrate with anything from typical gujiyas and bhang to well…Bacardi.

Atlanta's desi Holi celebration encapsulates this spirit in that it offers a wide array of Holi parties and events to choose from beginning on one end of the spectrum, with the age-old tradition of gulal, holika and dhuleti to zany, off-centre shindigs as 'bubblicious' parties!

Yes, NRIs here are just as enthusiastic about the onset of the month of Phalguna, the lunar month in which the festival is celebrated. While they may not take a day off like their counterparts in India, they make a go of it on the weekends preceding and following Holi.

A Holi - Fuldolotsav is being celebrated by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) on Sunday, March 12, 2006. BAPS, a socio-spiritual organization rooted in the Vedas is active in several cultural fields, including tribal and spiritual care, medical and educational facilitation, environmental and social fields and for its work in women and children's development.

It is known for the cultural monument Akshardham (Gandhinagar, India) and the Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir (Neasden, London). Located at Clarkston, GA the Mandir will hold traditional pooja and Holi celebrations and is open to all.

Similarly Holi celebrations at the Shiv Mandir of Atlanta are likely to brim over with traditional prototypes including formal aartis preceding the festival. On Mar 14 2006 Atlanta's Vishwa Bhavan Mandir is organising a Holi do around chowtal singing, dancing, and playing with abrak. Following that, on
Mar 15 2006 Balagokulam is organising its regular children's programme, which includes shlokas, bhajans, Indian games, etc.

The real spin on Holi that seems to gaining popular ground here though, is the organizing of 'hatke' events- to misuse a malapropism- such as the ones Vibha-Atlanta is holding or the outrageous but fun Desi Party. Com event.

On Mar 16 2006 beginning at 6:00 pm organizers New Era, Infinite Entertainment, Sigma Beta Rho, Inc, Creative Minds and are sponsoring a Bubble Party for the young (meaning 18+) and young at heart. Partygoers are expected to jive and dive to party music in a bubble filled club ambience (hence the name 'Bubb Licious) at the Masquerade in metro Atlanta. With admission rates as low as $10 per entry and an event repertoire consisting of drink specials and hip-roaring music, this one promises to be one jolt from the jogger for purists.

Vibha's Mar 17 Khel - Mela 2006 is likely to be a fun sports event where patrons are expected to display their gaming in-the-zones at an indoor sports festival. Over the weekend, games such as ping-pong, chess and the carom-board will be thrown open to most age groups. Since the organisation plans to send all proceeds towards grass-root causes for underprivileged children in India, sports enthusiasts can actually be a part of a truly sporting and sporty cause.

Forever now, Holi has been representative of the arrival of spring season, the rebirth of resplendent Mother Nature, if you will. Bonfires lit a day prior symbolize the annihilation of the Demon Holika. Heralding hope, the festival is seen as a community celebration that banishes evil and brandishes colours of harmony and joy.

While Lord Krishna's Vraj near modern day Mathura may be the epicentre of a riot of colours, centrifugal ripples of unmasked gaiety have spread beyond Mathura, beyond India to an India without borders- and so, rang de basanti here is both bubblicious and delicious.

First Published: Mar 18, 2006 12:52 IST