The moment you think of celebrating Holi, it brings a splash of colours to your mind. Be it a village, a town, or a city, Holi brings people of all faiths together. Barring a few incidents of rowdyism, the festival is vibrant and colourful.india Updated: Mar 15, 2006 02:11 IST
The moment you think of celebrating Holi, it brings a splash of colours toyour mind. Be it a village, a town, or a city, Holi brings people of all faiths together. Barring a few incidents of rowdyism, the festival is vibrant and colourful.
I remember my unit celebrating Holi when I was commanding it in Lalgarh Jattan (Rajasthan) in 1998. As I was leaving the house to join the troops at the unit, my wife warned me, “Watch your drinks.” I assured her that I would reach the finish line — back home, that is — without being carried away.
But during Holi, the Commanding Officer (CO) can only propose, for it’s the troops who dispose. So accompanied by the Risaldar Major (RM) and Regimental Police (RP) Dafadar, I went to the first squadron (a total of four squadrons had to be visited). We hugged and applied colours to one another. Each squadron has six troops. When the CO goes around, each troop wants to toast a drink to him. And the CO can’t refuse, lest the troops feel offended. So by the time I was through with the first squadron, I was already six small drinks down.
So far so good. But there were three more squadrons to go — that is, 18 more small drinks. I am not a Keshto Mukherjee. So I thought of a strategy — drink, but no bottoms up. But the whole point of drinking with the troops is to prepare oneself to dance with them. By the time I reached the second squadron, I was already high. Somewhere down the line, the squadrons were competing with each other in an effort to provide the CO Saheb the most ‘enjoyment’.
By the time I reached the third squadron, I had reached a higher plane of existence. Apart from dancing, I, CO Saheb, was cracking jokes with the boys with rounds of laughter all around. Even safaiwallas and dhobis got a chance to hug the CO in this merry state.
Then suddenly, I reminded myself of the resolve I had made to my wife. The RM gave me a knowing look. And with that midway correction, I reached the last squadron — HQ Sqn. By now, the world was rotating faster than usual.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get to giving. I realised that the best form of defence is offence. So I asked the RM to quickly get me six bottles of rum. Rather than the boys giving me drinks, I proudly offered them drinks. They were thrilled.
Bhangra ensued, which was also the signal for the RM to call for my vehicle. I wished a Happy Holi to everyone and drenched in colours and full of spirit(s), I landed safely back at my real HQ.