Yesterday, it was Holi here in India. Holi is a festival of colors and is celebrated with great pomp and show in Northern India. Since childhood I have been a fan of Holi because of the vibrancy it creates and the colors it spreads.
After my marriage to an Indian government officer, I moved to a remote island in southern India, where Holi is one of the least celebrated festivals. To add to that, my dear husband is so against the very concept of ‘celebrating’ festivals.
Around 15 years ago, when my husband was about 10 years old, he lost his dad. Then, 4 years later he lost his mom too. Since that tender age of 14, my husband never got the opportunity to understand what a ‘celebration’ or ‘festival’ means. His life just taught him that every day is a new beginning.
I am very well aware of how he thinks and feels about some special days like anniversaries, birthdays, festivals etc. I also understand that for a person like him, it is very difficult to treat some days differently when every single day of life brings a new challenge.
I was okay with this and never forced him into celebrating any festival even though I LOVE Indian festivals. This went fine for a couple years of our marriage. With him, I learnt to celebrate silently while thanking God for the good things I have. With time, I also changed my definition of celebrations. But then something changed in me this year. I realized that my young baby is now going to be three and this is her third Holi!
I realized that if I don’t play with colors with her on Holi, she would never learn what Holi actually stands for. In a way, I had to make a choice — to teach her to silently let days pass by without those heightened graphs of excitement, colors, people, sweets and music or to teach her that her mother land is full of such amazing festivals that not only bring joy to family, but also give us an opportunity to rejoice even if we have no reason to do so.
My choice was made. I chose the latter.
This year, I decided to celebrate Holi, my way, the way it is usually done. I got her a pichkari and some natural colors. I also made some mithais and without pushing her dad, I actually caught hold of the gang of the helpers at my home and got on with it. We applied colors on each others’ face and then gave a bucket of water (colored water) to my baby to play with.
Seeing us all giggling and bubbling, her dad joined and we all had a great Holi. My first Holi after marriage, I should say.