Sunday, March 7, 2010


This one's with thanks to Mandakini, who revived the joy of holi for me

As a child, Kali Puja (Diwali in North India) and Holi were my favorite festivals. The former was a festival of fire, of which i have always been a little scared, especially after the one kali puja my brother set me on fire/ a mistake he said/ as all the aunts and uncles pitched into him, but me, i wasn't so sure:)

The latter was a festival of colour, holi, to which there seemed to be no apparent downside at all.

I remember hiding under the bed when people come to visit with colour, getting dragged out giggling wildly, and being dunked mercilessly in buckets of coloured water/ this being the memory, i could not have been more than seven or eight years old, i don't think you can dunk a person older than that in a bucket, however large.

The colours in the sunshine struck me as extraordinarily beautiful, and more importantly, sort of wild and uncontrolled. i've always hated colouring within the lines, and reserve the deepest contempt for the sort of person who says things like,' there's too much bright yellow in that picture'. This has also, very often, turned out to be the sort of person who then asks you to use yellow ochre instead, or, lord forbid, brown (not that i have a problem with brown, but everything in its own place you know)

Theres no ochre in holi, and no sienna either. Just RED. and YELLOW, and PINK and orange, and GREEN (dark and light, but both startlingly bright)and / joy oh joy/ PURPLE. I don't know what godawful chemicals they're using in these things, and honestly, here's an area in which i don't care. All i know is that the organic pinks are just not as PINK -- if you get what i mean, and the organic greens don't light up quite the same way in the sun. And that organic colour slides off your skin and hair in the shower (whats the point of playing if you don't get a different colour of foam every repeated time you shampoo, as the various layers of colour get washed off???)
I proudly state that i once had to use detergent to get colour off my hair. It was horrible for my hair of course, but a couple of days of oiling made the detergent memory disappear.

Oh and theres the intoxication aspect

Bhaang. I have just learnt how, so heres the recipe:

Bhaang leaves (from sweet and very obliging maid)
Shondesh (preferably knachagolla)
Condensed milk
almonds (roasted and crushed)
Thandai Powder
Rudder (not added to mix, just essential to create it/ so possibly the most indispensable ingredient)

You put the ingredients on a clean workspace, plug in the mixie, and invite Rudder into the kitchen, and VOILA!!! the most magnificent tasting (and efficacious) bhaang emerges...

Then you go downstairs with all the people you want to use as canvases, and regress approximately twenty years. About an hour of regression, yelling, targeting non-coloured spots and general mayhem, and this is what you get:

I rest my case.


Sujoy said...

I think you should have talked a bit about R.Palayam

Sujoy said...

Great post :-)

Sue said...


Well done, Rudder, in that case. We had some excellent bhaang ourselves, this year. Turns out Vicky'd never had any before, so he belted it back like a pro and then went all quiet and zonked out for the next 24 hours. Hilarious.

RBC said...

I now have to go and take a poxy class. I shall giggle inside, though.

Madhura said...

Sujoyda looks sad and sleepy.