Knock! Knock! Knock! The door knocked for the tenth time. My sister was outside, impatiently calling me out. It was a March morning. The weather was pleasant, with the winters finally over and spring just around the corner. Spring! Spring brought so much along with it. Colours, vibrancy, and loads of enthusiasm after all those frigid gray winters months. The trees start sprouting the greens again, and the blooms of those flowers ( especially, in my mother’s garden )...ah, they changed the entire look of the planet. Oh.. How I loved splendid spring, yet, dreaded it so too ~ only for one reason.
I could hear my sister pounding at the door again, and I sat still under my study-desk, as still as I could. I barely breathed, fearing, she’ll know I was in there. Oh..she knew it already as I had latched the door from inside. The knocking grew loud and more rapid. ‘ND, if you are not coming in the next 5 seconds itself, I’m off. I don’t want to miss the fun. The entire para ( local community ) is waiting for us,’ she hollered from outside.

Good for me, I thought. I simply would not come out. I had no interest meeting the community, certainly not that day. For that day was Holi. The only day of the year ( of spring ), when I turned into a frightened mouse, and hid under my desk, fearing the world outside. It wasn’t always like this, though. There was a time, I did go out to play colours with my sister and friends, and had a blast. But one particular Holi day changed all that. I still remember, how myself along with my little group of girl-friends would go around spraying colours at everyone who crossed our paths in our locality, on Holi. We didn’t play hardcore, or with water ( I strictly avoided wet-Holi ). We just would simply have fun sprinkling dry colours on each other and everyone, or put tilaks on the foreheads. It was cute and innocent.

One particular spring day, we had gone to one of my sister’s friend’s house. While we waited outside for them to come out, we could suddenly hear several people approaching from outside the compound. And, before we knew it, some had entered through the gates, and some climbed the walls stealthily. They were the locality boys. They had stalked us and found us there. Pretty soon, they had surrounded all of us girls and we had no place to hide. We were trapped. They carried mud and cow-dung with them ~ It was their kinda Holi! So fearful we bunch of girls were that we started running helter-skelter. And they started chasing. But, being more in numbers, and certainly being far more stronger than all of us, they over-powered us easily and were soon dumping all the mud and cow-dung on us. I returned home that day with heaps of cow-dung and mud plastered all over my face and dress, and oh..my hair ~ it smelt yuck for days afterwards! That day, I had sworn I'd never venture out on a Holi day ever, come what may. And no matter how much my door got pounded, I never opened it. So, that was how my childhood Holi was :|

Many years later, and having settled in a different place now, my vow has however slowly changed over the years. While for a long time, I was still shit-scared to come out on Holi; the few days that I did come weren't all that bad. People, I guess, have now have somewhat realized that playing with mud and cow-dung is certainly not fun anymore, and neither is with toxic colours. While there are still a few people who do go over-the-top with their celebrations, I can atleast say its not that scary anymore for me, as it was once. And continuing with my strictly no water-holi policy, it does end up being a fun day with colours, sweets, music and fun afterall. So #KhulKeKheloHoli ( and don't forget to oil your hair before you go out - it really protects ). Do share your childhood 'holi' experiences too!
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