No school, no homework as it was a Holi-day. I was in Class I then. After breakfast my sister Ashesworee Dijju, or AAchhu as I call her, asked me to accompany her to buy some colours. I was happy thinking she was going to give me colour pencils.

On the way my sister was hit by a water balloon. I was shocked. At the shop she selected red and yellow powders and some packets of balloons. I asked her why she was not buying colour pencils for me. She said colours don’t only mean colour pencils, but also powders. She said that as it was Holi, we would be playing with colours, water and balloons.

I asked her why we didn’t play with colours every Saturday, which is a holiday.

She then explained the difference between holiday and Holi-day.

When we reached home, our cousins and her friends were already there. All of them started preparing things to play. Some were putting colours in plate, some filling balloons et cetera. My sister then told me to fill a bucket with water. Her friend took the bucket of water and poured it over my sister.

Hearing my sister’s shriek, I got angry with her friend, and wanted to teach the girl a lesson. However, as I was small I could do nothing but cry and yell for help. But in a flash, Aachhu hit that girl with water balloons. Everybody started playing with the coloured water. Slowly I understood the game and started enjoying myself.

I enjoyed throwing the balloons. Everybody screamed, shouted and laughed. My cousin fell down and tore her pants. We all laughed.

Our mother then called us in as it was already 4:00pm. I couldn’t believe it — I thought we had only just started playing. That was the first time I took a bath by myself. Then my mother served delicious food. We ate on the terrace and watched others play with colours late into the evening.

After everyone had left, my sister asked me whether I now understood the difference between Holi-day and holiday. Of course, I did.

That was my most memorable Holi as Aachhu left for the United States when I was in Class II. I will miss her this Holi.