Swagat Raj Pandey

Firstly, I am allergic to the aabirs and other dyes, and secondly I am not supposed to stay drenched long enough for medical reasons. As a result, I am forced to stay away from relishing the fun associated with playing Holi in person. This was the tenth year in a row that I have abstained from playing the festival of colour. However, I enjoy observing others playing it.

Observing the new trends of the celebration, I recollect memories of the past decade when I used to play this festival. As a teenager those times were one of the best. The passion for lolas topped it all. It never used to be a one-day Holi. The preparations began before the big day was a month away and the balloons started flying almost at the same time. Waiting for the passers-by, especially the schoolgirls, and hitting them with lolas was what we all enjoyed to the hilt. It was always nice on the day of Holi.

But nowadays the trends have almost changed. As I observed most of the people playing Holi, I was familiar with many aspects of it. Such as my neighbour’s newly painted wall getting an unwelcome splash of enamel. And with it were patches of grease and paint on the wall. No wonder Adhikariji boiled with rage over the boys whose stray lola did all the mischief.

The new trend has made quite an impact. Children have found a way to play pretending to be cops and Maoists. Their pitchkaris are their machine guns and lolas the hand grenades. The roads have become their battlefields and they seem to have quite nicely acquired the techniques of lola-ambush. It is developed into a guerilla affair outright!

It was quite a scene to see families at the rooftops throwing water-filled balloons at the unsuspecting passers-by and relishing the victims agony at being drenched. Nothing seemed to go wrong until another the said Timilsinaji’s house in the afternoon and shattered the window pane of his living room. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

The glitzy faces and the glittery hairs were quite an attraction too. The guys were creative in making elaborate designs on their faces and some, even on their bodies. Some were so nice that they looked more handsome in their new faces. At the same time, Holi has became another excuse for hooligans to get drunk.

But apart from all those who played Holi, there were scores of people who enjoyed observing it. No matter what, it is always nice to enjoy our festivals, preserve them and celebrate them with all the enthusiasm and hope that peace prevails in our country.