The days, even weeks, leading up to the Holi festival, were filled with chatter about plans for the day and how to properly celebrate. Water guns, organic bags of color, and of course, “milkshakes,” were all topics of discussion.
My main concern, however, was, “What do I wear?”
Being a chronic Googler, I turned to the Internet. Apparently everyone wears either something white or something old. The bags of color can stain your clothing, and unless you bathe in a sea of coconut oil, you will likely stain your skin as well.
I chose an old pair of cutoff shorts (that I actually bought thrifting,) a light orange crop top, and a pair of fabric sandals that are now destroyed. Oh, well.
What I realized is that people don’t like to follow the status quo. As I walked the (relatively deserted) streets and danced away at a couple celebrations in Bandra, I saw people wearing, well, whatever they wanted. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t even pay attention to people’s clothing.
Instead, this weird and wonderful feeling overwhelmed me. I can’t quite place it. As I looked around I was surrounded by new friends, strangers, and a tizzy of vivid, jewel-toned colors. There were sprinklers drizzling from overhead, water guns shamelessly blasting innocent passersby, and drummers ambling through the crowd, providing the backdrop to the celebration of good versus evil.
We were all so different, but yet, equal. No matter your gender, ethnicity, age, or hair color, you were certainly splattered in shades of yellow, green, pink, and purple (which still plasters my forehead and cheek.) Even here in India, where the caste system is unspoken but still very much apparent, the colors took center stage, shading the disparity and eliminating status.
Total cheese ball alert, but I remember stopping and thinking to myself, “I want to remember this moment forever.” When I hear in the news about the terrorist attacks in Brussels, or Paris; when I see a homeless child on the street begging for money; when I see another dispute in the fight for “Black Lives Matter”; and especially, when I feel hopeless for my country USA in regard to a certain presidential candidate and all of the nasty generalizations he has made about those of different religions, genders, and cultures. In those moments, I want to be reminded of the way I felt during Holi!
Carefree, yet aware. Transparent, but vivid. Peaceful and alive.
A little dirty, but I can turn a blind eye to that.