I live in a country that is home to 1.37 billion people and well-above 20 festivals per year. Trust me, we cannot imagine life without festivals. So naturally every time a festival walks through the door, we get together and welcome it with open arms. No matter how different the rituals are, one thing remains common – togetherness. These festivals have a sneaky way of bringing families together. No matter where you are, come those special dates and you would feel an overpowering longing for home, for togetherness. I think a family that celebrates together, stays together.
On one such special occasion, 50 people from different walks of life gathered at our house to celebrate the joy of togetherness that is Holi.
Holi marks the beginning of spring, no matter how little we have of that in India. Holi brings with it the exuberance of spring, the smell of flowers blooming, bursts of laughter and a myriad of colours. Holi resonates with everything we stand for – chaos, colour and celebration. So, we opened the doors to our home for the merrymaking. And we did what we do best – celebrate!
The terrace of my in-law’s house is the home ground for Geetayan’s (the singing academy that Maa attends) Basanta Utsab (spring festival) which is usually celebrated a day or two prior to Holi. It’s an evening get-together of the students of the academy along with their family and friends. Basanta Utsab is an open stage for music, dance, poems and hearty conversations. Everyone is welcome here. All you need to do is pull up a chair.
A part of the terrace had been cleared off the flower pots and tubs, cleaned and spread rugs over. The rug area worked as an extension of the stage and also doubled up as a secondary seating area – our homely mosh pit you may say. The primary seating area constituted a line of chairs which were placed along the sides of the rug. The stage section was decorated with flower vases and had a high area for the instruments.
We decked up the house for the festivities with lights, colour and laughter. Maa played hostess for the evening and welcomed the participants on stage one by one. She called me on stage and introduced me to the guests who, I noticed, wore a unanimous yellow. And I stood out in bottle green – which was also the colour on my cheeks for the evening.
It’s a tradition to smear colours on each other on Holi and it’s also a way of welcoming the guests and each other in our lives. It signifies our wishes for the well-being and happiness for everyone around us.
Say, what is life without a little colour, especially the ones that you have to rub your skin raw to take off?
Here’s a little something for you to take away: