Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Ritu is finally out of the aftermath of her second Chemo which took place last Thursday.This is the worst part of the Treatment and lasts about a week roughly.Thank You my very dear Friends for praying for us---no words can ever be enough to express my gratitude to you all!!Today is Holi--the Festival of Colours but things are surprisingly low key this year.It is almost 9 a.m.--but the merry making hordes are yet to hit the roads--celebrating with their usual wild frenzy!!
I grew up in the North of India--and have seen the good and the bad side of the Revelry since early childhood.The good side is the Spontaneity and Joyousness that the Festival represents--the passing of Winter and coming of Spring--the bad side is too ugly to comment upon!!!Also as it is the last Festival of the Hindu year and is celebrated with lots of gusto.
My childhood was spent playing Holi with a lot of wild abandon--forming a large crowd of Friends and going house to house throwing colour on people and dragging them to join our gangs!!Each house had some Specials for Holi cooked in huge quantities.Stuff like piping hot Savouries--Kachories and Samosas--cold favourites like delicious Dahi Bhalley and Papdi Chaat with the sticky sweet Gujhiyaas stuffed with Khoya and Dry Fruits and the mouthwatering hot sweet Gulab Jamuns dripping sticky Sugar Syrup!!There would be Tin "Pichkaaries" filled with coloured Water used to spray each other liberally--and in some homes even huge Tubs filled to the brim with Coloured Water--just for throwing people in!!The Revelry would end by early evening and then we'd bathe ourselves--coming out after our baths like chechered boards--coloured mostly Red,Green,Purple,Shocking Pink or Yellow--for those colours would stain our skins for almost a week later!!Holi in Maharashtra has definitely more religious overtones.Sweets are cooked and offered to the Dieties and Holi is celebrated very sedately--without the roisterous revelry of the North!!However today all that has changed completely.Today children and adults all over most of India celebrate the Festival with lots of Gusto and Enthusiasm--and though I do not play anymore it is still infectiously entertaining to watch them enjoying themselves--Happiness and Joie de Vivre are contagious!!
After we shifted here on 23rd. May 1975, our daughters began playing Holi with their friends in the Compound.That was when I began to understand my mother's reluctance for the Festival.Being a stickler for tradition,she'd wake up early in the morning, bathe and wash her hair before entering the Kitchen to start making the Maharashtrian "Puran Poli" a pastry stuffed with sweetened Chick Pea stuffing.The Flour needs a lot of skill to knead into the thin elasticity needed to stretch over the Chick Pea stuffing making which too requires patience and perfection.Mummy's light as Air Puran Polies were something everyone looked forward to each year.Daddy would be in his element--being a people person he loved having his friends around him and entertaining them meant Mummy also cooking a huge Lunch for the large number of People who congregated in our home that day.
Luckily in our home here I got away with a few Snacks--some home made some Store bought for the children who enjoyed the Festival.It is very nice to see all those young children turning into responsible parents and stepping into our shoes today and so the Festival reassuringly carries on--from one Generation to the Next--as a huge circle commemorating the Celebration of Life!!