The Holika bonfires were still burning on the morning of my first Holi, our neighbours had decided to cook their breakfast on the fading embers (resourceful!). Nagpur had Holi fever.
I stood at my bedroom window as packs of guys, bright pink and green from head to toe, on motorbikes prowled the streets with water pistols. Everyone I saw from the window had colour on them; the uncles on their morning walks had pink hair, the children running around with water pistols had crimson faces and wifes perching on the back of motorbikes (wearing sarees) were covered in all sorts of colours. It was beautiful but I avoided it at all costs!
Maybe I am boring? I really did not fancy being soaked and stained with colour… maybe next year. I definitely enjoyed watching from afar! We went to Dominoes for lunch ( the only shop open- I guess shops would need to redecorate if they open their doors on Holi), we were the only ones in the whole restaurant who had not been Holified, even the staff had pink faces and hands from their pre-work celebrations. I was actually surprised the pizza wasn’t served pink!!
It took several days for me to stop noticing the post-Holi stains on people and slowly the explosions of colour on the streets faded away.
So, why do people throw colours each other? Holi celebrates the divine love between Radha and Lord Krishna. As a child, Lord Krishna wondered why his complexion was dark while Radha was so fair. His mother told him that complexion doesn’t matter and suggested, joking, he should paint Radha’s face any colour he chooses if it would make him happy. Lord Krishna thought this was a great idea, he smeared Radha’s face with beautiful colours and colourful festival of Holi was born. This festival is still as mischievous as Lord Krishna, people also cover their loved one with bright colors and play pranks.
I have never seen anything like it!!