Back in the overwhelmingly non-vegetarian society, eggs were a sticky favourite during Holi. This time around, I believe they exercised a little restraint in cracking those shells on an unsuspecting reveller’s head, owing to the avian influenza scare. No one minded the eggs though, because eggs make for a good conditioner. The powdered blue (used for whitening the whites – rather making them patchy blue) mixed with mustard oil was another preferent. But the silver paint, grease and other unwashable substances are always the most unwelcome.
Post-Holi baths have traditionally been long drawn affairs. Kerosene, mustard oil, lime, lots of soap and litres and litres of warm water, were all put into the service of skin unstaining. This year due to limiting the exchange of colours exclusively to gulal, the bath was neither long nor agonising.
As kids, we used to derive sadistic pleasure on seeing the remnants of our Holi inflicted colours on others visible even a week after. If the festivities are limited to the non-toxic way, what a wonderful festival this is – minus the eve-teasing part. This festival is about enjoyment and mild flirtations, but the excuse, bura na mano, Holi hain (don’t mind, it’s holi) is indeed inexcusable. Colours, colours and more colours and then pour some water. The entire nation goes red, yellow, green and pink.
Fun it is, only if the cleaning is also as enjoyable as the application. Going for an assignment with green ears and magenta nails the next day isn’t what I look forward to.