Holi Hai….


It’s that time of the year again when women in Delhi get extra vigilant while walking….to anywhere! It doesn’t matter where you are going; to office, to college, mugging-walking to the board exams, to buy vegetables, to the grocer’s…..because even as you go about your business, something hard lands on the posterior with a ‘thwack’ and before you realize it, you can feel the cool water sliding down your back, creating a dark wet patch on your clothes. Handiwork of the schoolboys, teenagers on bikes, even grown men lurking in the shadows, they wait for unsuspecting females, not unlike the leopard as it waits for its prey, before pelting them with water balloons. That your clothes get spoilt as does your mood, is but a small casualty in the larger scheme of the festivities. After all, Bura na Mano, Holi Hai?!!
A few springs ago, I was unfortunate to be taken as the target. The brat in question was one of the numerous colony kids whose existence you come to know of only during Holi. I was going for my classes minding my own business. It was one of those hot afternoons, when everyone stays at home. Suddenly, I felt a slap on my back and before I could collect my wits, the urchin ran away even as I started to feel the uncomfortable wet patch on my back. Cursing the festival and the kid and the kid’s parents, I walked to my destination, looking in all directions, scrutinizing every shadow.
Looking back in retrospect, I’m glad it was just water and not something else like colours or even eggs. So am I to just gnash my teeth and curtail my movements before the dreaded festival? Before someone jumps to conclusions, let me clarify that I am not averse to having colours smeared on myself. However, what I am averse to is at holi being made an excuse to misbehave. And specially when strangers take it into their heads that a little holi fun with the girl walking around the corner, never harmed anyone. What gets my goat is when parents indulgently look at their ‘raja betas’ having some innocent fun with hapless passersby.
At this rate, I am sure I will be holding candlenight vigil with kindred spirits soon. Wotsay?

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