holi isn't what it used to be. i don't remember celebrating holi in liberia, though mama tells me that we did play once or twice at one aunt's house, on her terrace.
but i do remember all (well few) of my holis in bombay (aka mumbai).
4th: with azu and niki and other building friends (first year in india, i was terribly shy)
5th: with niki and azu and her friends and other building friends
in the building, they would clear the cars and fill buckets and buckets of water
and we'd play and play and play from 10 in the morning till around 2.
then water used to come (in my building we don't have 24 hours water running) so all us kids would run up to bathe. it would take at least 4 rounds of soaping to get all the colour off.
there was a routine before going down as well - oil hair - wear swimming cap (yes, i did that too), socks, fill bucket of balloons, inventory of colour, shoot.
6th: with rima and priyankhee and i think gayatri and urvashi at gangotri-bhagirathi (gb; these twin buildings - navy - near afghan church). this was the year when a boy named mayank poured chuna pani (lime water) on me, and it all went into my eyes and i thought i was going to go blind. i was really mad.
7th and 8th: then came amreena and holi shifted to whereever she was. amreena lived in a building called revati. boney and harry and their sisters lived in the very same building. and even gayatri i imagine (but can't remember clearly). so we would stay at dolly's place. get up in the morning, fill balloons and then go to boney's place, and then go to harry's place and then collect more people on the way like karan and abhinav and then head to the clubs (imsc - dhanush - and us club).
the clubs always had plenty loud bollywood music and tanks and showers and lots of food and beer (which we were too young to drink at the time) and loads of people from around the area. gold and silver colour also featured here. we'd usually hop over from imsc to us club or us club to imsc. we'd play for hours and hours -- sometimes till 4 -- and then start walking back. one time we even jumped straight into the sea.
the thing i loved about holi is after all the water has dried -- the way the dry colour sticks to your skin and shines in the sun. as if your whole outer layer is just going to crack off.
i think after those years, holi has never been what it used to be.
9th to 12th was spent in exams. and it seems so did my years at degree college. and then at work, working.
mostly because of the lack of people to play with. or the lack of space and utilities.
the old friends had shifted out or we had grown apart, and the new ones weren't the jungli (in my books) holi type.
one year, i can't really pin the year down, i do remember playing with niki (my sister) and drinking a lot of bhang. i would have been young because i didn't know what hash was at the time. and i drank a whole lot of it. and the thing about bhang is that it doesn't hit you immediately, but 2 hours later! and i was out for the rest of the day. i didn't experiment more with bhang after that year.
at school though i never thought that this is not going to be the same. everything is going to change. not even once.
and another two years (last and last to last) i walked around bangur nagar with veena and we played a teeny bit with her lot. once with veena and her friends, and once with veena and rucha and sharad.
these thoughts on holi of course led to deeper thoughts on my memory, and how it's so weak, and what happened 20 years ago is so easy to forget -- i can barely visualize liberia anymore.
and friends. how friendship is so proximity based. and active based. maybe it is a process of natural selection because it does take effort to stay active friends. and if you're the cool as a cucumber types then it really doesn't happen.
so this post is dedicated to all my school friends (and others) who i loved playing holi with: nikita, azu, zohra, amreena, boney, harry, gayatri, madhurima, shreya, kari, mansi, abhinav, karan, priyankhee, maybe even rajeev (and those who i have forgotten).
it is also dedicated to shreya, kari, akshay, and boney, who i wish i could be active friends with again because it was just such fun
and finally to rima and sabrina, who i wish i made more of an effort to be active with.
(amreena, you are in my active list - kiss!)