Of all the things that we (at TIFR) played with this holi, coloured powder was probably the least used....Which is why the post-holi scrubbing of skin was a little less painful.
But that does not mean we had a boring holi.
Enthusiasm was running high, as we started planning the 'event' two days in advance....Some folks were apprehensive about participating in the festivities here, as they knew bhaang and a mud pool would be involved. But B. And I couldn't/ wouldn't be curbed- we went to Colaba market and succumbed to the temptation of buying four types of colours, pichkaris and even water balloons from three different sellers. We're suckers for good marketing.
The preparations began in the MSc Housing early in the morning- 9.30 am, to be precise- for Em and R2D2 had to be chucked out of bed to help make water balloons. After persevering for half an hour, and trying various things such as taking away their bedsheets, opening the curtains to let the light in on their faces, and eventually yelling in their faces, we finally got to work...And succeeded in making a mess in the flat. Filling balloons is so much fun. What's not fun is being the only person able to knot them, while five others fill them instead.
My poor little sore finger..:(
Another bit of outrageously bad management was allowing S., a particularly helpful batchmate (who filled exactly six balloons) to carry one half of our balloons down. Within five minutes, ALL our balloons were over. ALL! In the process I also discovered that my aim is as godawful as it used to be a few years ago.
After squabbling with kids who wanted to use our bucket of coloured water, (or should I rephrase that as: after Saki bullied the kids who wanted to use our water) we decided that some others who had asked to be personally invited from their hostel rooms should be poked out of sleep too, and moved towards the hostel. We were inadvertently also moving towards THE PIT.
We almost sneaked into the hostel unnoticed. Almost. We were spotted, there was some general yelping, and the girlies ran up the stairs. I was of course, the last one, and was caught, interestingly enough, by my namesake! I pleaded to my friends to not leave me alone, but they had long gone. The solitary friend who tried to help was caught too, and we were dragged to the pit. Of mud.
It was all very organized - I was asked to sit down quietly and not protest, and assured that if I did so it would be okay. A whistle was blown, junta kicked mud onto me, I swallowed a fair bit, rolled about in the puddle, and was escorted to a pipe to wash my face. All done in about two mins. Not that bad at all.
I reminded myself that as a kid I actually enjoyed playing in muck, so I should really not overreact. Now that I think of it, it was entertaining to watch each of us being taken, one at a time, lambs to the slaughter. For a change, it was all taken in good humour, and I don't think anyone was left feeling very unpleasant.
The shocker of the day was spotting a faculty member (who has recently joined our department) in the bunch of boys kicking about in the muck. We were wondering whether to put colour on his cheeks, or to go with the general theme and apply mud instead. We opted for a bright, luminescent green. A minute later he was dragged into the puddle in the centre and given the treatment himself.
My only regret is not getting my hands on Bhaang. :( I'd really like to try some, and was looking forward to an opportunity to do so here.