A Strange Holi

I was with my friend in our apartment and we wanted to enjoy the festival of colors.

A typical celebration of Holi looks like a group of people- mostly friends and relatives- applying color powder and throwing bucketfuls of water at each other. You would also see loudspeakers playing and people vibing with the songs. Some visit their relatives and neighbors to enjoy mouth-watering food like Gujiya, Thandai, or Dahi Bhalle.

But we were only two introverts away from our families and without any plans or arrangements for the festival, which meant we couldn’t have a grand celebration. Or at least that’s what we thought.

Mustering all our courage, we decided to go out and play Holi with strangers. That’s the specialty of this festival- it makes people forget all boundaries to come together and experience the joy and delight of spring.

So, we began walking on a street without knowing where it would take us. The locality is spread over a huge area we hadn’t explored much.

After walking a kilometer and taking two turns, we took a third turn, wondering if it would take us closer to our apartment. But later, we would know it was the wrong turn.

Now the street got narrower, packed with houses on both sides that you could hardly see the sky.

We saw happy faces on the street, their body and clothes smeared in vibrant colors- red, green, blue, yellow, pink, orange, you name it. The world had suddenly become colorful. From little kids to old ladies, everyone was lost in the euphoria of the festival.

People were armed with water guns to play color fight. They showered us with liquid colors and color powders. I remember two kids drenched in color, each holding a packet of gulal, pointing us to bend to apply color to our faces.

And that’s when I felt something cold on my skin. I instantly peeked up to see a boy in his twenties standing on the balcony who had poured water over me. I was drenched and smiling. People were showering water on passersby, and we encountered it several times along the way.

As we moved ahead, I saw a group of shirtless boys tearing apart the t-shirts of other male passersby. And I knew what was going to happen to us. We were surrounded by 8-10 boys attempting to rip up our t-shirts until we took them off happily. They were smiling and yelling, “Bura na mano Holi hai.”

Now we were also shirtless. And then something hit my leg. It felt like a soft and wet ball, which burst and splashed a liquid on me. It was a balloon filled with colored water. Many such balloons were hurled at us, sometimes by a girl on the balcony of the fifth floor, sometimes by someone from behind.

Next, we saw a girl and her mother standing at the door to their house, holding one end of a hose that spurted out jets of water. We were soaked and joyfully shouted, “Happy Holi.”

After walking about a kilometer along that unknown street, we found an opening. It was a broad lane both of us didn’t recognize.

My hand instinctively slipped into my pocket only to realize it was empty and wet. We didn’t carry our phones because, as you can guess, they were not waterproof. Thus we couldn’t check Google Maps.

So, we asked a vendor where we were and how to reach our apartment’s address. And we were surprised to hear that the path to reach our home was exactly the one we had taken to get there.

What next? We retraced our steps and again faced the color showers, water-filled balloons, and unbridled happiness.

On our way to the apartment, we bought yellow and green gulal and played Holi with each other. Later we also cooked delicious dessert to relish the moment.

I celebrated Holi

But why am I recounting this incident to you?

Well, because I am fascinated by how a wrong path led us to a fun and cheerful celebration of the festival, which was exactly what we were seeking.

Sometimes wrong paths lead you to the right destinations. All you need is the courage to take the path and the patience to walk on it.

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