Saturday, March 19, 2011

#63 un-holi-day

I have spent the first 5 years of my life in a country in Persian Gulf where the festival was totally unheard of..

My earliest memory of the day after returning to India is of when i was in my kindergarten. My first ever holi. You cousins suddenly barged in and dragged me by my arms out of the home and smeared me with every color possible all over my body, without any warning/explanation. What sort of reaction did you expect from a kid who has no frigging idea in the world why you are suddenly acting so wild and chivvying her ! Don't call me a cry-baby if i freaked out and ran inside screaming to my dad asking him what the hell in the world was wrong with everybody, and refused to speak with you for weeks after that, until I was thoroughly convinced that you people were infact normal and safe to be with.

I was scared of holi since then. Then one time when we had just shifted to our new house, you neighbors starting banging our doors asking for us to come out. My parents coaxed me into dropping my guard against the festival once and try and get into the spirit. That is how they said me and my brother would "be able to make friends fast in the neighborhood" and sent us out. I remember clutching my brother's hand so tight and pleading him not to let me go. But you guys came and snatched him away from me, totally ignored his requests to go easy on me and dropped bucketfuls of dirty filthy slimy liquid and smeared my entire body with grease, leaving me struggling and gasping for breaths. You agitated me all the more by not giving a chance to my brother to prepare- broke his spectacles and pushed him into a drainage canal !!! "Welcome to our colony" you said with the evil smiles, "ragging" as you called it.

Over the years I chose to witness the scene from my balcony and chose to say no to anything you put on me except dry colors. You laughed at me for being such a wuss and not enjoying the festival with you guys. Did you even care to notice that girl in the group who submitted to your hooliganism, but often returned home crying to herself because she hated the way that a-hole uncle grabbed and smeared color on her and touched her in a manner that make her feel sick ? Did you even bother to realize how traumatic it might have been for that kid ? Well I did, and I started hating that man and the festival all the more. For me it was one of the days that gave men the right to unleash the beasts within them and treat women with utmost disrespect. I could not take that. Never will.

In my high school, I heard of guys outside my house swooshing past in super sonic speeds on their bikes, screaming and shouting at every person on the road, boasting about how high on bhaang they were, how many they 'attacked', how many bruises they received, the number of houses they rampaged and what not. Half an hour I heard the news of one of them losing his life in an bike accident. Drunken driving and road brawl.
I had no reason to like this day.

I came to college and was petrified at the thought of having to celebrate the day in the college. I remember running a very high fever that morning. To my relief the girl hostel was sealed and I assumed the girls would be sophisticated enough to play nicely. But you barged into my room, pickded me up from all my fours and dropped me in that water pool you made in the toilet area !! You laughed and mocked at me when I suggested we play with dry colors and sweets and music and dance, instead of mindless noise and rattle. I pleaded not to waste so much of water as there is a shortage in the city already with the lakes dried up and the municipality struggling to provide enough for household use. You could only laugh harder.

I decided to run to home on every holi next year hence.

Only that I forgot that your celebrations do not end in one day. Only in my 3rd year in the college did I learn about Rang Panchmi, another day to go crazy. I was dragged out into the hostel courtyard and smothered with permanent gulal, despite my wails of protest. As if I wasn't roughened up enough, you started tearing my clothes. TEARING CLOTHES !!! And you said it was a tradition ????? Tradition ??? ehhh... all i knew about the tradition was putting up tilaks and exchanging sweets and hugs and wishing health and prosperity to others. But tearing off clothes ??

You did not let me in peace even in the evening. I was walking to the general store behind my hostel to buy a scrubber to rub of the color when a bunch of you guys zoomed past me, circled and cornered me on the road, all on bikes and high on bhaang , all smeared with silver and pink and flashing evil smiles at me. I froze in fear and screamed and ran as fast as my legs could take me and hid in a professor's quarter until you people left after laughing wildly at my helplessness and "feeling like a true mard". I thought that was the most un-manly thing ever.

Even now as I sit in my hostel room recounting the horrid memories of the so-called 'festival of colors' , i'm planning out ways to escape the hooliganism tomorrow somehow. I told you yesterday I was thinking of going over to a day-scholar's home for the day , and you people screamed at me and got mad for being a kill joy. You charged me emotionally with all sorts of "yaar...just a few days left together in the college...last holi ever" stuff and made me change my mind. You promised to go easy on me and make me like this festival. I believed you and promised to co-operate from my end. I was typing all this and anticipating with a tinge of excitement in my head about finally having to experience the real holi, when you guys called me out on some pretext and started the congenial violence again.....

Don't blame me if I detest Holi ..

Monday, March 14, 2011

#62 Now Playing : Fix You- Coldplay

I am stuck in a rut. A deep dark purposeless morbid rut , one that I don’t seem to be able to come out of ever. Unable to do so, or lacking the will to break open, that is something I haven’t been able to figure out. Deep down I do know it’s the latter, though. Every time I start afresh with lots of new and exciting plans for myself, I end up falling for the same old depressing routine and habits. Over and over and over again. I know I should blame no one but myself for this. I and I alone am responsible for choosing to shamelessly ignore and forget the promises and deals I make with myself, specially the ones that involve putting my happiness and health before everything else. Its all so messed up, that I have lost the will to get up and start over again. I guess I have resigned myself to this mess and conditioned myself to silently live with all of it. I do want to break free, yet I do not move an inch. For fears of such reasons that are too trivial and insignificant and pointless to be considered. But the idiot that I am, I will think and re think about all of just that and worry the hell out of me, while the world out there is blissfully unaware of my state of mind. And so I keep fretting and whining and worrying inside my own tiny little space. Then I get sick of all the thinking and make up my mind to get out and do whatever needs to be done. Get out and scream at that girl who betrayed my trust in her, hit that guy who upset me, shout back at the uncle who misunderstood me, go shake that teacher who annoyed me. Yet all I do is, move about in the hostel smiling and politely speaking with that same girl, letting that guy bother me again, greet that uncle with all the respect and not bother about the teacher. The cool calm polite sweet G that I am. !! I don’t think so anymore. I think its all an alibi for being weak and spineless and lacking the guts to stand up and fight. My happiness is under the control of the most stupid and vague things in life, and I seem to be ok with it ! When will I learn to scream out at the top of my voice that I AM NOT OK !!!