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A Holi War This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Dust is magical. In fairy tales dust is granted on deserving souls by celestial fairies and it makes amazing things happen. It grants wishes, it can make you fly. I grew up in India, where dust is a more real magic. Dust is thousands of spices calling out from the shelves of every store, from the stall in every market, and the cabinets of every kitchen. They tickle my tongue in curries and their names stir my imagination; turmeric, cardamom, coriander, and cumin. Spice, and therefore dust, is the life of India. Dust is the medium of dyes that color the yards of sarees hanging from every clothesline, or stacked in never ending lines in the cloth store. Dust is the friend of a childlike mind. Dust is the joy of driving down a dirt road, of running in your bare feet in the summer. Dust is what your mother spends every day trying to completely eliminate from your household, while you delightfully roll down hills of grass, climb trees, and fall off swings.

In India, the best holiday is Holi, a Hindu tradition celebrating Spring, the coming of new life and fertility of the land, a time to forgive and be free. It is called the festival of colors, color representing the love of Krishna and Radha. Holi celebrates color and life, having fun, being free, and letting go. Holi is the one day everyone is the same. It feels like Christmas. Everyone prepares by putting on special clothes for the day, either old ones that can be dirtied or white ones to hopefully be dyed. Kids run down to the kirana shops and gleefully fill their pockets with mischievous bags of colored powder; sunny yellows, shocking pinks, electric blues, royal purples, and bright greens. The country becomes a battle ground. Handfuls of color dissolve in buckets of water, and it begins. It’s all about the magic dust, whether you’re dousing your friends, family and neighbors with buckets of shimmering water or pelting them with the dry dust which sticks to everything. While some kids have huge water guns, we attacked with simple plastic pichkaris, a two part pumping mechanism. This mattered little as long as they were decorated with our favorite stickers, and fulfilled their purpose. Mom always seemed happy to see me participating with abandon, but sometimes I wonder if she secretly disliked the holiday. Sometimes we would go out and come back three or four times, in a whole different outfit that gets soaked and, of course, must be washed.



The only downside must be the cleaning up. At the end of the day, everyone and everything is dirty. The pavement of streets and the tiles in the bathroom are a completely different color than they were this morning, and the stairs have multicolored footprints skipping up them. Not to mention the eggshells from eggs devilishly thrown at each other and smashed on one another’s heads.


If that is the worst, then the best experience of the day is always watching the sun set out over the roofs of the city, which are wrapped in lines of clothes recovering from the revelry. Like all holidays, it unites. Everyone is completely satisfied, happy and now finally dry, inside with their family, reliving the day and telling all their best stories of the day, and of holidays past.



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imnoamericano said...
May 7, 2013 at 1:00 am
Really awesome article!
 
Scribbleaway. said...
May 2, 2013 at 3:40 am
Lovely. I wish I can experience it someday.
 
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