Holi is not one of my favorite festivals. First up, it’s not something we as South Indian traditionally celebrate, so I never grew up celebrating Holi – it has no cultural resonance for me.
Another aspect of Holi I’ve always disliked is the color throwing aspect. It technically sounds like fun, I’ve enjoyed it in the movies, but the one time I actually played Holi before, I realized I was totally uncomfortable with strangers touching my face to put color on it, and the hooliganism aspect also was a bit too much for me.
So, all these years I’ve happily evaded all Holi celebrations preferring to sit peacefully at home and relax.
That is, of course, until we moved to our new place a few years back and Snubnose learnt about the Holi celebrations that were being conducted on a grand scale in our new layout/colony. She was confident enough to go play Holi with her friends without me needing to be around, and so I’d just send her off with a variety of colors, and just clean her up when she got home.
Piglet however is turning out just like me – a little fearful of crowds, and detesting the feel of colors and water being splashed on to him.
His school teacher once commented that he could have some mild sensory processing issues making him feel overwhelmed and anxious in crowded and noisy spaces. She also suggested that we as a family could expose him to more unusual and new experiences (in a safe setting, of course), making him less sensitive and scared.
So that meant of course introducing him to Holi, but with me and K participating and encouraging him along the way – and being on hand to bring him back home when the noise and crowds get too much for him.
The biggest positive was that Piglet really was very interested in going and participating in all the fun. So, we got him a new toy water gun, and we had a few practice rounds with his sister.
You might be wondering that it is a bit too much prepping for what seems like natural fun, but we really wanted Piglet to be as comfortable as possible as he has never been ok with strangers, and even friends end up looking like strangers underneath all that color.
In the end, it turned out to be a good thing we did all that extra prep. Piglet’s first instinct when all the older kids pounced on him with color powder was to flee. He ran a good length of the road, before he stopped panicking, and turned right back into the mêlée of things.
It also helped that apart from the dry Holi, there was a lot of water Holi being played. The water Holi was much more his style, and he soon got adjusted to the idea of getting splashed and splashing others. Another huge draw was the ginormous tractor standing at the end of the road. For some reason, we were all under the impression that a tractor ride was in the works.
Piglet wanted to make sure that he got the most important seat, and so he plunked himself on the driver’s seat and waited patiently for the driver to turn up. Alas! The driver was too busy playing Holi himself, and never turned up finally.
Anyway, all these exciting things were enough to keep Piglet playing on for a good couple of hours. After that, exhausted we all drove back home, where I had a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
In all the confusion of the Holi, I didn’t realize that I had gotten thoroughly messed up myself. I was simply aghast at how wrecked I looked. I was even more aghast that I actually had fun getting so terribly dirty and muddied up.
That said, I made sure that we all got cleaned up as lickety-split soon as possible. It was only then I could utter a deep sigh and relax into myself.
It was then time for a blog event for K and I (more of which coming on in a later post), and then come back for the evening bonfire. The bonfire was so much fun. It was a religious event, but because we don’t celebrate Holi as such, we just enjoyed the fun bits – the thandai drinks on offer, and all the fun of seeing a huge fire in the night.
Thoroughly relaxing and the perfect end to a highly festive day!