Either that thought has you jumping out of your chairs, readying your colour and pichkari and deciding your strategy or it has you scrambling to look for a safe place till it’s the day after.
I am a bit of both. Half my friends know the truth – that I’m s*** scared of Holi. The other half think I’m this fearless Holi player just because they see me each year drenched in multicoloured hues. Should the two groups meet, they’d never agree they’re talking about the same person.
These Holi tips are for Type 2 people – the ones who desperately look for Harry’s invisibility cloak to get through the Holi madness. There’s something about the Holi spirit that imbues the riotous revellers with much too much courage. That very forbidding expression you have – the one that says “I’m way above this juvenile stuff”? Well put it away – it won’t work. Believe me. I’ve tried it.
So what do you do?
If you are the non-social variety you have hope. Find a safe place, preferably on some haunted, desolate, deserted island, horde those gujhiyas and hide away till the day is through.
However, if your friends are anything like mine they’ll probably be planning to dig you out just as assiduously as you’re planning to hide away. To begin with, dip yourself in colour before you step onto the battle field. Yeah, quash the spirit of Adrian Monk and do it yourself because if you don’t, someone else certainly will. Once on the field remember Never let your guard down.
Read on now for five valuable Holi tips:
1. Scared? Who? Me? Nah!!
Bluff your way through. Pretend to be all gung ho about the whole thing. Each time the topic comes up chime in enthusiastically, “Yay! It’s Holi” even while your heart gives a lurch at the H word. Put on a careless, daredevil look and throw out a challenge or two. “Hah! This time I’m not letting you get away”. Once you’ve established your credentials and are no longer on the ‘hit list’ slink away quietly through the proverbial ‘patli gali’.
Caution: Don’t overdo the bravado. Steer clear of the biggies (You’ll know them by the mad glean of excitement in their colour crazed eyes). Pick out the scared ones (Oh, you’ll smell them out, after all they’re just like you).
2. Get your shields in place
If you’re a mum you have a readymade shield – the kids. Deflect the attention to them. Keep an eye out for the assailant AT ALL TIMES. Just as he/she closes in put on your most loving look, position yourself carefully behind your little one and pretend to be engrossed in helping him/her fill out the water gun. (Do not get REALLY engrossed, okay? This is war, you need your wits about you, woman.) A look at that moving montage might for one, gentle out the attackers and two, the kids are craving it all anyway. They loooove the mess – the water, the colour – the dirtier the better.
Caution: Don’t overestimate your safety. You’re just as safe as an 80 kg person can be behind a 20 kg person. Twins, that way are handy – double protection, you see.
3. Lie and bribe
Participate in the preliminary round and just when things are hotting up and the dread in your heart starts to rise, put on your most serious expression and say,”I wish I could stay but my kid, is asthamatic. You know na how it is?? I need to go dry him out”. Believe me, no one will stop you. What? That’s a lie. Soooooo? This is war remember? And all’s fair.
Caution: This is a tricky one since it depends on the cooperation of children who at such times never rise to the occasion and might suddenly refuse to go along with you. Keep a bribe handy.
4. The Photographer
Carry an expensive looking camera, “looking” being the keyword. Or simply whip out your phone and declare yourself the official photographer. Each time an assailant approaches ward him off with, “Aww you look lovely… Give me a smile. Watch out for your pictures on facebook.”
Caution: Use a dummy camera/phone. Keep the really expensive ones away from the battle field. The fanatics are not to be trusted.
5. The Foodkeeper
Become the official food supplier. Make sure you go for the preliminary rounds which are often gentler and get yourself suitably coloured, then stand behind the food counter or actively start handing out the samosas, gujhiyas and thandais. Who wants to mess with their own food?
Caution: Make sure you disappear before the food does.
Distract, Deflect and Defend. If nothing works and you’re caught – well then, cross over to the enemy and Drench, Dunk and Douse.
Remember it’s Holi, bura Na Mano!
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First published here.
Top image via Unsplash