The Horrifying Memories Of Holi That I Refuse To Pass On To My Son!

That day I dared to sneak out from a small gap between the opening of the door and the wall to see what happens... and it horrified me.

Holi 2022 was the first Holi of my life that I played, because of my son! He was about to turn 7, and all the previous years he has been standing on the balcony of the house seeing everyone else play Holi.

The primary reason my in-laws do not play Holi is to contribute the tiniest bit to saving water. And I never objected to that, because I found the reason very much valid. Last year, the curious child wanted to experience colors and I could not deny his innocent demand. I got some dry colours, got them applied to him…

And then I was drenched in the terrible memories of the past. Everything flashed in front of my eyes, as fresh as if it was happening now, and me witnessing it.

Belonging to a remote place, I was never allowed to play Holi. Instead, I had to sit inside the house, on both days (Holika Dahan as well as Dhuliwandan). For 8-9 years of my life I never questioned this. But after that, I started feeling, “Why does papa not allow me to play Holi?”

My mom used to say, “It is for your good. Just follow it,” Again every year the same thing, but as I entered my teens and as the only girl who studied in a convent medium school and wore all types of outfits, I used to be harassed by all the boys and men in the vicinity. My parents protected me from all of it. My mom at times even used to reach the house of those guys to let their parents know what their kids are up to.

I was horrified by what I saw happening

And then that year, something terrible happened. All the guys ganged up and started screaming my mom’s and my and name with foul language with a suffix, “Bura na mano Holi hain!”

This certainly was very disheartening for a teenager who was confused if she should rebel against this or ignore it. Teenage is an age where it is difficult to let things go; we instead take them to heart and try to resolve them or get closure to everything.

That day I dared to sneak out from a small gap between the opening of the door and the wall to see what happens. The girls in the neighborhood, the same as my age, were being inappropriately touched on every part of their bodies irrespective of consent. No man left no girl, relation, age difference, or respect, as if everything did not exist for that day. The women who I had only seen in pallu and ghoonghat were out of the houses exposed to the demons who had all the permissions to do and say anything to any and every woman.

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I was so disturbed to see all that, I came and sat inside quietly and never asked my parents why they did not let me play Holi.

When I moved from my native place to Pune for my graduation, I carried the same memories of Holi. My friends used to invite me to Holi parties, but I could not accept and attend those parties as the toxic memories from the past haunted me!

After all these years, when my son asked me to play Holi with him, I decided not to pass on the same dreaded memories and impression of the festival, but rather let him color his own canvas of memories. So I agreed! And after applying the dry color, that one hug and wish which came from him was enough to look towards the festival of colors with an all-new perspective!

I am thankful to my parents for saving me from a trauma that I would otherwise have carried if I played Holi the way it was played in my surroundings!

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About the Author

Nilshree Damani Yelulkar

A mother, homemaker, self-published author, founder, and podcast host at Authoropod. read more...

28 Posts | 16,791 Views

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