Have you heard of nail biting movies ? If you were able to witness the behind the scenes at the Holi Organizing meetings you would have had some sleepless nights. As the RSVPs poured in , the weather gods seemed to be ready to play spoil sport . It was only on the Wednesday that the final go ahead was given . As usual our event organizing team had planned right down to the last detail. It was an outdoor event and since we were dealing with colors, arrangements had to be made to make sure we did not mess up our classrooms or our ashram.
11th March dawned bright and sunny and seemed to be defying all the predictions . The volunteers were busy arranging the food stall. All the food had been lovingly cooked by volunteers. The idea was to sell food that is easy to eat and at the same time filling and healthy . We had Vada Pav (with the accompaniments), Samosas, idli with sambar and chutney, curd rice, pizza and chai. In addition there was free thandai for everyone and cookies for the kids.
If the food station was a beehive of activity, on the other end, colorful bowls were filled with all the colors of Holi, Blues and greens, pinks and red mingled with purples and yellows. At 11:30, the first trickle of people started coming in. Our enthusiastic emcee had already arranged the music system and had an impressive lineup of songs . People walked in and seeing the colorful faces of the volunteers jumped into the fun. Little kids dashed around with bowls trying to get to the adult’s faces . When they couldn’t make it, we would get slapped on our hands and legs . With songs ringing in the background, everyone became a Bollywood dancer with the latest thumkas. There was an arrangement to wash themselves outside with the hose, in case they wanted to eat.
The food stalls were doing brisk business . The thandai was much appreciated as the sun climbed higher and the dancing made us all tired. Little hands reached out for a cookie .The smiling volunteers kept refilling quickly emptying trays of food .Neither the food nor the colors ran out. The whole area was a riot of colors, music ,laughter and joy. There was one choreographed dance led by Himani in which we had participation from young and old. What a joy it was to see even strangers applying colors on each others faces.
The event started winding down around 2:30. It was 3 hours of nonstop fun . But the work was not done for the volunteers. They had to clean up , put things away and throw away garbage. There wasnt much food left over which is always a challenge at events of this scale. Kudos to our Holi organizing team headed by Raji and Kumar and a dedicated group of volunteers.
I will conclude with the words from one of the appreciative parents who specifically said ‘My kids got to experience Holi for the first time in this country , in the same way I got to play it when I was young’ .