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Holi memories: Gulaal, gujiyas, gulgule and more

Last updated on: March 17, 2014 00:00 IST

Holi memories: Gulaal, gujiyas, gulgule and more

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We asked a bunch of models at Lakme Fashion Week about their fondest Holi memories. And here's what they told us!

Model Amit Ranjan from Patna finds it difficult to compare the celebrations from his hometown to that of the city.

"During Holi, we'd wear shorts and run from house to house gathering friends and splashing colour on them.

"Once everyone was out, we'd drag them to the nearby ground where we'd prepare a pool of mud and dump them in one by one.

"We'd then wrestle and splash mud water on each other. Some of my friends have also been dumped in a gutter, but nobody complained as long as it was fun and harmless.

"Playing with gulaal was meant for kids.

"When I was 17, I remember going to a friend's place to play Holi and his mother had prepared malpua for all of us.

"After a long day of playing in the sun with colours, when we sat down to eat malpua, it tasted so good that I could not resist myself.

"It's the best malpua I have ever had," he says.

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Image: Amit Ranjan
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'I particularly love dancing to Holi songs'

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Sony Kaur hails from Punjab, a place where she never liked "the wild and dirty Holi celebrations" in her hometown.

"Holi is about colours and spreading happiness.

"How can you jump onto strangers and splash them with colours just like that?

"Although I'd reluctantly celebrate it with my family and neighbours, I never enjoyed it so much when I was a kid."

Kaur is perhaps one of the few models who says she enjoys the celebrations in the city.

"Since the last few years, I have really begun to enjoy Holi in the city.

"I don't celebrate Diwali or any other festival but I really look forward to Holi.

"I don't buy new clothes for my birthday, but for Holi, I religiously shop for a white dress and buy new shoes.

"I think it's the joy of spoiling a white outfit with colours; it's like taking home some colourful memories.

"I particularly love dancing to Holi songs and enjoy celebrating it with friends."


Image: Sony Kaur
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'The night before Holi, we'd fill the balloons with coloured water and keep them ready'

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Parul Duggal from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh is filled with nostalgia as she remembers how she'd celebrate the festival as a kid.

"Two days before the festival, we'd shop for the colours and balloons.

"The night before Holi, we'd fill the balloons with coloured water and keep them ready.

"On Holi, my mother would send my brother and me out of the house with all our 'ammunition' (pichkari, gulal etc) and lock the gates.

"She'd leave us some snacks and a bottle of fresh water at the window so when we felt tired, we could nibble on them without troubling her or getting the house dirty.

"By 4 pm, when we returned home after play, we'd be barely recognisable."

Although Duggal doesn't miss celebrating the festival as much since she's moved to Mumbai, she definitely misses the gujiyas and gulgule (holi sweets) her mother would prepare during the festival.

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Image: Parul Duggal
Photographs: Abhishek Rane/Rediff.com

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'My mother would soak yellow coloured flowers in water'

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Krishna Chaturvedi belongs to Mathura -- a place that best exemplifies the colourful festival.

However, the last two years since he's moved to Mumbai, he's not celebrated Holi and he tells us why.

"If you really want to know how a traditional Holi is celebrated in India, take the next flight or train and reach Mathura by March 17 and you will have an experience you'll never forget for life.

"When we were young, we'd smash cowdung and all sorts of coloured paint on each other.

"My mother would soak these yellow coloured flowers in water and boil them to form a natural yellow dye.

"This was mixed with holy ash collected from the holika dahan (the holy pyre lit ahead of the festival) and sprayed on people.

"Some of the popularly followed traditions were Laddoo Maar -- where we'd distribute laddoos to each other.

"The following day, is celebrated as Lathmaar Day -- when the women of the house beat their men with laathis and chase them out of the house when they come to apply gulaal."

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Image: Model Ninja Singh (left) and Krishna Chaturvedi
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'Holi celebrations in Mumbai are very sophisticated'

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Twenty-two-year old Ninja Singh joins us in the conversation and reminds Chaturvedi how the tradition of Lathmaar Holi originated.

"When I was young, I was told that Krishna had come to meet Radha with his friends on this day and he played some pranks on Radha and her friends.

"While the village folk welcomed Krishna with sweets (laddoo), after being on the receiving end of their pranks, the girls chose to drive them away with laathis (sticks) the following day."

Singh also has fond memories of celebrating the festival in Delhi.

"We'd step out of our homes early in the morning and splash water colours as soon as people came out of their houses.

"Then we'd a gang of girls would set out and find our next target.

"It was a fun way of letting your hair down and behave like a child.

"Even if anyone got upset with our pranks, we'd say: Bura na maano, holi hai."

Both Chaturvedi and Singh say the celebrations in Mumbai are very 'sophisticated' and do not capture the essence of the festival in its true sense.

"Holi in cities is more of a social event where people greet each other warmly and gently apply colour on each other. There's no masti," feels Ninja.

"I always wish I could go back to those crazy days," Chaturvedi says.

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Also Read: 

Ninja Singh: 'Don't let a pretty face and stunning body go to your head'


Image: Ninja Singh
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'Holi has lost its colour'

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Surabhi Rao, 24, has lived in Vashi, a Mumbai suburb all her life. She also misses Holi celebrations and explains why the festival has lost its charm.

"When we were kids, I remember playing with colours and water balloons.

"My friends would also splash mud and egg yolk.

"We girls would gang up against each other and take turns to overpower the other.

"Since we lived in a colony, it was one apartment versus the other.

"We'd not care how ugly we looked in all those messy colours as long as we had fun.

"My mother would prepare kayi obattu – a sweet similar to puran poli (recipe, here), only the stuffing would be made of coconut and jaggery."

"As we grew up, we got more conscious about our skin and hair.

"Earlier we did not care if the colour stayed for more than a week as it was a sign of how much fun we had. Today we endorse organic colours.

"The new kids don't realise the spirit of the festival.

"They play it violently by pelting stones and plastic balloons filled with all kinds of dirty water.

"People get hurt and injured after the festival. These days if I go to a Holi party, I just hang around for a while and move away quickly.

"I no longer feel it's the same, the spirit is missing. Holi has lost its colour."

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Image: Surabhi Rao
Photographs: Courtesy: Lakme Fashion Week

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