There used to be a time when Holi meant you wore your rattiest clothes because who’s even going to care what colour and print your clothes are? Nothing survives the onslaught of permanent colours and water. Is it supposed to be a Chikankari kurta? More like a kurta with chicken curry splashed on it. And who even cares if there’s that extra stitch around the waist or near the shoulder to give your clothes the perfect shape? They’re going to stick to your body like a second skin anyway. You might as well wear that old night suit that you’re planning to convert into a pochha (aka desi name for a house cleaning rag).
But lately, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp statuses have ruined that for me too. Now as soon as I go on WhatsApp, I am flooded with pictures of my friends wearing the classiest clothes. It’s like they’re straight out of the video of “Do me a favour, let’s play Holi!” where they are the impeccably dressed backup dancers for Priyanka Chopra. Their clothes look as if they were gently caressed by a naughty breeze with a little splash of colour.
In between their fabulous Holi celebrations, people make sure to take pictures of these said fabulous Holi celebrations. After all, your Holi isn’t fabulous enough if you don’t have a hundred pictures to prove its fabulousness. Add a dose of carefully choreographed pictures and videos where they are just randomly throwing gulaal into the air and bathing in its disintegrated form. Why couldn’t they just ask someone to smash some colour onto their faces is beyond me. Who even plays Holi like that? Can you imagine me alone on the street and blowing gulaal into the air and dancing around in it? Let’s just agree that my neighbours would preferably stay away from me in the future.
And what is it with people going out to play with seemingly perfectly blow-dried hair? Aren’t we supposed to drown our hair in oil before Holi? You know, so our hair can look perfect once again the next day, saved from the devastating effects of irresponsibly sourced gulaal? Looking at Instagram it’s clear that I am the only champu in Delhi (a goofball), who is glazed with oil all over her body just so it’s easier to get rid of all that colour later. Forgive me if I don’t want to look like “Jaadu” the day after Holi.
What I feel the most sympathy for, is my 500 rupee, extra-power, extra volume pichkari or water gun that I bought a few years earlier and still worth its weight. Now, that’s something that deserves to be clicked from every angle. I can just imagine the caption that would go with those pictures, “A nozzle to bamboozle the crap out of anybody in a 50 m radius!” or “Is that sweat I see on your face? ‘Cuz there’s fear written All.Over.It!” But in a neighbourhood full of Instagram models, my dorky water gun is no longer a participant.