“Holi hai!” meaning (It’s Holi!)- These words of euphoria could be heard all around the community and most certainly across the entire country, right from the morning. Streets were starting to look drenched in a blend of water, colors and joy. Holi has been a symbolic identity albeit also an important festival for the Hindus; the festival of colors is celebrated not just in Nepal but countries like India, Sri-Lanka and across major Hindu communities in USA, UK, and Australia. In Nepal it is typically observed in two days: the first day being in the Hilly region and on the second day it goes on in the Terai. In Holi, unlike other festivals here in Nepal, there is least involvement of rituals, Gods or Godly entities. People are entitled to pure craziness no matter what time of the day, although this year Holi turned out to be pretty chilly throughout the day. Our students were excited about the day and rightly so, because most had only heard of it and were eager to partake in.
We graced ourselves in white t-shirts and pants/shorts and set out on streets for a little jazz up before noon turned in. It is important for our students to interact and mingle with the local community and people. So we went down with colors on our hands and the mutual exuberance of putting colors on almost each person we see along our way. Locals seemed to be baffled by and utterly enjoyed the presence of foreign lads and lasses in their favorite celebration of the year. Vibrant rays of colors seemed as if they were forming a mesmeric union with the sky. Buckets of water went empty, but the enthusiasm wouldn’t. We danced around, sang to the famous Holi tunes; the afternoon exuded melody in its own regular way. After an hour of dancing and playing around our place, the group decided to immerse into the exciting hues of Basantapur. Basantapur, where Holi rained like nowhere else, where gigantic mass of people of all age groups blended to shout out one common slogan, where the day always came to an end.
There wasn’t a single soul who wasn’t tired at the evening when it was time to walk back home. After almost two hours of submerging in Basantapur’s Holi followed by wandering around the famous touristic destination of Thamel, we called it a day and headed back. Though tired, we were aware enough to realize that we were walking back with tons of memories wrapped in our heads and that the tiredness was just a consequence of the beautiful outcome.
Report by: Rajat Acharya