On the final day of an India trip that included five cities, I spent time in Kolkata with the family of a Melbourne friend. Love that city – walk, talk, eat sweets! On the last day, we had several appointments and then I was flying home. But in that day, I discovered my very own secret of Holi.
Having about an hour free between our appointments, we went to the wonderful Tagore museum, honouring Rabindranath Tagore, poet, philosopher and inspiration. From the first floor window we noticed the entire museum was surrounded by university students celebrating Holi, it was a riot of colour and laughter. Holi this year was 1 and 2 March – and it is known in India as the “Festival of Colours” and marks the end of winter. People splash water and powder on each other – red, yellow, blue and green. Each color also carries a meaning. Red symbolizes love and fertility; yellow is the color of turmeric, a powder native to India and used as a natural remedy; blue represents the Hindu God Krishna; and green is for new beginnings.
Holi at heart is the joy of life in India. It is for family and friends, dancing, feasting and celebrating life as only the Indians can.
But looking down on the young university students in Kolkata, I found another secret of Holi. What a wonderful time for young men and women to flirt, and flirt they did. Covered in powder, laughing, taking photos and having a brilliant time.
If you have a chance to be in India during Holi, make sure you go. It will put the joy of India firmly in your heart.