Alastair McCollum
Slideshow image

Today is the Festival of Holi - birthed from Hinduism, but a celebration of Indian/Nepalese culture worldwide. It is also World Poetry Day - so we mark these two with a heartfelt Holi poem about feeling a stranger to one's own culture from an unnamed artist, taken from this page.

Holi Blues
I am dreaming of playing with colors and gulal, 
It is the Holi celebration after all. 
I can't play inside my home, the carpets will get tainted, 
I cant' play it in the yard, the grass and outer walls will get painted. 
I thought I would go to the temple, 
and enjoy the traditional Holi festivities, 
Once again I am banned from playing with colors inside the temple, 
I can't play the drums and sing "Holi hai" outside, as the neighbors don't like the noise. 
Little disappointed, I head for the community centre, 
they have the Holi celebration in the evening, 
The kids perform and remind me of my cultural heritage, 
I hear all the nice Holi songs and watch dances, 
I enjoy Puas(sweets) and Goat meat curry as a special Holi treat, 
but I still miss the colors and Gulal on my face. 

As a kid, the full moon night before the Holi, 
we had a big bonfire in the middle of little Indian City, 
Next morning we will get up, make buckets of colored water, 
No one in the neighborhood will be spared from colors, 
When we ran out of the colors, mud, paint and coal tar, 
would cover our faces in the cheerful spirit of Holi festival. 

There was some special meaning playing Holi with girls, 
this is the only day when we can get close to them with some hesitation, 
the wet colors dignified their bodies, 
the dry colors showed their beauty in multi colors. 

After our morning session, we came home to the big feast, 
All the puas, puris, pulav, meat and vegetable curries made our mouth water. 
In the evenings, we wore our new kurta and pajamas, 
went door to door, played gulal with young and old, 
everyone offered their best sweet treats, 
That was the real Holi, now it is only in my dreams. 

 

Today's cover artwork is a picture of an oil painting by Aleksey Vylusk