There are some things about India that I remember the most. I remember going to the store to buy packets of navy blue, marigold, and magenta powder the week before Holi. My friends and I would compare what we each bought, and try to cover all the bases – glitter, water balloons, and water guns. On the morning of Holi, we’d pick out our whitest whites and wear them to the nearby park. Within seconds, we’d be covered in a flurry of colors: some dry, and some wet. We’d wipe streaks of liquid away from our eyes, and continue playing in the field. We’d run away from the people with water guns, and try to get them back with our water balloons. after a couple hours of this, we’d hurry back to our apartments and fill buckets of water. After all that color, a little water couldn’t do us any harm. We’d have our parents pour water our the windows and onto us while we waiting on the ground floor. The “watchmen” watched our every move, trying to ensure we didn’t stain the outside walls of the building with our color-soaked hands. I can’t forget that.

On Ganesh Chaturthi, we would wander on the streets and follow the dirty blue trucks carrying massive clay sculptures of Ganesh. He’d he painted beautifully, covered in an ornate display of gold jewelry, and embellished further with flowers . The There was a crowd of people following the trucks, singing, dancing, and chanting. They’d feed milk to the idols, and they’d “drink” them. I spent days trying to convince my mom that it was real, that it was magic. I used to love all things magical. But then, I read that the idols were made of clay, and that milk was naturally absorbed into the statues. I have heard, however, that it’s happened with steel idols of Ganesh too. My rationality begs to differ, but I can’t ever forget this celebration.

Diwali was my favorite holiday of all. The lamps, the lights, and the fireworks. The fiery smell and the crackling sounds of fireworks infusing into homes, and the smoke billowing through the air certainly set the festive mood. We had days off school, and we’d go to the beach, watch movies, and, of course, get together at night for all the firework fun. And who can forget the endless festival food, sweets and all.

I haven’t celebrated any of these festivals in years. But, I’ll be in India this summer, and although I won’t get the opportunity to experience them then, I’m sure I’ll be reminded of plenty more memories from back in the day that I need but a slight nudge to recall.

All pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.org