This story will mainly feature my friends from back home. I will be using their real names because I doubt they care for anonymity.
This week I found myself venturing outside of The Kingdom of Durham into a Yash Raj wet dream – London. The week not only saw a major Indian festival – Holi – but also a major Christian holiday – Easter. The contrast between an Indian and an English festival was stark. What would have been loud music, crowded streets, and a suffocating cloud of colours in India for Holi was empty roads, polite greetings, and a ghostly silence in London for Easter. It was a strange sadness I felt this week. I was away from home, on my uncle’s pull out couch, not high on bhang, or looking like I had run through a rainbow. I experienced the classic Bollywood style “NRI Nostalgia”. One of the most characteristic features of “NRI Nostalgia” is thinking about things you haven’t given a flying rat’s fart about at any point when you were actually in India. I spent the first 10 minutes of Holi day trying to remember exactly what I did the previous year.
I was then thrown into a full fledged “NRI Nostalgia Flashback”. All of a sudden I was back at Aayushee’s place with all the girls. I was late due to the mad last minute rush to buy bhang goli and thandai so I had missed actual “playing holi” part. Nevertheless, Rhea and I had run onto the balcony and doused ourselves in colours, clicked a bunch of selfies and walked back into Aayushee’s hot boxed bedroom. I have a distant memory of us playing charades and someone having to enact the name of what was clearly a B Grade domestic porno. I cannot believe I have made space in my brain to remember the name but those of you who feel like your sensitivities will be offended, ignore the next sentence where the name of the movie is revealed.
The movie was called “Chameli Ke Chut Mein Chipkali Ka Lund”.
Yes, it is the kind of name that makes you want to take a long shower. But yes, Sadhika had to act that out and I feel a little part of her died that night. It was naturally time to forget what had happened so we decided to make bhang. Who knew how to make bhang? None of us. Did we have enough milk for 15 people? No. Did we make it right? No. Did we drink “Bhang shots”? Yes. Did we get high? We already were. We were joined by Siddanth and some other guys I can’t remember and there was biryani. I really cannot remember what happened the rest of the night but I do remember Siddanth and I being the last ones awake, listening to music and having a chat about God and an alternate realm, as you do of course. I slept on an armchair that night.
Was it the best Holi ever? Probably not. But I’d take it over waking up in a silent house, on a pull out couch, wishing I was back home in the city I loved. I regretted every Holi day I’d spent in bed, wishing the noise outside would cease. Checking in with my friends back home only made me feel worse. Not because they were out there, unrecognisable and dirty, but because they weren’t. My friends had chosen to stay indoors and not revel in what I missed so badly. So this week I only have one message. I know there is a tendency to take Indian festivals for granted seeing as Hindus have a kajillion gods, all of them having accomplished more than an overachieving Yale graduate, thereby warranting celebrations. But don’t. Chances are one day you won’t get to experience it and you will regret the times you stayed home. If the “annoying aunties, uncles, and children in your colony” are playing loud music and not acting their age, join them. If your friends are choosing to spend the day in refusing to head out and celebrate, make them. It may not be the best time ever, but it will certainly be better than any celebration your NRI counterparts are having.
Monkeyslut (I guess that’s sticking)
I am so NRI that even when I “head home” for Easter Break, I go to Dubai. Let’s see how I fare here over the next week!