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Monday, March 05, 2007

Holi khele Digambar...

Digambar refers to Lord Shiva, and literally means "space clad" or "one who wears the directions" ,id est, without clothes. (Pitambar on the other hand means one who wears yellow(pit or peet) clothes (ambar), and refers to Lord Krishna.)

I remember watching the song (Holi khele Digambar...) on TV which was being telecast live from Varanasi (also known as Banaras or Kashi), the nerve centre of Hindutwa in North India.

I was listening to the entrancing song describing how Lord Shiva plays Holi with his companions and followers- the bhoots and pisachs when suddenly I found everyone ( Uncle, Aunty, Dida, Didi) looking at me. I realized I was drowsing while sitting on the sofa!

Lesson learnt: Never underestimate the power of bhaang

It is a drink or thandai made from milk, sugar, dry fruits like badaam (almonds), kaaju (cashew nuts), kismish (raisins), and spices like peppercorn and elaichi (cardamom), ( sometimes fresh/dried rose petals are added too :the Gulkand variety) The powdered buds and leaves of Cannabis gives the drink an intoxicating (in my case somniferous and laughter-inducing) effects. It all depends on the concentration.

A word of caution to the naive and curious like me: Don't have more than a glass even if it is insanely delicious.

Someone had opined- "Holi is a festival for hooligans." I don't recollect resorting to Hooliganism while playing Holi except once. It was in 2005- and I was playing it with my Jija ji ( Cousin sister's husband: I call him Dadai) and we played so long that I ran out of colors. I decided to take out eggs from the fridge and I broke them on his head. He was cool about it but when I said I was going to work up some mud from a puddle, he gave up , raised his hands and said :"I surrender"

Last year, on Holi I was stranded at Dumdum airport and we were coming back to Delhi after Bro's visa interview at Kolkata. So it was colorless. I thought this year wouldn't be any different. Only if I knew....

I went out to my TM's (Deepika Ganguly) place with a colleague where she treated us to the special Holi gujiyas and then asked her husband to offer us "bhaang". An elderly gentleman volunteered to say -" Bitiya is mein bhaang hai"( "Daughter, this has bhaang in it").

I just nodded to show that I was well aware and gulped it down- one whole glass and my first time. Come on ! I was not going to let go of the opportunity. And anyways I was not driving :P
Then we went to Rahul Da and Emon di's place where we were invited for lunch. It always bothers me how to address them. She is related to me : she is my mamato bonner mamato bonner mastuto bonn (don't bother).

And I know Rahul da too coz they worked in the same office in my department before marriage. I can either address them as Dada-boudi (Elder brother and sister-in-law) or Didi-jamaibabu (Sister and brother-in-law). For some reason, I choose a midway and have continued calling them Emon di (short for Didi: elder sister) and Dada (elder bro).Chuck it. It's so confusing. It's the feelings that matters.

It was fun spending the day there. The icing on the cake was Rahul da's Dida ( maternal grandmom) who reminded me of my own thakuma (paternal grandmom) when she was touching my face to feel it and bless me when I gave her a pronaam. (bending to touch the feet of elders to greet and show reverence).

All in all. It was a great day. And we cheered to Lord Shiva by screaming "Jai Bholenath ki" before drinking 2 more glasses of bhaang again after playing on the roof at Rahulda and Emondi's house.
It was wonderful to watch the newly wedded couple chasing each other to put color.

Finally, we ended up playing Holi with water. Soaking wet, a cold breeze and the sun shining bright. It was a strange combination. Dida joined us too and it was great playing with her. I loved the way she was relentless in trying to color my teeth. I kept a closed mouth and the only thing that was recognizable about me later were my teeth (see pic below). The rest of me resembled one of the Bhootnath's (another name for Shiva) followers: those ghosts.

On the roof. Can't remember why I was laughing. I only recall I just could not stop. It seems I found an angle of humor to everything. And it was one of those weirdest smiles I ever had. Hardly a care in the world. (Magnify at your own risk. I'm not going to pay for the hospital charges if you have a heart-attack)

Don't remember looking more ashen and ghostly or feeling more awesome either. That was Holi for me .. maybe for a long, long time to come. And the first and the last time I had bhaang.


sudipto said...

i am really jealous of u..!! it has been long that i cudnt evetn touch colors..!!this south indian people dont even know what is holi...!those were the days when i was in delhi...really miss those a lot..!and yes...again the invincible bhaang....that like a dream to me now..!!

Aparna Kar said...

Wow! that's a strong thing to say. They have different festivals down south which are intriguing- I'd suggest u enjoy them to the fullest while you are in South India.
Coz when u come back up north, u might miss them :)

And yeah- I vouch again- that was the first and the last time I ever had bhaang. Never tasted anything more delicious or more dangerous. I think my head is still reeling a bit ...
Jai Jai Shivshankar! Bom Bhole! :D

Aparna Kar said...

Btw, you can refer to the 108 Names of Lord Shiva, here

sudipto said...

ofcourse i can njoy those south indian festivals in their way but i can tell u i m never going to miss them..!!

but another thing i can tell u...when the time comes u cannot resist the magic of bhaang...may be next year again u'll say let me taste for the last time...after that u'll never touch....:-)!!may be dangerous..but definitely u can njoy in ur own way....:)!!

candid diary said...

Good to know that the experiment will be your last one. People having too much of Bholanath’s Prasad become like Him (I am not hinting at becoming Digambar) – with all sorts of neurological problems.
Nice read anyway.


The thing about BHaang is .... wen u start, u can't stop..and the moment u stop, u swear not to start again!!!

and check this out...did u know that bhaang is actually the same thing marijuana is made of???....and trust me on this...i know more about herbal medicines (as i call it :P ) than most of the ppl here.

but well..i guess atleast it added a smile on your face...and that too for a loooong time i gueess...

and don't ask wat i did this HOLI!! :D


as for the orkut account, my name is not Intel inside...and i guess the time i spoke to was something which even i don't remember.. right now it is "Sk !"

so i guess u can never find me thr...



0h..and btw...i had 7 glasses of bhaang this holi..


knocked out for the next day too..


abir said...

damn !!!
now to maintain my polished demeanour, i am jealous of u to say the least ... i never played holi much 'coz of these skin rashes i wd be down with but i did enjoy my bit ... put colour in the overhead water tank and sprayed every1 with the lawn hose ...

but the *bhaang* ... that's smth i wanna try ... dint get a chance in the land of bholenath ... and canada - can't seem to find it here !!!

not enough indians arnd here with the spirit for holi and the resources for bhaang :(

hv to get hold of it quick - the cannabis - let's say this was ur first time, let's have a shot together next yr and that'll be ur last ... wat say?

p.s. that pic is wonderful ... i'm tempted to do wat Dida tried - colour ur teeth!!!

Aparna Kar said...

"polished demeanour"? I thought u were planning to let your hair loose for a while :P
Sorry about the skin rashes- try playing with those organic colors- they might help. Don't go for pakka rang
About Bhaang- it's once in a lifetime experience. Should be. Make sure you have a couple of good friends or your family with u. Getting intoxicated and being alone is not a good idea. Who knows you might fancy yourself as Lord Shiva and try to wrap a live snake around your neck.. tahole-e hoyeche

And about having a shot together -Lol. Would be a bit of trouble that one. If we are both knocked out- who's gonna take care of whom?
It's better if u hv it and I mother u and reprimand if necessary. :D

Btw, thanks for finding the pic wonderful. Someone told me it's going to scare people away :))

And wanting to color my teeth is a queer idea ! Try doing that.. maybe u'll accomplish Dida's mission :)

sudipto said...


bhaang is no once in lifetime experience....u can try as many times u want....:)!!! and if u wanna be out of control once in a year....i dont think thats a sin...:)!!!

abir said...

totally agree to the fact that we shd drink under supervision ... i have this sad habit of not being able to give up control unless i'm assured smone else wl take it ... talk abt letting m' hair down :D

and lady, don't u dare mother me - getting mothered is the last thing i want

Aparna Kar said...

"don't u dare mother me "
ooh!I am scared! :P

saikat said...

bhang n holi :sigh:

i really miss both em...preparing one (dont drink after the tryst with final destination in FYR grads)and playing like mad with colours..

ppl who have played with me..n who know away from me the day before colours hit the market :D

i zimply love this festival..dunno why..but maybe insanity and different colours of life have a symbiotic relationship somewhere...

abt this year sadly am stuck down south at some place where colours are just black n white i guess...dint play it :(( this yr...

but was sloshed out sloshed out that i was talking to someone bhangaholic :D over phone...n in between after the phone was disconnected dint even realize to call back :(

more stories over bhang n me later :)

tc..keep smiliN :)

Aparna Kar said...

having 3 glasses of bhaang hardly qualifies someone as bhaangaholic!!
I protest :P

but must be smthng playing wth u.
accha chal promise- teri shaadi mein tere biwi k samne tujhe rang dungi.. usko pehle se samjha ke rakhna.. ki apun ka equation thoda alaag hai .. ekdam do bhai maafik :D
kyu theek hai na?

aur colors bole to bidu.. khud laane ka.. nahi to akkhha life mein black n white hi dekhne ko milega.
wo kehte hai na-

kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta
kahin zameen to kahin aasman nahin milta
jisey bhi dekhiye woh apne aap mein goom hai
zuban mili hai magar humzuban nahin milta
kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta….

bujha saka hai bhala kaun waqt ke sholey ko
yeh aisi aag hai jis mein dhuaan nahin milta
kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta….

tere jahan mein aisa nahin k pyar na ho
jahan umeed ho iski wahan nahin milta
kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta
kahin zameen to kahin aasman nahin milta…

apun ne to soch liya... ek tukda zameen aur ek tukde aasman se hi apun khush rahega... nahi to kya hai na.. ansoon gir jaatey hai aur usey chumne wala nahin milta...

saikat said...

aila hindi main shero - shayari .. kya mizaaz hain miya :P

mere shaadi main mujhe rang degi...abe dimaag kharaab hain kya...zindagi main 1 din to nahaa dhoke saaf dikhne ka mauka de :P..pata chala shaadi he pehle hi appu bhai ke dar se meri biwi mandap choorke bhaag gayi :D

ansoon gir jaatey hai aur usey chumne wala nahin milta...
dil toot jaate hain par use joodne wala mom nahii milta
kashti ko sawaar to kayii sawaari hote hain...
par doobne se bachane wala koi humsafar nahii milta

aadab arz hain :)

Aparna Kar said...

waah waah! waah waah!
Bahut khoob!

abbe tu nahata nahi hai?ab pata chala woh socks tere hi they.. kya baas mar rahe they yaar.. murda bhi zinda ho k bhaag jaye.. naha liya kar nalayak.. nahi to shaadi k liye koi ladki raazi nahi hogi..

waise aaj apun ka mood bann gaya apni rastriya bhaasha mein baat karne ka..

bole to kabhi to hindustani banne ko mangta na mamu!

Aparna Kar said...

@candid diary
I know what u mean and I'll keep it in mind.
Waise did u know it acted as anti-depressant?
I'm not hinting that I'd like to try again.
Anything in excess is fatal.. and I'm well aware of the neurological repercussions.. lose of discretion , hallucination, mild to acute schizophrenia..

My dad didn't like it and I'll do nothing that doesn't please him.. So chill and a belated Happy Holi :)

P.S. First and last time I had that weedshake.. I believe u know that I try my best to keep my word?

saikat said...

aila those socks were not mine :X ...i used to have regular interactions with the liquid we pour on our body coz of reasons well known to u :P

now when do i expect a comment on my blog from you :X

Aparna Kar said...

saikat ko gussa kyu aata hai?? :P
how abt now?
the trouble is I can't click on ur name to get ur link .. I've to get back to my main page.. :(

sushilsingh said...

Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated in almost every parts

with great fun and frolic. The joys of Holi know no bound. The festival is

celebrated across the four corners of India or rather across the globe. However,

each part of the country has its own way of celebrating Holi in a different way.

Let's have a look at how Holi is celebrated in different part of the country
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