HomeCynical DesiA Wholly Unholy Holi

A Wholly Unholy Holi

An estimated 80,000 people attended the 2013 Festival of Colors in Utah. In the back is Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah.

By Sid Sharma
The Cynical Desi

(Note from the Editor: Holi is celebrated by Hindus in India to usher in Spring. They believe spring is full of colors so they pour water on each other. The celebration has spread to college campuses and in many part of the United States.)

I was eating stale sushi, alone and unsatisfied. Despite many years of trying, my fingers never quite got used to chopsticks so there was much spastic fumbling. The smattering of rain outside seemed mocking and irritating. I was having one of those nights where I’d have to cry myself to sleep listening to an Enya song.

“How did it come to this?” I sighed while attempting to comfort myself with the bitter tea.

Maybe I was lonely. Maybe having a nice girl to hug me would make me feel loved. So I did what any degenerate millennial would do: I unlocked my phone, opened tinder and furiously swiped right. I wasn’t even looking at their profiles since any port would do in a storm.

After some time, this too seemed hopeless. I called it a night and walked home kicking a rock along trying to make sense of my situation. I remembered reading some Jewish philosopher from the early 20th century saying that a man had to be among his own to become whole and self actualized. Maybe I should be hanging out with Indians? Maybe I should pick up Bollywood dancing?

Ah how convenient that Holi was coming up. What better way for me to reconnect with “my people” than through a shared community ritual? It should be a tribute of vitality and celebration of life. Perhaps that could rescue me from my funk.

I had memories of the holiday from my shy youth in India. Kids would throw that irritating powder in my eyes and I spent the rest of the day red eyed and pissed off. My only revenge would be counting down the days until I could leave for America. Maybe I was always like this.

Ok, where can I find a Holi festival? The bureaucracy of fun was always tedious. The internet seemed like the only place to try. The pictures of the festival were nauseating. It looked like a dance music festival. This was the worst kind of theft and cultural appropriation. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t pretend that I was the same as these people. It was a stupid lie that I could be among their company and “fit in.”

I would not celebrate Holi in such a public and vulgar way. My culture has been prostituted and commodified by greedy hands. Why should I try to fit into such a morally bankrupt charade?


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