Saturday, August 23, 2014

Holi – Canadian Style!

Today I played Holi* after ten years! In Canada! Yes, I know you are thinking, “Holi in August?! Is she crazy?” Well, it wasn’t exactly Holi but for me and my friends it was. We participated in a five kilometer walk/run called “Run or Dye”. It is a fun event where everybody gets a packet of coloured powder dye to put on other people. It was so much fun to put the colour on my friends’ clothes, faces and hair.

Thanks to my friend Niyati for this pic

I am by no means athletic or a runner. But I signed up for this run just for fun. My friend who invited me to register for this said “It will be like playing Holi”. She was probably going to say more, but I stopped her right there by saying, “I’m in. You don’t have to give me any other reasons to join”. I did my 5K by alternating running with walking. At every kilometer on the running path, there were “dye stations”, where runners were bombarded with one colour by the organizing staff. I made sure I stopped at every one of those so that I could get all the different colours – green, blue, orange and pink on me. It was a beautiful experience. The whole atmosphere was full of energy and fun. Everybody looked excited and happy. After the run, we danced to the music played by the DJ. I did some bhangra moves to English music. In other words, “Marjaani paundi bhangra, angreji beat te”.

Thanks to my friend Niyati for this pic
At the end of the day, I am tired and sore but I feel fulfilled in so many ways. My physical self is happy because I worked out. My social self is happy because I hung out with my friends. My IBCD** self is happy to have played Holi and danced Bhangra. What a wonderful day!

*An Indian festival where people put color on each other

** Indian Born Canadian Desi

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You know you’ve been gone from India too long when...

Recently, I visited India after a gap of four years (my longest gap yet).  Because of the relatively longer gap, there were certain things, done by either me or others that surprised me, or made me think. Based on those, I have compiled the following list.

You know you’re visiting India after a long time when
  • You leave a one foot gap between you and the person in front of you in a queue.
  • You drink only bottled water.
  • You take five minutes to cross the road (which you used to cross in five seconds).
  • You have this expression on your face anytime you are in an automobile on the road:

(In other words, you are now doing all those things that you once thought were ridiculous when your NRI* cousins/uncles/aunts did it when they visited you in India)
  • Being addressed as ma’am or sir by people (salespersons, waiters etc.) feels new to you.
  • You are surprised when a random female stranger in the mall pinches the cheeks of your baby (with affection) - without asking or telling - while you are holding her.
  • You are surprised when salespersons offer to hold your baby while you shop.
  • You smile when this happens to you because you know “it happens only in India”: You are asked by a salesman in Shoppers Stop (a department store) to sign up for their rewards card. You say it would be no use to you as you live in Canada. The salesman replies with a little sadness and a little hope, “Ma’am phir kisi relative ko card de dena” (Translation: Then give your points card to a relative in India). 
*Non-Resident Indian