Quick, think of spring and what comes to mind? The festival of Holi, of course!! Think of Holi and what springs to mind? ‘Gulal’ or dry colours in bright shades, ‘pichkaris’ or water pistols, and buckets of water to drench people, right?
Think of Holi and you think of two places in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh where the festival has a special status. First, the area known as Brajbhoomi comprising Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan, Gokul (all connected to Lord Krishna’s birth, childhood and early youth) and Barsana (Radha’s village).
Janamashtmi, or the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna — the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu — is celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour all over India. It falls on the eighth day of the waning moon in the month of Shravan in August/ September.
Kamla Mathur was born and brought up in Etah, a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Now, at 65, she lives in Delhi and reminisces fondly of the Holi she and her siblings celebrated at ‘home’, in the area called Brajbhoomi, the land where the Braj dialect of Hindi is spoken.
May 11: The residents of the Rajasthan State Electricity Board colony in Heerapur, 12 km from Jaipur, are in shock. They don’t know how to reconcile to the sudden, unexplained deaths of 19 peacocks in their colony in the first week of May.
Eleven years ago, under the sequinned sky on a warm summer day, on the roof of his palatial home in the town of Vrindaban, my grandfather introduced me to wonder. As I lay on a mattress surrounded members of the family, my grandfather or “Nana” as I used to call him, asked me to look at the sky and try to spot the patterns and the constellations.
The doorbell rang. ‘Now darling remember all that I have told you,’ said Ma for the umpteenth time as she nervously opened the door. There stood Grandma in her white saree, as upright as ever with the perpetual stern look on her face.
Dear Vishrut and Anushrut,
I forget the name of a short story by W.Somerset Maugham that I read long ago-perhaps you will read it some day. But I still remember the story and in particular one sentence from it.
September 9: Five-year-old Krishna and four-year-old Rama are two very bright brothers. They are too young to join school but they know by heart all the textbooks of the primary school.
The little geniuses, however, are not Indian!
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