For me, Holi was a festival of colors. The definition extended to wide miles at Budhanilkantha School.
7 AM. I came from dining hall and headed to my cubicle. I was mindful of surprises in way leading to my house. I had just heard from my friend in the dining hall about some of the plans that our seniors had engineered. We had already seen their trailer after the supper a day ago when Dais, with their faces covered in handkerchiefs, had attacked didis with water balloons when the latter were heading to their houses. The sound of water balloons splashing to the bodies was loud. It gave a clear message: Get ready for THE Holi.
Nothing untoward happened until Nimesh dashed off in our cubicle and told us about how a senior Dai left Sajal drenched while he was in toilet. Now in this moment, you really do not know how to react: hold on laughter imagining the pity condition of your friend or be really concerned about what to do next. Going to toilet was literally a nightmare then. Well, I feared myself imagining soaked to boxer. The chilling water was always 2-3 degree less faithful in BNKS. And when we were secretly laughing over how Sajal would come out of toilet, we did not know that things were not as good with us too when we heard a large commotion outside. It seemed as if large bomb explosion had sent people running around and crying for lives.
Our own friends from Byasrishi and Gaurishankar were in the corridor and were walking like really active zombies who could shout; their faces were incomprehensible by all the colors that had occupied each inch of their faces. Their hairs were ruffled and they were thoroughly wet. They had toilet buckets in their hands and they were splashing water unconscientiously on whoever they found. Yuck! Water is good…but water from toilet bucks ain’t good. They had clearly lost their insanity. I shut our cubicle door. But it was late. They had already figured that there were people inside the cubicle. Half a fraction of second later, the gang came and banged the door. Unable to resist the force, I asked Ranjit for help. Since BNKS cubicles are infamously known for having no “shutting” elements, the only way we could prevent ravenous crowds from entering our beautiful cubicle was piling our all resources which were at our disposal. The chairs and tables did not disappoint us. But we could not freeze our loyalty on these four-legged objects. Ranjit found a leeway via window and sprang. I too wanted to escape. But then the door creaked. The crowd was successful in shifting the chairs and finding sufficient gap to squeeze themselves through it. With no double thought, I climbed up the locker and covered myself with a blanket over there. My back was arced and I had to coil my legs and bring them towards my chest so as not to be human to outsider. My head was stoned against the ceiling. Never in my life was I in such position for such long and still maintained that calm composure. The gang came in and drenched my quilts, blankets, bed sheets, books everything.
When I could finally breathe, I saw the room was in mess. I slowly climbed down and saw the catastrophe with my naked eyes. I was vigorously angry. I stepped outside from the window on to the yard and yelled badly at the doers. I quickly realized, however, I should not have fumed that hard when I saw a gang of hungry and wet 3000Dians, with buckets full of water, running towards me. I staggered. The central nervous system activated immediately and advised me to run with the Forrest Gump spirit. Honestly, I had never ran that fast my entire life. However, long realization kept short: the running was futile as a gang from the opposite side captured me. I was the worst victim. As it happens in many death penalties where the culprit is asked for a final wish, the gang offered me liberty to choose my own buckets with which I wished to drench myself.
In movies, when a zombie bit a human, the human became a zombie. I, who was sneering at the doers a few minutes ago, was transformed into one such crazy zombie. Until I was drenched, I was in no mood to play Holi. But when chilling water tinged my spines and sent me off for an irreversible unrecovery mode, I gave my best to make it as worst as possible. It was fun of course. I searched all those who were still enjoying dry bodies and splashed bucketful water on them.
BNKS was a crazy place. It was also a place where the senior-junior hierarchy was strictly maintained. And it would reach all new heights during Holi. Dais would especially find Vais to make the best use of their water balloons and Vais would never fail to disappoint. BNKSians also know on how to make good use of the drainages. Drainages in BNKS have clear flowing water (most of the time). The Vais would dutifully agree to be a part of ongoing tradition: Get soaked in drain. Four seniors would hold each appendage and would slowly bring the body down to drain until the victim was completely wet from head to toe.
Exciting part however was the Holi between Teachers and Students. The Holi was a time when you could search for a teacher who did not agree to give you “A” when you could have made to the Principle’s coveted merit list. On this day, you filled water balloons with all the love and googled BNKS large territory for that teacher and if found, would attack him with all the water balloons you had. Sadly, I could not find my target that day (giggles). It was fun and pleasing. Teachers would come and enjoy playing Holi with their students.
A Holi in BNKS would, however, be incomplete if I fail to miss the Garden Pitch’s exciting Boys versus Girls encounter for which most of us waited patiently for a year. Yeah, A WHOLE YEAR! Though BNKS is co-ed, it strictly prevents mingling (I know it is bad!). I had heard some tales of our boys playing Holi with girls from our own batch in the Saraswati temple in as early as 6 AM in the morning (we need to appreciate their activeness!) back when the mingling was even more tougher.
The garden pitch was the only place and Holi, the only day in BNKS where you could come and play with girls. There were teachers, however, to take in account that something fishy did not happen. So in this Boys vs Girls Holi, everyone would come to the garden pitch and splash water from the nearby water reservoir designated for washing clothes to the opposite sex. Until now, you must have totally understood that BNKS Holi is not that connected to color as it is to water. One of my friends (who asked to be anonymous) who was not hitherto wet then and was sidelining himself with a reason of high fever, was secretly poured water from some clever girls. His body was completely drenched. You could see his body behind the transparent PT dress and his transparent half pant.
Today, I miss the moments of ecstasy as I keep myself busy to reminisce BNKS’s Holi. Should I proceed to my Alma mater to join Tashi and Dikendra? I have yet to decide.