And then came Holi

Aruna gave final touches to her rava ladoos.
Growing up in Karkala, Karnataka, Holi didn’t have much significance, but marriage and then coming to this township, it had. So apart from Gudi Padva, Rakshabandhan , Dussehra, Deepavali, Holi too had an important place in her festival list now. So here she was now preparing sweets and snacks for Holi but with a heavy heart.

Newly wed, the township had welcomed her warmly and made her their own. Including Gurinder Bhalla. Both their husbands were posted at the Sinter Plant. Being of the same age and temparement they had clicked instantly. And had gone through pregnancy and child birth simultaneously. Gurinder initiated her into Punjabi cuisine and Aruna into Konkani and so on.

But because of some misunderstanding or idle gossip, Gurninder had not been talking to her for the past 2 years and that hurt; hurt badly.

She knew that on Holi you could dissolve all differences but 2 years back Gurinder’s brother who was in the Navy was transferred to the Eastern Naval Command and she would go off to celebrate Holi with her brother.

‘But the point is was our friendship based on such shallow foundation that someone’s gossip could break it? If she was hurt by some remark of mine, she could have told me on my face rather than hibernating’,thought Aruna.

Evening was Holika Dahan and although she saw Gurinder, by the time she edged towards her, she had already left.

Holi dawned and everyone played to their hearts content, while the ladies backed off by 11 am and returned to their respective homes, men and kids kept on playing till there was call for lunch. Lunch on Holi day was a ‘cluster affair’ where each family would bring their specialties at Mrs. Bannerjees Garden, her garden being the largest as it was the corner one. So while Mrs Bannerjee brought her rasgulla and luchis, Santosh her Daal Baati, Aruna her rava ladoos and appes ( a mini idli made in aebleskiver pan) and so on. Gurinder used to prepare Choley bature.

Aruna was busy making chutney when the bell rang. Thinking it must be some kid, she opened the door to find Gurinder with her platter of colors. Aruna was shell shocked and stood agape, when Gurinder asked ‘Tilak laga doon’ (Can I put a dot on the forehead) Aruna numbed in joy could only nod her assent. And then Gurinder said ‘Ladoo nahi khilayegi?’ (won’t you give me ladoos?).

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