Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Memory of a holi from my childhood

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From DALL-E to the prompt “In the style of impressionist painting, people playing Holi with sweets dropping from the sky”

One of my strongest holi memory is of my father in my childhood. It has to do with sweets and mischief. My dad was the outgoing, vibrant, extrovert in the family. The rest of us took after our introvert mom. It is hard to not love holi although I used to treat it as spectator sport. The kind where you stay close enough to the periphery of the crowd and keep a lookout for the fastest escape routes dodging the hands and water balloons. My formative years were spent next door to a temple where they celebrated Holika and that was more of my thing. Holika is celebrated the night before holi, at the temple it was a respectable family gathering huddled around a large bonfire. I was that kid that wanted to watch bonfire all night long. Anyways, back to dad. He was short and agile with a wonderful head of curly hair and he would go out in his white Kurta-Pajama (must do for holi so colors show up) and be front and center of the procession that moved from one house to another, bringing colors and loud cheers, and cajoling people to join the crowd.

It is also customary for receiving families to present sweets to the crowd. One of the loved sweets is rasogolla, fluffy round (“golla“) cheese balls in sweet sugar syrup (“ras“). The cheese balls bob around in the sweet syrup, and you simply pick up the balls, squeeze lightly to get rid of excess syrup and pop it in your mouth. The leftover syrup is often used in making other things like chutneys.

In this memory, one of the receiving family brings out a large pot of rasogollas. My dear pater along with the rest of the crowd, partakes in the enthusiastic process of consuming them. As soon as the rasogollas are depleted, he picks up the bowl of syrup and dumps it on the head of the unsuspecting family member who was holding the pot. Don’t get me wrong, by this time, practically everyone is wet with the colored water balloons and there is color everywhere. But that action draws a gasp of horror (“OMG”) from me. The crowd starts cheering, the syrup soaked family member is grinning sheepishly.

This memory is gem in my collection. My other memories of dad are almost all academic in nature, all about education and career and being hardworking, just and honorable. I don’t have another memory where he is causing mischief.

Father and mother: I had used my Pixel’s scanner to scan the photo. It wasn’t in a good shape with significant discoloration and insect damage. I mostly used Lightroom to trim, heal and used masks to enhance specific regions including adding color to the background.

This is a photo of my father and mother I have been working on restoring. My dad has been very sick the last several years, and my parents are often on my mind. Working on their photo has given me a chance to surface some of these cherished memories instead.

This one was taken over 50 years ago, when my parents were first married. The town is Moirang in the Indian state of Manipur. It is situated close to state capital Imphal. Even today it has a population of ~60,000 people spread across 67 villages. Dad started his career in Indian government as a doctor and it was customary to be posted in the remote corners of the country.

This is a posed photo with a professional photographer. My mom is a very accomplished photographer, but I guess this ritual was required for newly weds then. Probably a good thing too because my newly wed photos are self taken and while they are creative they are otherwise a disaster as far as image quality is concerned.

My dad isn’t wearing his glasses even though he is fairly myopic, but if he were, the eyeglass frame would be considered fashionable today. I am glad he isn’t because I see a bit of the mischief in his eyes that goes into explaining the holi story. My mom’s eyes capture the curiosity that I associate with her personality.

I am no longer sure how much of this memory presents truth, but now that the photo-editing course is behind me, I am also no longer worried if this memory is embellished.

Written by locomotoring

March 12, 2023 at 12:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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