Celebrating Holi, the Indian Festival of Color

Today and yesterday, Holi, The Indian Festival of Color, was celebrated across India and in homes throughout the world. And today, just as I do every Tuesday, I shared a cup of my homemade chai with many of you here at the Pfister.

Whenever I make chai, I think of my history, past, present, and future. I often share bits and pieces of this story with those of you who sit down with me to share yours. Today, was no different. I traveled back in time to the moment I decided to leave Milwaukee, my family, friends, and legal practice behind to live, work and explore my roots in India. That decision. That trip. That six months in India changed my life in ways that were beyond my imagination and took years to become known. Even now I am still discovering, reaching for, and holding onto those roots.

These pictures were taken almost 20 years ago. It was the first time I truly remember celebrating Holi. Working with my mamiji (my mother’s oldest brother’s wife) and her youngest daughter Shruti, my ‘sister’ and best friend during that time, to prepare the Puja (prayer offering) and then celebrate Holi.

Preparations for the Puja began days before with my mamiji stringing the cow dung that would be tied together with wood logs and dry leaves to make a bonfire that would burn away the evil spirits and “leave the world whole.”

Watching the women prepare the bonfire, sitting next to mamiji doing as she told me, and later playing Holi and finding myself covered in the colorful powder, I was in awe of the India I was just getting to know.

Its people.
My people.
Its streets.
My streets.
Its colors.
My colors.
Its traditions.
My traditions.
Its rituals.
My rituals.
Its festivals.
My festivals.

So today, I celebrate Holi, the Festival of Color. The end of winter, the beginning of spring and the start of something new. And something good.