Well, it came and went, whether you partook in its oh-so-colorful epic high or not. Cantered on by, it did. Just like all things, beings, and seasons that pass through our lives, precisely when they’re supposed to, right?
The end-start of February-March brought about posts on social media reeking with images of foreign bodies generously endowed with Holi ka rang.
Yeh teri Holi, hai na? This is your Holi, isn’t it?
A multiple-day celebration of spring cast off as a two hour show.
A status update, to let the inhabitants of your micro world know what you’ve been up to.
Like. Share. Tweet and retweet. Clip.
Gotta post that meticulously commissioned shot tho.
It’s proof of how you embrace diverse cultures, of how you acknowledge their existence.
All tracing back to you and how worldly your endeavors are.
It’s proof of your identity, the diasporic veins yearning for pulses of connection.
Yeh meri Holi, hai na? This is my Holi, isn’t it?
I can’t find Holi.
Does it even exist?
A stripped bare form devoid of any substance is surely somewhere here in:
the New York news reports and magazines, runs of color, and the picture-of-the-week posts.
Never the kind that takes place in my homeland.
In this hostland of mine, I doubt that I will find it whole.
When I do near its radar, it’s dark.
Soon the flames from a square, concrete brick fire pit warm my face.
I stand in a crowd, staring the center, challenging the flames to start something.
To move me. To hear my voice.
A trail of ghee glistens and I hear the crackling of a coconut’s shell.
My bare feet shift here and there against the wet parking lot floor.
I am reunited with a lived woman, one that I had greeted earlier.
Individually and as a group, clockwise.
Dhani is offered into the fire, water around it.
Off to the side, I see children and adults alike transgressing gendered norms.
I grin and wonder how deep, if at all, will these colors seep into one’s skin and being.
* * *
Bhatt was born in Gujarat, India, and grew up in and currently resides in southern California. Bhatt has a BA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in sociology and a minor in Asian American studies. Find Bhatt on Twitter @monsoonchai or at www.monsoonschai.wordpress.com.