“Holi Pe Kya Pehenoge?” How to Win this Debate with Mom

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“Holi Pe Kya Pehenoge?” How to Win this Debate with Mom

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

“D

o me a favour, let’s play Holi.”

But before the pichkari and fugga battle can break out on the society playground, a cold war has to end at home. You’ve got to deal with this million-dollar question that has been bothering mommy since you returned home last Holi, doused in all shades of red, gold, green, and dirty yellow: What to wear this year?

Years of debate, which tends to get more heated than “Arnab Goswani on the Debate”, has made you wiser. There are few ground rules to follow before this elaborate selection process begins.

Rule No 1 is, it can’t be something you bought within the last year, no matter how much you hate it now. It will bring out the classic, “Ye toh ek baar bhi nahi dhula hai!” response. No matter how old, it can’t be something white, unless you are attending a hipster Holi party in Bandra or GK-II. Remember, mom is a complete non-believer when it comes to the “daag acche hai” theory.  

What’s worse than soggy chips? Walking around in soggy chappals. Save your Kolhapuris and slip into your worn-out Hawai chappals that are almost coming apart, even if that means putting your entire body at the risk of injury. To sum it all up, everything from your chaddi to your ego, must be on the verge of disposal.

It’s Advantage Mom if she has already raised the big Holi question last evening. Tread carefully. She already has something in mind. And she is going to dismiss your choice and make her suggestion straightaway. When it comes to clothes and career choices, the law of the universe is that your mom’s taste and yours is inversely proportional.

Mom has her Holi agenda set and you are left playing the role of the opposition, who is not going to roll over easily and has a plan of its own.

The old comfortable shirt that you bought seven years ago from a roadside Som Bazaar for 70 bucks, is the last thing you want to get rid of. You love it more than Subramanian Swamy loves controversy and you wear it every other day. It’s your comfort tee. But mom has had her eyes set on it like a clinical sniper for months, and this is the moment she was waited for. She could have converted it into a pochha while you were away, but moms believe in fair play. She wants to give it a graceful exit because you loved it and so she’ll coerce you into wearing it for Holi in the passive-aggressive way that is second nature to maternal species.

Mom has her Holi agenda set and you are left playing the role of the opposition, who is not going to roll over easily and has a plan of its own. After all, you can’t keep hanging from mama’s apron all the time – besides, you have our own set of shirts that don’t deserve to be in your life anymore. By which I mean, the shirt mum bought you on your last birthday. Convincing her though, will be the equivalent of convincing Trump to save immigrants and do away with guns. Then again, is it really an auspicious desi festival if it doesn’t begin with an argument in the family over something really silly and inconsequential?  

The sly thing to do is pick that one T-shirt you hate the most – the tacky one your mum’s cousin’s wife gifted you last Diwali – hoping that mum doesn’t notice it, and count your blessings. But the likelihood of that utopia is as low as watching Nirav Modi chakki peesing in Arthur Road Jail. If none of this works and the argument with mum goes awry, you can at least fall back on the tried and tested Holi cliché, “Bura na maano, Holi hai.”

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