I was out shopping in the corner mini market. It was evening time and suddenly there was a hullabaloo outside and a bunch of strapping young men rushed into the shop smeared with Holi powder, a virulent pink at that. Holi had gone by some time back and I was wondering what the occasion was.
When I walked out of the shop about twenty boys were hanging around all in high spirits with the tell tale pink powder smeared on them. The front of the store and the neighbouring bakery was littered with the pink powder, smeared, heaped, scattered any which way. I deduced that +12 exams had just got over and the boys were in exuberant spirits.
However, I was angry at the way they had dirtied the neighbourhood and asked them in a raised tone, “Who has done this?” each one shrugged off responsibility, or shook their heads in denial though the evidence was patent. One showed me that he was the victim for his paper had gone off extremely well and he was the nerd who had to be congratulated/ penalised.
I continued “Is this not a public place? How can you, educated and knowledgeable boys, do this?” Again there was no reply and I was being looked on by all the passers by in a strange manner. The auto drivers too, who knew me well, looked on wondering, “What has happened to this Amma she is shrieking in rage?”
I went into the bakery and cooled down, did my purchases and walked out. The heap of electric pink powder on the pavement poked fun at me. The boys who were still hanging around turned away when they saw me. “Boys! I am sorry” I said. “I should not have yelled at you. I was upset that you youngsters who are so much more aware of environment have done this. Do you think that this was correct? Should not celebrations be done in a private space, within your homes? Who has the responsibility of cleaning this mess? Then your generation blames mine for spoiling the earth and environment…”
There was silence. One lanky boy came up bravely and said, “Sorry Aunty! I did not do it but I will clean up this mess”. He then rounded up a couple of his friends, got some paper and picked up most of the powder from the pavement. When I tried to help with my creaky knees, they kindly said, “No! We will do it”.
I walked back home with a good feeling. The original fault was mine for losing my temper. The lads were on the defensive and passed the buck. Yet when I apologised, the youngsters immediately responded positively and cleaned the mess up. However, the pavement, after nearly a week still brandishes the pink stains.