Celebrating Holi in village Anwariya, Zila Rampur, March 2014
This post has been written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.
Z FOR ZILA RAMPUR:
Zila means district in Urdu. Rampur is a city and municipality district in Uttar Pradesh, India. This industrial hub of sugar refining and cotton milling, is most famous for its beautifully handcrafted knives, a library with over 12,000 rare manuscripts and Mughal miniature paintings, and delicious biscuits from the local “Rainbow Bakery”.
Growing up, we visited this area frequently, as my father’s close friends owns agricultural land here. His farm is located in village Anwariya in Bilaspur. It became a favoured holiday destination, as it was an experience far removed from our city lives. I recently took my 3-year-old son there, and he loved it too. From all my visits to the ‘farm’, as I’ve always called it, this is the one that really stands out.
ZEALOUSLY ZONKED IN ANWARIYA VILLAGE, ZILA RAMPUR:
For my first Holi after marriage in March 2014, my parents asked my husband and I to join them for a weekend at my uncle’s farm. I was keen to show my husband this special place from my childhood, and so we drove down for the holiday weekend.
On the morning of Holi, we played with gulaal (organic colour). We’d been discussing the festival and the traditional practice of having bhang (weed/ hemp) to celebrate. Our group, consisting of my parents, aunt and uncle, husband and I, had never tried it before; though we’d heard stories of our friends and relatives’ experiences.
Weed grew wild in the fertile environs of the farm, and my father jokingly remarked that we should try it this time for free. My uncle asked his cook to prepare something for us, and he quickly produced the most delicious bhang ke pakore (fried dumplings).
As we hadn’t eaten breakfast, the first plate of pakoras vanished in seconds. My father, quite amusingly, kept going for them as he believed nothing was happening! The rest of us also readily popped one after another, because they were simply delectable. The only one who was prudent enough to take it slow, was my husband. We hadn’t realised that weed takes time to affect the system when consumed in edible form.
Afterwards, we relaxed in the shady courtyard, enjoying the leisurely mood. My aunt and my mother were exchanging routine gossip, while I listened in. The men were busy in their own conversation. My aunt was narrating an anecdote about a suit that my mother had designed for her. She’d gifted the same suit-piece to a relative of hers, and when the women of their family were called in to meet and approve a boy for their niece, both ladies coincidentally wore the same suit.
There’s nothing particularly funny about this incident, right? Stuffed to the gills with bhang ke pakode, however, it became the funniest thing possible. We were in splits, with tears of laughter running down our cheeks. When the men asked us the cause of our mirth, all we could manage was, “hahahhahaha…. the same suit…. they both wore the same suit…. hahahahah!” They stared at us blankly, thinking we’d gone nuts; which of course we had!
After our hearty laughter session, all of us passed out. I remember the walls spinning overhead, before drifting into a deep, sweet slumber. By evening, the bhang had worn off for most of us; but my poor father who’d consumed the maximum pakodas, was nursing a terrible headache.
If you’re wondering how I remember the details so well despite being completely zonked; my husband, who was relatively sober, likes to remind me of them frequently 😉
Here ends my journey of the #AtoZChallenge 2019. If you enjoyed the stories from my travels around India and the world, I urge you to download a copy of my e-book which will be out next month. The book contains all 26 stories with a wealth of detail, and lots of mirch-masala! Farewell till the next challenge and thank you for being a part of this wonderful voyage with me 🙂
You can read all other posts from this series here:
A for Amritsar, B for Bhopal, C for Cambodia, D for Delhi, E for England, F for France, G for Gwalior, H for Hemkund Sahib, I for Italy, J for Jim Corbett National Park, K for Kamakhya Devi Temple, L for London, M for Munich, N for Naples, O for Odisha, P for Prague, Q for Qila Mehrangarh Jodhpur, R for Rishikesh, S for Singapore, T for Tarifa in Spain, U for Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir, V for Velassaru in Maldives, W for Westminster City in London, X for Xi’an in China, Y for Yorkshire in England
Bhang ke pakode anyone?!
Farm life at Anwariya, Zila Rampur
*The copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla.
**This is not a sponsored post.