The Ides of March

“Beware the Ides of March” was what W.S. had warned us of, but with due apologies to him and the soothsayer and J.C, one can only hope that instead of being wary, you actually get to rejoice today - for this Ides of March happens to be on an alternate Wednesday and ergo - the TT day!

Coincidentally, the Ides of March in 44 BC also might have been on a Wednesday, working backwards from our way of calculating, but no one in Rome would have thought of it as a Wednesday as the calendar was different and more so, because there was no TT in those days. So, unlike the 23 stab wounds that were inflicted on Caesar (with the last being the “most unkindest cut of all”), may this Ides bring in 23 different types of balm to help soothe those wounds and may another “Et tu Brute” scenario never occur again, despite the modern day Cascas, Cassius’ and Brutus’ honing their talents and sharpening their talons, to probably mercilessly rip through the present day Caesars.

If the Ides of March would have been the day before yesterday, one could have tried to use “wasta” and have it declared a holiday or at least Holi-day, since the people back home were anyway celebrating Holi - the festival of colours, where red was not the predominant one, quite unlike that holiday in 44 BC when blood-red was the preferred colour of that day, as their bloody “hands did reek and smoke” as they “pluck'd (their) cursed steel away” to let the blood of Caesar flow, which ultimately did “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

Unlike those Romans who played their game in the Senate hall, those from India and a few other countries play a different type of Holi, which is not restricted to only the halls of the Parliament, but is celebrated across the country with zeal and fervour, on the ground and in the skies too - what with the staff of one of the spicier airlines from India, deciding to celebrate the festival by dancing in the aircraft to the tune of the popular Bollywood number:
Balam pichkari jo tuney mujhe maari,
toh seedhi saadhi chhori sharabi ho gayee…
(loosely translated to mean “O sweetheart, when you splashed the Holi colour on me, this simpleton got inebriated… .”)

For the uninitiated, Holi, known as the ‘festival of colours’ represents the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. It also touches on deeper themes: of the passing of the seasons and the illusory nature of the material world. But essentially it is a ‘no-holds-barred’ day and the cry of Bura na mano Holi hai meaning “Don’t you dare get offended, for it’s Holi”, rends through the air as the young and old alike revel in the celebrations.

As Kate Smith, a tourist visiting India, wrote in her blog: “Colour and variety are synonymous with the culture, beliefs, and way of life. A country steeped in traditions, it charms and bedazzles all her visitors with a kaleidoscopic rendezvous. Every street, every city and every corner has a story to tell - all you have to do is listen.”

However, this year in Muscat, Holi was a relatively tame affair as it happened to fall on a working day, and those days of yore when one would celebrate and revel with friends on the weekend prior to the actual day of the festival, seems to have now been buried under the sands of time and the debris of memories.

The revelry this time was of a different kind; it included basking in the gracious presence of our Guru while our four-legged baby has shamelessly shifted allegiance and is perpetually lying either at his feet or outside his room, completely ignoring his so-called-Master, which happens to be me, moi! As a double bonus, we got the absolute pleasure of having our lovely Kamini Aunty in town, who turned a young 89 four days ago. A very happy birthday Chachi and welcome back to Muscat!

And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:

  • Do you know that most people desire peace of mind, but do not mind giving a piece of their mind to the others, which takes away everyone’s peace of mind?
  • Do you know that there are some people who are absolutely the best at being the worst?
  • Do you know that calling some people vain would actually be an insult to vanity, as calling some people stupid is an insult to stupidity?

Till next fortnight… .

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