Holi, AHIA style

Holi, one of AHIA’s flagship events, was back on this year after lockdown

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After a hiatus of two years, AHIA (Australian Hindi Indians Association) was back this month doing what it does best – getting the clan together for a spot of celebration. This time round, it was Holi, AHIA style.

There was gulal galore, hugs unlimited, chatpata food, the latest Bollywood hits, and a large dance floor that looked pretty inviting.

And of course, if you wanted Holi as you always remembered it, there was plenty of water outside too.

Holi this year has been a wonderful opportunity to break out after months of lockdown. As AHIA played out its own version of re-emergence, joining in were people of all ages – kids, teens, young adults, young families, older folk, seniors.

AHIA’s events tend to have that ‘familiar’ feel. They’re like going to a wedding where you know you will meet all your extended family – cousins and uncles and aunts (and that one relative you don’t know how you’re related to.)

holi kids

Following this, Holi at AHIA was your typical neighbourhood Holi: the deeper meaning of the festival took a backseat, all that was on the agenda was good old-fashioned Holi masti, nothing more!

Main guest for the day, the NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure cleverly read the room, and gave but a short speech wishing everyone happy festivities.

minister mark coure at ahia holi event
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure

He must have known he made the right decision when AHIA President Sushma Ahluwalia said to him at the head table, “I’m sorry Minister I cannot hold back – I have to go dance!”

The entertainment included a bit of casual naach gaana on stage, (great job there by rising star Ruhani Dhillon in leading the younger kids), and some boisterous dancing later as the DJ pumped up the volume.

And isn’t that the ultimate message of Holi – that on this one day of the year, rules are lax, and usually ‘unacceptable’ behaviour is acceptable. Contemporary Holi is a feel-good affair, a mega party in which the main element is to have fun. In the regimented drudgery of everyday life – lockdown life this time – it is therapeutic to “let go” once in a while, kick those heels up, have a great big belly laugh.

AHIA was launched in 1994. Its members are long-term, with friendships solidified over nearly thirty years. It is currently welcoming new members to come experience its special ties of kinship.

ahia holi


Pics: Tilak Kalra, Rajni Anand Luthra

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