Making Up: A Holi Special

March 25, 2024by Rajeev Hora0

A small little voice of our conscience often murmurs gently that it is not worth holding on to the grudge.

Holi is different for different people. For some it is bathing in merry colours, for others it is indulgence in boisterous revelry.  As I look back to my childhood days, my most treasured Holi memory is about being able to make up with my estranged friends. Friends with whom I had fought over stupid things and non-issues.

Our tender egos used to often hold us back from reuniting. Holi was always the trigger to repair our bruised relationships and usher in a new dawn. How thankful I was to the guy who introduced this lovely and joyous festival. A little smear of colour, a bucket of water and the long-awaited hug. Reunification was as simple as it could be.

With age, our characters evolve and stronger become our egos. ‘Making up’ gradually becomes more and more difficult. We reconcile with the fact that there will always be conflict around. A fait accompli if you may call it. Understandable no doubt. But little do we realize that while conflict is inevitable, living with it is a choice. A frivolous choice we often make for months and years. In some cases, even unto our very end.

Conflict or disputes generally arise out of a difference in attitudes, understanding, interests, requirements and perceptions. However, in all cases, feelings of injustice, distrust and vulnerability stand out in different measures. There is an overarching feeling of helplessness also at times especially when faced with a power differential. Conversely, perceived superiority in the relationship creates an element of indifference or even disdain.

A small little voice of our conscience often murmurs gently that it is not worth holding on to the grudge. Only to be drowned in the over-powering growl of justification, indignation and righteousness. The battle is within as we inwardly yearn for someone to play the conciliatory part which Holi played for us in yester years.

Today, if we look around there are very few families who do not have a court case running at some level. Knowing the state of our judicial system, resolution if at all it happens, takes years and decades in some cases. Very often, the case passes down to the next generation who had probably nothing to do with the conflict in its state of genesis.

Also, when the case is in court, no one wants to take a step back for fear of being ‘perceived to be weak’. Unstated though it may be, for a great many lawyers, continuation of the legal battle is in their best interests. A cessation causes an existential crisis. The reassurance at the beginning that it is an ‘open and shut’ case falls apart as weeks extend to months and months to years. A slow bleed often leading to amputation of the relationship.

It sinks in rather late that life is too damn short to hold on to grudges. Before we know, it will all be over. It was always about and will always be about love, bonding and relationships. We therefore need to reach out and make amends. We aren’t taking any of it along. So why take the regrets along as a parting treasure? An overdue sorry, a held-back tear or a conciliatory hug does not cost a fortune. For that matter, it may save us one.

One often wonders how the other party will react to our overtures in a distrusting world. But God only knows the tribulations they may have been undergoing all these years. A trust deficit which has built up for so long has to be therefore overcome. For that, pick up the phone and reach out yourself or ask someone to help out.

This is where the role of a mediator comes in. The mediator could be a parent, a family elder, a common friend or a professional. The key aspect is that it should be a person whom both the parties trust wholeheartedly. In complex cases, I would suggest that one should approach a credible professional for mediation.

For long, many people have confused mediation with arbitration. The two are however quite different methods of conflict resolution. In arbitration, a dispute is submitted, and a judgement call/ binding decision is taken by one or more appointed arbitrators.

Alternatively, mediation is a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute come together to try and find an acceptable and workable solution to their problem with the help of an impartial third party/neutral. This well-meaning person facilitates communication and promotes voluntary decision making by the parties in dispute.

Mediation is indeed a complex endeavour. It requires patience, empathy, negotiation & communication skills, a convergent frame of mind, knowledge of law and a trusting personality. Mediation saves money and time no doubt, but most importantly, it generally saves the relationship as well.

The fantastic part is that a worldwide success rate of close to 85% has been recorded in mediation. To be able to achieve that, the basic requirement is that the conflicting parties should be ready to come to the negotiating table in good faith. Not a very difficult proposition if the ‘will’ overcomes the ‘ego’. That’s all there is to it!

If this small note today happens to be a stimulus to save even one relationship, it would indeed be worth it.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Conflict-free Holi!

Horax (Casper)

Postscript: It is remarkable how the weather changes precisely on this festival day. A sign from above to steer the change we always wanted in our lives!

First published at on 25/03/24

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