For people like me, brought up in the “south” in a southern populated neighbourhood, Holi is just another day. In our school days in Bangalore, Holi was a working day, so the question of colouring each other never did arise. At best it was a smattering of haldi and kum kum on the forehead. Only those children from the traditional “north”, for whom it was a big celebration, would miss school, and when they returned we would be awe struck by their pink and purple faces.
These days, in an effort to save myself from what I find a totally unnecessary and wasteful mess, it is a day when I don’t need to step out of the doors of my home. It is not that I am anti-Holi. Just anti-the-way-Holi-is-celebrated-today. Several days before the actual day, one finds children “having fun”, filling up plastic packets with water and throwing them at each other. By the time Holi actually arrives, we’ve generated thousands of plastic bags, and spent thousands of litres of water, when people around the world are fighting to reduce garbage and are desperate for water.
Come Holi and societies in Mumbai erect elaborate sprinkler set-ups for “rain dance”. Simply put, it is many many people having a community shower bath with clothes on, out in the open with music, and of course, with colour powders and liquids that vandalise the floors and walls of your property, render your clothes unwearable, and your skin stained for several days. Not to mention the alcohol that makes all of this more enjoyable. Suggestions of a dry Holi is just not acceptable to “society”. “Just once a year, how does it matter!”
With Whatsapp and other social media, one neither needs to get coloured nor wet to feel the spirit of Holi. I saved all the jpgs, gifs and mp4s that people have taken the trouble to make and share to wish us all a Happy Holi!
Pics courtesy misc Whatsapp groups