As a child I loved Holi. It was a no holds barred festival. We planned and plotted, days in advance on the various strategies we would use to colour everyone.Carefully saved pocket-money was used to buy colors. Old pichkaris were retrieved and tested. The testing providing oodles of fun! Bucketful of little balloons were filled the previous night. Holi did not only mean colours. It meant masti. It was the one day when adults kept aside their unending chores and joined us children in just playing. It was amazing to see ones usually demure mom, masi, chachi dump buckets of water on the neighbouring aunty’s saree covered head.
Holi meant going to homes of relatives and neighbours not to sit in their ‘perfectly furnished’ drawing rooms, but to be welcomed into their porches/ chowks/ verandahs. So much more fun to eat pakodas/chips or gujia from a platter being passed around than to eat ‘properly’ from a bone china plate, constantly checking to ensure no crumbs have fallen on the host’s kashmiri carpet.’Dhulandi’ or the day when one played holi was the one ‘hindu’ festival that had no rigorous rituals attached to it. No god to be worshipped, no special puja to be performed. The day when it was acceptable for the lady of the house to step out of the kitchen and have some fun with her family.
Holi meant Fun. It meant singing songs from old Bollywood hits and being absolutely silly. It meant lowering ones defences and letting people peep into the childish side of ones personality. It meant letting go of carefully kept appearances. It meant cracking jokes, giving titles. Metaphorically holi meant forgiving and forgetting. The one day when you buried your grudges and repaired relationships. The day when you made friends. Holi meant tolerance. Tolerance to being ‘dirtied’. Tolerance to being wet. Tolerance to being the butt of a practical joke. Tolerance to others idea of fun.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I increasingly hear people say “We don’t play holi, we rather go away on a short trip somewhere”. And be in our own neat, perfect, little, private world unruffled as always. Or my frustration when I see my six-year-old try to control his excitement on getting a new ‘pichkaris‘ because his ma’am at school has told him it’s “bad to play holi”
I know the arguments.
Holi means wasting water. Yes, it does. But so much more water is wasted when we take showers instead of ‘bucket baths’. And that water we waste everyday! I don’t hear anyone saying “We have decided to not have a shower head in our bathroom. You see it wastes water” Or that “We have decided to do away with our lawn, such a waste of water. We use the public park instead”.
Holi means hours of scrubbing and cleaning afterwards. Yes, it does. But that is a small price to pay in my opinion for the fun and camaraderie it generates.
Holi means ‘hooliganism’. Sadly, sometimes that is true too. But it is not the way it is supposed to be. ‘Hooliganism’ is a mass mob mentality that needs to be curbed. Lets say no to ‘hooliganism’ not to Holi
Our festivals make us different. They tie us together. They make our culture vibrant and our lives colorful. Lets not be in a hurry to give them up. The crackers of Diwali and the colours of Holi are the unique manifestation of who we are as a ‘people’ . Lets cherish them. The pursuit of a cleaner, healthier environment is a noble cause and should be reflected in our day-to-day living. Lets not make our festivals bear the burden of it.
I say Don’t save water – Not Today!
Save water everyday – Today lets Save Holi!!!