Don’t Save Water – Save Holi!!!

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!!!


12 Comments Add yours

  1. amira says:

    Beautiful sentiments Sapna. One’s culture and tradition needs to be safeguarded.
    Holi and Diwali looks to me like the most enjoyable of times anyone can have.
    I relish watching these festivities on Bollywood movies.
    And your post tells me that, the fun in those festivals is not artificial – it is truly unique and builds friendship.
    Wishing a very happy Holi to you 🙂

    1. thanks Amira, been reading your last few posts with great interest. Love the issues you are bringing out . keep it up 🙂

  2. A different perspective, and I appreciate it.

    I am one of those who distance myself completely from Holi. When played with non-toxic environmentally friendly colors, when the result of holi is not pollution but fun, I doubt if as many would say the water is being “wasted”. Environmentalists like me will probably be glad to lose the debate. It will be a win-win situation.

    1. I agree mahesh, for it to be a win win we need to remove the chemicals from Holi. In our home we do that. Its either non toxic colours or just plain water. its amazing the amount of fun one can have with just plain water!

  3. It is truly sad when a culture begins to disappear. This was a fascinating glimpse into the meaning of one festival and the need to save it. Thank you

    1. its always a pleasure to have you stop by valentine. I have hit the writers block , just don’t feel like writing these days. I hope to god, this is a temporary phase and will pass. But in the meantime I would hate to lose out on all the relationships I have built here. So its nice to have you here – reaffirming. Thank you 🙂

  4. Deepa says:

    Agree with your arguments too Sapna 🙂 Yes, Holi comes once a year – but then there’s so much we can do throughout the year to save water. And yes, we have to say No to Hooliganism. Unfortunately there are unsavoury characters who find this as the perfect opportunity to resort to their tactics. Comes back to effective law and order. But yes, festivals need to be celebrated in the spirit of fun and togetherness. That’s what make it fun!

    1. Deepa says:

      Except, I would read it as “Save Water but Save Holi too!” 🙂

  5. a p a r n a says:

    well I wanted to write about it… you have done it.. Fact its, there is a lot of reason anything can be said as not good. But, it will probably kill the joy it gives. I believe that is more important than just saving something.

    1. true Aparna! I agree 🙂 One needs to weigh the pros and the cons! and in this case the pros far outweigh the cons. Thanks for stopping

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