As Holi arrives, we hear the verse “Bura na mano, Holi hai!’ quite often.
Perhaps, there are people who get irritated, agitated and easily offended when someone sprays colours on them.
Personally speaking, it’s an all-time fun to watch colourful streets, trays full of sweets, pyramids of boys trying to break the pot full of buttermilk, the splash and sprinkles of coloured water on the pure white tee, making it the most flamboyant attire I could possibly have. In a snap, the daily busy casual surrounding turns into a radiant canvas of colours.
If we keep aside all the mythological and religious slants of celebrating this day, then Holi is prominently associated with colours and, so, rightly called the festival of colours.
However, the core essence of this frolic festive day seems to be lost somewhere between partying on Honey Singh’s rap songs and smearing colours onto someone as if they were the missed out targets from long that you finally get your hand on this day. We find wild hordes of youngsters wandering around the streets screaming and chasing. And once the target is in hand, the street fight begins.
Holi, the frolic festival for youngsters. (Others)
What bothers me is the irony that Holi, the festival for celebrating nature and its colours in all its hues, does not look colourful and mollifying anymore. Rather, today it is celebrated largely with water-based commercial pigments, leaving behind the dark stains of prickly magenta or green colour on our face and entire body.
The unnatural toxic chemicals, which we proudly say as ‘Pakka Rang’ (synthetic Holi colours) and fashion of using grease not only harms the body or ecology but also exterminates the core principle of celebrating Holi.
One must question that why Holi is celebrated particularly at this point of the year.
Well, it is that time of the year when we bid a sweet farewell to winters and blissfully welcome the spring. With a change in weather comes the viral fever and cold. But to the human relief, it brings along an abundance of fruits.
Now if knitting the threads together, along with religious reasons, Holi holds the significance of celebrating and using seasonal fruits as a medicinal option to keep away contagious virus.
Making colours from the extracts of natural herbs, and throwing them on each other is actually a playful medical practice, which needs to be retained and revived today.
Playing Holi with the extracts of Sandalwood, dried Mehendi, Palash, and Indigo (Others)
Dried Palash and Hibiscus flowers, powdered fragrant sandalwood are the typical source of vibrant red and orange colours. And if mixed with a pinch of Haldi (turmeric) creates a dazzling saffron colour, which if mixed in water sweeps the soothing odour all around. While winter is turning its back, it leaves with us the dried leaves Mehendi and Gulmohur Tree, offering the source of green colour. Indigo plant, blended with the paste of Indian blueberries and blue hibiscus, are the traditional sources for the blue pigment that adds a tint of contrast to the already coloured face.
We love the perception of long-lasting stains of colours and enjoy the most when it comes to pushing friends in the tub full of coloured water. It somewhat shows the strong bond amongst the near and dear ones. It is just as if the nostalgia for belongingness rolls over. I guess this is why we say ‘daag ache hai’ (stains are good).
So, to retain and keep alive the bond shared, why not add Turmeric or Kumkum in a tub along with freshly scented petals of Marigold and Rose. This makes the Holi wet, colourful, long-lasting. Moreover, one won’t have to repeatedly say ‘Bura na mano, Holi hai!’ while smearing colours to others.
Enjoying the colours and aroma of fresh flowers and herbs, and simultaneously attaining the medicinal benefits from nature, well what more our mother earth can offer. In return, if not much, than at least we can thank the nature by celebrating its precious gifts and making the Holi festival as colourful as possible.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)