Wide smiles coated in colors is what comes to mind when we think of Holi. It is easily amongst the most awaited day of the year. People of all ages look forward to Holi. The skies painted in hues of red, green and yellow; a colorful break from our monotonous lives. But is it only the showers of water that make our clothes wet or are there other things that dampen the Holi celebrations?
Holi is a time when boundaries are dropped and people come together. A harmonious and happy atmosphere comes along with this festival of colors. Unlike most festivals which are bound by austerities, Holi is when people blow off steam, be carefree and just have fun. Personal space is apparently unheard of on this day. But without restrictions, it becomes easy to cross the line. How much is too much?
The colors were supposed to signify unity. Because once you’re covered in color everyone looks the same. This was supposed to help everyone put aside their differences. But the outcome is far from it. From behind a riot of bright colors emerges the ugly face of this fest. That one day when people let their guards down, predators strike. The festive spirit is getting married by inappropriate intentions. Holi is getting increasingly defamed. This is not what Holi is about. But this is what Holi has come down to.
It is kinda paradoxical when you think of Holi you think of colors, but when you’re picking your outfit you stay away from them. White is the way to go. White symbolizes peace but when you set out in crisp white clothing it means war. And that fun side of Holi has been replaced by fear. The rules are changing. Take out your black clothes, carry a sturdy umbrella, you never know who is going to hurl water balloons at you from the terrace. How can you show up to a party in already damp clothes?
The colors are adulterated and the water impure. The heights that the balloons are thrown from can very well make them lethal. The consequences of poor quality colors set in too late for people to realize how harmful they can prove to be. A festival meant for consensual teasing of social rigidities has now become a tool for bullying others into unavoidable drenching. Then there’s Bhaang. Under its influence, people forget all the moral values they have been injected with all their lives. They have the un-official Holi allowance card. After all its Holi, Anything goes!
Holi is after all about celebrating with your loved ones and having fun but we’re missing one major factor here. Consent! Think about how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of this ordeal. Why dampen someone else’s Holi when you can spread smiles. Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The festivities are intended to focus on fertility and love and mark the end of winter. So let us channel that positive spirit and make it a day worth celebrating.
This Holi, please be responsible. Play Safe!
Photo by Aashish R Gautam