Keep it safe, keep it healthy

This is so sad. 16 children end up in hospital because of toxic Holi colours. Now I don’t play Holi, but so many people do. What can we do to make this safer for the children?  When we were kids my great-grandmother would boil the shiuli phool ( a white flower with a red stem) that grew in our garden and give us the red coloured water to play with. Our neighbours used to have a lot of dry colour to play with and this. As we grew up and I stopped playing it didn’t really concern me what colours others used, and I didn’t notice it until I saw this piece in the papers. It’s shocking to say the least, and as a parent, it makes my stomach turn. Imagine your children frolicking in the sun one minute and in hospital in the next.

Schools have begun to make an effort and the Brat’s playschool talks to them about organic colours and the submersion of environment friendly idols during festivals. The radio has advertisements requesting people to use safe colours and then it goes one step further asking them to be considerate of others’ feelings. I was rather impressed when I heard that. I am tired of telling people to leave me alone and not apply colour to me during Holi.

Invariably they invite me to visit, promising that they will not touch me and invariably they end up rubbing colour all over my face. Or then they get mad and tell me I am a spoilsport. Right. I am a spoilsport for observing my own season of Lent instead of sacrificing what is important to me, just to give you two seconds of happiness. How does it bother you if I don’t want to play? Aren’t you already a big enough bunch? What about my religious sentiments? They must of course, make way for yours, right? I’m happy to come over and wish you, have a papad or two and laugh and joke, once the colouring is done.

As Big Zed here says, enjoy yourself, but please keep your hands to yourself. The alcohol and bhang is a fatal mixture and sadly people don’t know when they lose control.

As in this case where this man’s wife was coloured up against her wishes and when he tried to save her, he and his friends were attacked and their friend stabbed to death. This is what really upsets me. How dare you do that? Force yourself on some stranger who is clearly not interested.

Two years ago this time, I stood outside the doctor’s clinic talking to her about my delivery (the Bean was born a couple of days later) and as I stood there with my huge, hard-to-miss 9-month-pregnant belly, someone aimed a hard water balloon at my belly from their terrace.

I am astounded at how this can be considered fun, or innocent, or in any way, a celebration. You cannot argue with people who do this sort of thing because to my mind, they’re already a lower life form. Anyone who tries to use a pregnant woman’s belly as target practice, is not someone who would have the wit to argue – or understand. Anyone who hits random strangers with balloons itself cannot be talked to. How is it suddenly right to throw something at a stranger?

This is the kind of news the papers are full of, the day after Holi. A man loses his sight when hit in the eye with a balloon full of stones, a man shot just because he passed revellers, a man killed for not following orders to uproot a tree.

It’s sad how this festival of colour is slowly turning into one that people dread and refuse to step outdoors during. This is a request and a suggestion to those who play – keep it clean, keep it safe, don’t drink and drive – and please please, for the sake of our children, lets insist that colours are sold after some sort of a quality check.

Speaking of which  – have you read this report? Possible carcinogens in baby toileteries? Read this before you choose babycare products.

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7 thoughts on “Keep it safe, keep it healthy

  1. Join my club, I have always kept away from Holi. As for things going out of control, why just Holi? Diwali is absolutely destructive!

  2. i love this festival, more because of the colours and fun it brings along with it. the best part i love about this festival is that it lasts sooo long. weeks before the festival prepration starts with papads and chips and homemade sweets and after the day we have a long list of friends and relatives to visit.
    but lately i have been keeping myself away from colours, that’s because the quality of colour is so bad, we can ensure the quality we are using but not what others are. even this year we bought organic gulal and thankfully it was good but what others used on us was horrible chemical one. just wish people grow more informed next year and we can have organic colour as well. till then no colours for me atleast.

    Me: well it DOES look pretty when people play dry colour. I just dont like the zabardasti that goes with it in the name of ‘bura na mano…’

    if i had to pick one – i think it would be diwali. the firecrackers are so beautiful. but i wish people would get together and burst them in one place. you know – like at ashok nagar at home? such fun!

  3. Ok I know I am not being politically correct here, but I don’t like holi. So I am a Hindu and all that, but I hate it when people force me to play holi when I dont want to, I dont want those colors on me, I dont relish spending hours trying to wash those colors off and then a few more hours scratching at my skin. I really wish people would observe the damn spirit of the festival and enjoy it with people who want to not force other people who don’t want to. Some of those colors are really dangerous. Reading your post has freaked me out even more. How can people sell such products, dont they have children themselves? Every body has the right to celebrate/observe thier own belief’s and the world will be a much better place if everyone understood that. Have you given up anything for Lent? One of my friends (a hardcore meat eater) has given up sweets and another has given up smoking (she is miserable and bad tempered the whole time though). As for me, I am indulging in all the easter eggs out in the stores now 😀

    me: I usually give up meat but then i realised that i am not a great meat eater so it wasnt that big a sacrifice. so i gave up sweet this year. and then i began to get giddy spells with the lack of sugar. so had to cancel for health reasons – am sickly enough to begin with. something better next year i guess. 🙂

    my dad is awful when he gives up smoking … so we beg him to smoke. me… i just do it for the self control. its nice to test yourself once in a while.

  4. In my comment, I meant to say that the hard core meat eater had given up meat, not sweets. Sorry about that!

  5. I like Holi but only the tilak/tika kind of Holi…Diwali not so much coz of the noise and smoke..come to think of it even Holi is disgusting if one steps out of the enclave..all the perverts are lying in wait it seems…

    yes organic colours are the best to use..discovered that After I was covered in rashes because a stupid friend brought some roadside chavanni chhaap colours…:(

    and someone threw a balloon at you when you were pregnant??
    my god!what kind of a sick mind does that?????

    and when did Beanie turn two?I mean which day?I knew she would but so soon?

  6. you know what! when I was coming down from the stairs of our apartments on holi(from the 1st floor) someone threw a bucketful of colored water on me and my 9 month old baby i was holding in my arms!

  7. a very dear friend lost one eye during holi a few years back- hit by a water balloon which was flung at the local train

    she lost her eye, her boyfriend( the jerk) , her confidence and the culprit- well- he got away

    life is so unfair

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