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.