Sunday, 16 March 2014

Forced Colours

The pan-Indian festival of Holi is upon us. On this day, people play with colours, water and whatever colouring agents they can lay their hands on. Others celebrate it by beating their husbands with sticks. But usually, it is done with colours.

People in my part of India and especially my city are mad for Dhuleti. Actually Holi is the serious festival and Dhuleti is the fun one, so most of the people in my age group are more interested in the day after Holi. People stock up on colours days and weeks before the event. It is the day when everything is forgotten. Religions, caste, creed, age and sex go out of the window for this festival caters to one and all. No grudges are held, no limits are drawn, and it is a complete free-for-all. Even people who don’t know each other throw colours on each other and on passersby going down the road.

Image Courtesy: Google Images/Thomas Hawk.
But this joviality is also a problem. Sometimes it just goes overboard. People tend to do things they would never do normally. Things they would even abhor and not be seen doing in other circumstances. But the colour is their mask, their protection from the roving eyes of the world. They can do anything and everything; it is the day when Dr. Jekyll willingly sets Mr. Hyde free to do as he likes.

But not everyone wants to play with colours. Some have reasons and some don’t, but they know that they don’t want to play. And that is the problem. People just won’t accept the fact that someone doesn't like to or want to play with colours. It is a given that everyone has to compulsorily do so. Along with all the joviality and fun, people also seem to lose their common sense and sensibilities on that day. They don’t tend to think of the reasons why people might not want to join in the loads of fun that their having.

It never seems to occur to them that there may be a myriad of problems, physical, psychological and societal, that may prevent people from having themselves coloured like the canvas of a four year old.

Now, it may seem from above that I don’t like colours. Wrong! I love colours and till I finished school, this used to be my favourite festival, but then something painful happened in the festive week that scarred me. I can no longer celebrate this festival without horrible memories of that incident giving me nightmares. Just like me, I’m sure there will be others suffering a similar fate. People with reasons they cannot tell anyone, others who cannot express. People like us just tend to say “NO” and expect people to respect that decision. It seldom turns out that way.

I’m writing this post in the hope that all those who read it will be compassionate to those who do not or cannot play Holi. I do this in the hope that on that day, people enjoy, but don’t force people to enjoy. And I hope and pray that everyone has a safe Dhuleti.