Happy Holi!

Happy Holi to all of you! :)

Happy HOli

I am not writing this post just to wish Holi though. I am writing this in irritation. Most of us haven’t learnt the first rule about Holi: Don’t play holi with the unwilling.

In Delhi, weeks before Holi, people start throwing balloons on passer-bys. These vella people, who indulge in balloon-throwing, have two categories: kids and rowdy hooligans. You can berate kids gently yet firmly but what do you do about the rowdy men who throw balloons at you in dark, when you are returning home from work. They ride scooters and bikes and throw balloons at you back! Imagine somebody driving around with balloons just so they can have unknown victims on road. I simply hate such people.

This season, luckily, I had only one balloon hitting me. It was thrown by two men in 30s who skidded away on their scooters, after hitting me on my back. They did not have guts throw on face either. God knows I was looking for a stone to hit them.

Frankly, I am not even open to idea of being hit by balloons by kids whom I don’t know. You would find groups of them on every nook and crevice of a gulley. Every now and then when you are running an errand, you are hit by balloons full of water. Perhaps it is ok on day of Holi. Not weeks before that! What kind of parents they are, who hand their kids ballons to hit unknown passer-bys- young girls and old folk. Kids did not even spare my grandfather. He was hit with a balloon on his spectacles. Naturally he was upset. When Holi is approaching, you have to think twice before going out of your house.

My office did not have a chutti on Good Friday. But I did not go. Who would want to travel on your own, on a day when you know public transport will be scanty. Also, hooligans will make most of the opportunity. They throw balloons into moving buses and autos as well. Really, they do. I have seen. Not only this, in the name of festival, you are forced to be civil with some unwanted people. I firmly kept that away. God forbid, if Holi is to become harassment in my own country, I may not want to play it in future.

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41 Responses to “Happy Holi!”


  1. 1 ish March 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    It was precisely because of such people that I stopped playing Holi 6 years ago. That time, I was small and was going around with my friends and pichkaari’s and playing with these other kids of the area. Suddenly this big bully comes and covers my entire face in grease. And I went back home crying because there was no possible way to take it off. Finally, mum had to resort to taking petrol out of the scooter and washing my face with it to make the grease go off. It was completely nightmarish. That day, a permanent fear of Holi made it’s house in my mind and I have never played Holi since then. I didn’t even get out of the house today.

    This slogan which says Bura Na Maano Holi hai is being completely misused by people. Holi doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to do anything, to throw balloons at people and stuff like that. It’s ridiculous. The sad thing is that all our festivals are being celebrated in the wrong way. When Holi began, it was to be celebrated with safe colours and all. I don’t understand how the tomatoes and the eggs came into the scheme of things. And then the permanent colors. It’s almost become a sadist festival now where people derive pleasure out of troubling others. Same thing with Diwali, crackers weren’t such a part of it then as they are now. And then bhaang and all. They are all just excuses to bring the rowdiness out in oneself and I hate that.

    Holi has already become a harrassment, ab isse bura kya hoga, I don’t know. Those guys on the motorbikes throwing things at others seriously need to get a life. But hamaare kehne se kaunsa koi farak padne waala hai. Kisi cheez se koi farak nahi padhta. It’s as straightforward as that.

  2. 2 Poonam Sharma March 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I can how nightmarish it would have been. Tabhi kuch hoga when people will collective take some action. There is a new serial on NDTV Imagine, it is called Ek Packet Umeed. Two girls from a NGO-house were walking by. When a group of guys forcibly rubbed colours on her face. She slaps one of the guys. In retaliation, the group surrounds her forcibly in huddle and molest. It was broad daylight. The girl’s companion asked elped from passerby, uncles, aunties. None paid heed. Its truth, no one pays heed. :(
    Seeing that turned something inside me. I guess in the net episode, they will take up this issue. Because the head of NGO said they would fight it. I would like to see how. It is telecast on Tuesday on 8 or 8.30. So far it has always been worth a watch.

  3. 3 shuz March 22, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Happy Holi:)
    I know how irritating this can get. when i was in college, we were playing holi in front of my friend’s place and these guys come on two-wheelers and join us. and no matter wt we said they wud not leave. and then few elders had to come and ask them to leave. but its really bad when these men with no brains try to take advantage of this festival.

  4. 4 ish March 22, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    That is the problem na, people don’t take any action collectively unless they show it on the news channel. They are showing new Rediffmail ad’s in which I think a guy was trying to molest a female and another guy saves her. Then he gets beaten. Next day, he sends a mail, people collect and beat the bad guys and the tagline goes, “Ek Rediffmail bhej kar toh dekho”. I wish it was that easy. Sadly, it isn’t.

    And the NGO girl you are talking about..that incident is pretty similar to what happened in Mumbai too. People are always there, but they don’t have the kind of courage to help somebody who’s in danger because obviously they don’t wanna put themselves in danger. The Police can’t be everywhere too, logon ko hi kuch karna padega sab kuch stop karne ke liye. Jab tak offenders khud realize nahi karenge ki what they are doing is wrong and indecent, tab tak I don’t think ke koi bahut lamba chaura farak padega. Ab how to make them realize, that is another problem altogether.

    Meanwhile, I’ll try to catch that program, agar time mila toh. Should be interesting indeed.

  5. 5 Xylene March 23, 2008 at 6:30 am

    In bangalore, the areaa where I stay had much less holi celebrations. My wife and myself was a little afraid to walk out fearing sudden blast of colors and water to be showered on our faces. But it was different here, becoz only the holi celbrating crowd restricted the color act to themself. thats good in one way as being from kerla, although i love to watch the celebration on tv and wud prefer to celebrate it (even if i want to) with my family or friends and not strangers.

  6. 6 Itinerant March 23, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I think Holi had become farcical a long time back. Imagine this, my sister had some idiots rub gulal on her face and as it turned out it had pieces of glass (yeah you heard me right) in it. She now has a bruised face.

    I remember this 1 time, 10 years back when a guy put water filled balloons in a freezer overnight and used to threw em down. 1 of them hit my brother and he slipped and fell due to the sheer impact and got a dislocated ankle for his troubles.

    Holi has now become a rough violent and vulgar festival (i can count several insatance of my female friends telling me how they have been almost molested during holi “celebration”) and the best indicator of this fact is that the number of people playing holi has dwindled considerably.

    I havent played holi for about 5 years now.

  7. 7 Man of Roma March 23, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    It is such a pity this is happening. Seen from such a far away place as this, holi seems such a beautiful thing, with all its colours, such an exhuberant expression of the Indian mind. This violence is so globalized, dunno why …

  8. 8 Harsha March 23, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I know how it feels when something happens like that.. Here in Bangalore, condition is not that at worse.. people play but they rarely throw balloons even at holi day.. I too played holi this time after 5 years.. and I never throw any color on a unknown person not even on the persons who were playing.

    I want to say one more point.. Not every guy is bad guy.. stopping of playing Holi because of some incidents is also not fair.

    You have mentioned about parents..”what kind of parents they are..”. Here I differ from your views.. Kids learn from surrounding environment, from other kids, from classmates, from adults who do like that.. I completely disagree that parents will hand balloons to kids to throw at unknown persons.. No parents wish to bring up their child like that..

  9. 9 Sidharth Kumar March 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    hey happy holi,
    sadly NO holi for me in LA
    this is when life starts to SUCK

  10. 10 Liju Philip March 24, 2008 at 12:34 am

    People still play Holi? I left Hyderabad in 2000 and even then hardly anyone played around my house. We rather played street cricket on holi and once in a while we would see someone zipping past on a vehicle with colours on their face.

    I was in Delhi once during Holi and it was really rowdy. I have never seen such deliberate violation of someone’s privacy all my life in Hyderabad. Something to do with the culture and literacy levels? Am not sure though.

  11. 11 Poonam Sharma March 24, 2008 at 4:36 am

    @shuz: I can identify with your story. It is sad that every girl has such a story to recount about this festival. :( Hope you have a nice holi this time!

    @ish: I don’t know what can I do to solve this problem in Delhi. yeah, do watch that serial, its nice anyway. Last time it had a enacted Prahlad play in funny way. I still don’t understand how they related Prahalad play to message of save trees.:)

    @xylene: My point exactly. I would like to play with my family and not strangers. It is a hard point to drive in my city. :(

    Btw, I still wonder what made you name yourself xylene..i think of benzene —xylene.

    @itinerant: I can’t begin to tell you how much moved I am reading these experiences. I am sorry your siblings had bad experience. I don’t know what I can do to stop this or to make people stop this. I have this helpless feeling. :(

    @manofroma: This is a problem in select places of the country. Festival is still spiritedly celebrated, :) only some bad elements exist.

    @Harsha: I would never say that all guys are bad. It is good that in Bangalore, this balloon throwing is not so prevalent. As for parents, I do blame them. A 4-year-old kid doesn’t know anything about hitting. And parents do have responsibility for the actions of 4-year-old. Moreover, so many time I have seen mothers defending their kids about hitting. I certainly blame such parents.

    If you were me, and you are paying a quick visit to doctor or a ship, you wouldn’t relish being hit by water by a small kid you don’t know. Not only that, if you read itinerant’s comment above, we can’t risk getting hit by a frozen balloon. So we stay away.

    @sidharth kumar: hey, don’t be sad. We can play holi next time. Try educating goras about it and play with them. No Indian students around?

    @Liju Philip: yes, people do play holi. :) Liju, I would not say this problem is related to literacy levels. In fact, the problem I am stating belongs to literate classes. Their kids start hitting balloons to passerbys since age of 4. As for 30-yr-old rowdies, I have nothing to say. Delhi, sad;y, has become rowdy. :( Is Hyderabad still as well-behaved on Holi as before?

  12. 12 Amit March 24, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Even I used to be such a kid who used to throw balloons on strangers, but I did it strictly on the D-day. My parents never allowed me to do that before or after holi. And I could not dare to use “Pakke rang” as my father would have hanged me upside down from the fan.
    But…nowadays, I hardly play holi. :(

  13. 13 Amyth March 24, 2008 at 4:59 am

    A VERY strongly worded post.. and Perhaps.. true! .. Although the “act” is not so rampant in Kolkata.. but I can still totally understand how irritating it would be to be hit by it on your way / on your way back from work.

    There’s nothing we can do about it. We indians are in some way cultured and in other ways completely open to having fun at the expense of absolute strangers!

  14. 14 Poonam Sharma March 24, 2008 at 6:04 am

    @Amit: Throwing on D-day is quite fine! When I go out that day, I am prepared. :) I might throw a two of my own. :P But weeks before, uff what a pain. :(

    @Amyth: I never faced this problem in West Bengal. I am hoping there must be something we can do about it. We, Indians, should next time never boast about our sanskaras. :(

  15. 15 Anshul March 24, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Yeah rite, for all of the above reasons even I don’t like holi, I don’t even play it with friends and family too coz. I just don’t like people un-necessarily sticking to each other, and applying colors etc., and then spend another half of the day removing them.

    But I am usually prepared for the Worst Case Scenario, so I host a good and a dense beard :) during this time just incase I get colored somehow with whatever colors etc, I can just shave off my beard and move on. ;)

    Sadly, you can’t do it… :)

    Belated Happy Holi…

  16. 16 dinsan March 24, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I have no experience of playing holy… I dont know the spirit of it… but still. from what you have explained… its the worst that people can do with a celebration…

  17. 17 praneshachar March 24, 2008 at 9:24 am

    see the link it throws light of some spirit of holi and how it is played in parts of our country.
    http://bellurramki18.wordpress.com/2007/03/05/festival-of-colours-holi/#comment-22318

    coming to this post I felt very bad it is being played with so much of ill intentions targetting a particular group. It is irony the holi the festival of colours has been made hole a festival of bad odours and ugly practices. It is irksome to read and pathetic when it comes to throwing greease and glass peices in gulal. I was under the impression north indians play holy with all fairness and they use only gulal and other natural colours. but now I come to know of the other side of the coin.
    Poonam your post is just right and if this type of
    things happen it is not too far when this festival will go into history. Yes in bangalore it is purely playing with those close family and friends and generally public are not disturbed
    eye opened on the ill effects of holi thanks for coming out with the happenings in the capital city.
    thanks once again

    belated WISHES FOR A HAPPY HOLI– COLOURFUL AND WITHOUT HASSELES AND ILLWILL

  18. 18 Nishu March 24, 2008 at 9:53 am

    bura na mano holi hai ..

    every human is a jerk living in a jerkland called earth.

  19. 19 Ruhi March 24, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Happy Holi Poonam :) I love that cartoon btw. So very cute. I know what you mean by all that harassment. It’s sad that women folk can’t enjoy this festival without the fear of being fondled/hit by ballons by strangers. I don’t know why people think that it’s okay to do it in the name of fun. I’ve never liked Holi. I don’t know when the last time was when I played it. It’s safe to be surrounded by people whom you know and trust. Even a person whom you know might take advantage of you…you never know! That’s how men are.

    Baaki, I hope you were safe the rest of the time and enjoyed your day off. :)

  20. 20 vimal March 24, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Seriously…celebrations should be strictly indoors.

    My roomie once met with a serious accident and broke his disc while riding his bike during Diwali; some crackpots were bursting crackers right in the middle of the road. Neither can we fite with these ignorant “janta” for this nor can we sue them. This doesnt feature under public nuisance, it seems !

  21. 21 Amit March 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    When I was in Delhi, Holi was kind of scary. There were drunk men all around moving on motorbikes. My father never allowed my sister to move outside the house. I could never understand why people end up like this on festivals. Just today I read in the newspaper that 13 people were killed in road accidents in Delhi on Holi. Pity will be a small word for the kind of mentality and the amount of responsibility we Indians grow up with.

  22. 22 Itinerant March 25, 2008 at 4:06 am

    http://rantsofanitinerant.blogspot.com/2006/04/one-heckuva-ride.html

    Have to share this with you guys :)
    My experience on holi day 2 years back. Though its not in line with the theme of Poonam’s post but nevertheless….

  23. 23 Poonam Sharma March 25, 2008 at 4:44 am

    @Anshul: IT is surprising to find that so many people have written in this post that they too didnt like Holi. But isn’t it messy to get colours out of your beard afterwards?

    @dinsan: I hope you get to play Holi sometime with good-spirited people. Though I am surprised how you have managed to be unscathed from Holi with people like that. Perhaps people are civil in your city. :)

    @praneshachar: I read your informative comment in Rk’s post. Gave my comments there. With all my knowledge, I had never known the significance of Holi in South India. I was curious to know do people in South only use natural colors, et all when they play Holi? Or is it rampant there as well. Thanks for your Holi wishes, hope you had a safe one this time.

    @nishu: THat is what ish said, this phrase “bura na mano holi hai” is being misused by some people. :( And no not every one is a jerk on this earth. Some of them are real good. :)

    @Ruhi: Hey, same to you. The picture is courtesy 123 greetings.com. :) Any feminist would love to read what you have written. :) Yes, I had a very nice, relaxing day at home :)

    @vimal: That’s so sad. And this is not ‘ignorant’ junta but uncivil junta. Something should be done about it. Today I spotted a couple eating food inside Delhi Metro. It is prohibited. Any other country they would not dare. But here they do as they please. :(

    @Amit: I completely understand why your father wanted to keep your sister indoors. See the irony of the situation, rowdies do as they please but innocents need to sacrifice their little pleasures staying indoors. :( I hope you had a nice Holi this time. :)

    @itinerant: Thanks for sharing, I am now more careful. And more enraged about the issue. I hope you and your siblings had a happy, relaxing Holi this time (even if you didn’t play outdoors). :)

  24. 24 Anshul March 25, 2008 at 5:47 am

    @Poonam: Yeah, I was expecting this kind of response, and also similar posts that would highlight bad side of Holi across many blogs.

    And, I don’t have to remove colors from the beard, I just have to shave the beard, thats it. It doesn’t help much but it does help. Other common way is to oil up the exposed body parts prone to being colored by mustard oil, that way they are very easy to remove be it permanent or any natural color.

    Holi, Otherwise is a good festival depending on what kind of people you play with and if one plays it with good spirit. One should respect that other people don’t want to play or get colored. Many good people just “tilak” other people in the spirit of holi and that is the lighter side of holi, the festival of colors.

    The only thing that makes Diwali better then Holi is just that, in Diwali no one is actually disturbing anybody else, either people are busy bursting crackers or busy decorating their homes.

  25. 25 Liju Philip March 25, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Am not sure if Hyd is still as mellow as before. But policing during holi, ganesh visarjan, new year’s eve etc is pretty good in Hyd. Maybe the police is a bit high handed at times, but then “laaton ke bhooth baaton se nahin maante”.

  26. 26 vimal March 25, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    @poonam:
    So true.

    Here in India, arent we allowed to do anything? We havnt started imposing fine to these uncivilised crowd and until then, they will continue to litter, spit and even pee in public. The worst part is that the officials who are supposed to keep the law and order of the country are also involved in such acts. The other day while I was driving past a bus, a $#$@$ constable spat his pan on the roads from the bus and I was only fortunate enough to escape that. All I could do was to give him a cold stare and of course he cared a damn! Cmon, if its from a poor bird I can understand, but where does this guy have his brains???

    There is also another set of junta who does all the nonsense here, go abroad, get settled and then claim ” India and Indians will never change”!!!Hypocrites!

  27. 27 lallopallo March 25, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    What’s the problem in people eating food in metro?? Eating is not prohibited in any of the metros I have used ( Montreal, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Washington DC etc etc)
    I think eating is a very fundamental right and nobody,including the govt, can restrict when to eat. Yes, it can create mess inside the trains, but that could be handled with little discipline from people and proper cleanliness mechanism provided by the authorities.
    If millions of people can be handled everyday in places such as New York, New Delhi shouldnt be a problem.

  28. 28 Liju Philip March 26, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Eating in trains and buses is banned in Singapore. Fines range upto 500 dollars. That’s precisely why Singapore’s public transport is the cleanest and most efficient in the world.

    I fully support the eating and drinking ban (if there is any) in Delhi metro. Expecting Indians to be civilized and disciplined is like asking for the moon. Eating might be a fundamental right and the people can exercise their rights outside the train. We have had enough of democracy in India. Its time to curb it a bit if we want to become a developed nation.

    We have problems with a guy and girl holding hands or kissing on the roads but have no shame when someone spits, shits or pees on the road. I wonder where the chaddi gang goes when they see the dirtying of public places. They only seem to pop up during V-Day.

  29. 29 Poonam Sharma March 26, 2008 at 3:56 am

    @Anshul: Well, this method certainly would not work for those who love their beard and spend time to trim and keep it clean. :) Yeah I have heard of mustard oil trick. It works. I like “tilak” Holi idea.

    @Liju: I saw no policing in Delhi on Holi. And who will police vanar sena weeks before who throe ballons from their terrace or in a gulley? or those who throw balloons while riding bikes and scooters.

    @Vimal: This month, for the first time, there is fine on peeing in public. But I have to yet to see how they enforce it. Yes, I hate it too when some of the non-residents behave as if all resident Indians are losers and they have risen above them.

    @lallopallo: I will not get into why government should or should not ban eating in metro.

    Fact is eating, smoking and even chewing gum is banned in metro. That is the reason why it is one of the cleanest railway system in the world. Yes, in the world. My friend arrived from US and he was pleasantly surprised at metro. He said, “trains are clean in US too but even there platforms are certainly not as clean.” Other Indian railway platforms are pathetic.

    Also, I must point out that the longest ride in a single metro is for 25 minutes. I think you can keep away from your fundamental right of eating for that much time.

    Let’s face it, crowd management is a problem in India.That is why Sreedharan thought of putting these rules in first place. And they work.

    @Liju: I completely agree with you, Liju. Ban is justified as metro ride is also for very short duration.

    In the mornings, you can’t find a metro personnel around. This young couple regularly violates this eating ban. Why? Because they want to have breakfast together. If I had complaint cell number, I would certainly have them fined. They escape because people around don’t comment and metro personnel are not around.

  30. 30 praneshachar March 29, 2008 at 8:54 am

    poonam
    I have lost the maja of holi since I left my place for studies and then for job. so practically it is no holi for me ( I mean playing with colours) If it is free time my children will play with their friends.
    I just recall the memories and as it is not a holiday also will be in office. even in karnataka the northern part it is celebrated like the way I have commented in RWB too busy with year end work taking time off to have abreak and sneed to blogs
    have a wonderful week end and look forward for next financial year with all warmth as Income tax benefits announced are quite good for individuals so your pay take will increase by way of savings in income tax

  31. 31 Poonam Sharma April 2, 2008 at 5:30 am

    @praneshachar: Yup, I am very glad at the new tax benefits. :)

    You can play Holi with your kids. But I understand how sometimes work takes pleasure off the festivals. And I did read your comments in Rk’s blog.

  32. 32 Happy March 7, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Thoda life ko enjoy karo bhai….Celebrate life. It all depends on how we see things. If every thing becomes so formal that people ask you for permission before coloring you, it will be so boring world.

    Why do we always think about ‘agitations’, ‘activism’, ‘protest’, ‘manners’, ‘police complaint’, ‘(perceived) hooligans’, ‘my space’, ‘my freedom’, ‘rules & regulations’ etc.,

    In this direction, we will become more and more mechanical and lifeless.

    I guess its my right to decide what I enjoy. Noone else will dictate it to me what I should enjoy. I hope you get my point, Mr. Happy.

    • 33 Happy March 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm

      I agree with your response.

      To be frank, I felt as if you kept a gun on my head to get this reply from me.

      No one is challenging your rights. Just wrote my view.

      Ok, I concede perhaps I was too harsh. I get v irritated around Holi days. I feel like personally slapping people who hit us girls with water-filled balloons. I hate it when people tell me I should enjoy it. Hence, yur comment really did rankle. I stand by what I said, but apologise that I was too harsh.

  33. 34 Anshul March 9, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Sticky.

    A cryptic comment as usual, care to elaborate? :P

  34. 35 Happy March 13, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Actually, I strongly believe that every thing can be seen from a different perspective, if only we ‘stretch our imagination/ mind power’. If one is really broad minded, he/ she can see innumerable logical, convincing & decently written views about any subject.

    As blogging is a place where one expresses his/ her views, I tried to put-up a different perspective to you. That’s it.

    I hope, I can write my views in your blog, in future? Needless to say, these will be contradictory to your views :-)

    Thanks again.

    Well, I am all for free speech, but have you alreayd made up for your mind that you are always going to write somehting contradictory..God, help you then. :P

    • 36 Happy March 16, 2009 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks…(i guess i can write here).

      As I have already mentioned what I believe in – my job would be to write contra-view! Ofcourse, it has to be convincing, sensible & decent. Its a kind of being able to write with both hands :-)

      As long as your comments are sensible and decent, its fine. :)

  35. 37 khagen February 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    im also suffering from this type of behaviour from bad people

  36. 38 D Roy February 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Holi is utterly uncivilized, barbarous and indecent event….it’s a disgrace to call this this shameful event of orgy and free-for-all as a “festival”…I have spent 17 years in Delhi to know about its ill effect first hand

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