Wednesday, March 11, 2009

THE FESTIVAL OF DEMOCRACY

I've been wondering...if Diwali is the festival where the rich-poor divide is very marked, then Holi is the festival which bridges that divide.

Diwali depends (partly) on how much you spend for a few moments of light. In Mumbai, this surreal city of superfluous spending, families spend huge amounts of money on lavish displays of fireworks, which light up the sky in rainbow colours and echo through the neighbourhood in a burst of crackers. Of course, the people huddling under canvas sheets under flyovers can gaze wide-eyed at the light-and-sound display, but it is all as much out of their reach as the stars which are outshone by the jubilations of the wealthy.

Holi, on the other hand, is much more friendly on the pocket. If you want to, you can equip yourself with expensive eco-friendly colours and precious pichkaris (water-dispensers). Kids in our building have been roaming around for the past week with sophisticated water-filled guns and tanks, practising their water-spraying skills on each other (and other unsuspecting victims).

But, if you want, you can also arm yourself with the even-more-eco-friendly mud and dust and mix it all up in a broken bucket and drench everybody around you (including yourself and that neighbour's-spouse-whom-you-secretly-eyed).

Holi allows us to forget our identities for a day and mingle with each other in the way the colours mingle and become one indistinguishable (and extremely hard to get rid of) shade. That is the true colour of India, the true shade of our democracy.

On Holi, all trespasses are forgiven and all divides (haves and have-nots; self and neighbour) forgotten. Happy Holi!

9 comments:

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Holi is a great equaliser. Anyone can do anything, though sometimes it becomes too much to tolerate. People throwing balloons is a no-no to me, anyone can play holi but they should throw colors and not balloons.

That comment about neighbour....well I would rather not say anything! ;-)

Any new article this month?
Vivek

Pradip Biswas said...

Wish you very happy holi. We play holi at Hilltop forest by grinding the dried up Palash flower along with Talc stone available here. We have a Sanjha chula from morning to evening and go on eating whatever all of us prepare.

Mina Jade said...

Happy Holi!
It sounds great.
A celebration like that would be highly needed all over the world in my opinion.

Ekta said...

holi is one of my fav festivals!!
I defi enjoy it more than diwali...its a time to forget ur differences and just have fun!

Lazyani said...

Rightly said Sucharita. Holi is actually the festival which makes one forget ones inhibitions.

The painted face takes away the covers of the original face and in a strange way exposes the real self.

jyotsana said...

that comment about the neighbor was delightful....
what about dussehra?

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@ Vivek,

Your NO COMMENTS spoke volumes.

@ Pradip,

That must have some lovely eco-friendly celebrations.

@ Mina Jade,

Holi is a popular attraction for tourists who visit India.

@ Ekta, Lazyani and Jyotsna,

Holi is really special in its inexpensive and all-embracing (pun intended) fun, more so than the expensive celebrations of Diwali or Dusshera, I feel.

Mystic Margarita said...

Holi is a geat equalizer, indeed. Belated wishes to you and your family - hope the two little kitties had fun.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@ Rita,

Thanks. We had loads of fun and the wet kittens refused to come back home for a long time. Do you celebrate this festival at all out there?