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Holi in Karnataka (Part II)

Our Lady of Intolerance and her customers, particularly a man belonging to another religion another one belonging to her own caste, have become so jealous of us that they want to kill my Mom. They have all indulged in black magic and made sure that we have to visit the hospital every other day. We have to consult the medical experts of all types.

Yesterday, we went to the ophthalmologist. There we met a Sikh family, bothered by Holi. The elderly lady’s eyes had been affected by the colours. Her husband’s beard was covered with yellow colour. It could not be cleaned. Her 4 sons are living abroad and her only daughter has been married into an Amritsar-based family.

Their sons have left the couple in the care of their building people. The neighbors and building people had just come to apply colour to their forehead but ended up messing their faces and hair. Thus, they had come to the hospital yesterday.

Mom remembered the time she and her family were living in Shimla. The same neighbours shifted with Mom’s family to Delhi. After they had shifted to Delhi, celebrating Holi with colours continued.

During Holi, a yellow coloured flower called Tesu Phool were available in the market in these 2 places. Mom and her family would get those flowers one day before Holi and soaked them in water. The next day, they would mix the solution in lukewarm water to make yellow colour. They would also separate Genda into florets and boil in water the previous day. That would be mixed in lukewarm water and mix turmeric powder in it. They would also make decoctions of Neem, Bael and Tulsi leaves after grinding them. The next day they would mix it with lukewarm water to make green colour. They would also mix tea decoction with henna, grind it, mix with lemon juice and turmeric to make red colour in lukewarm water.

These colours were never used outside on the roads. There were courtyards at home. Known people would go there and play with the colours. They would also buy herbal gulal. They would never apply gulal directly to the skin in case the people might be allergic to it. They would apply a mixture of turmeric and sandalwood powder in rose water first and then only gulal.

They would spray water only on the back of others. Here, we have received complaints that men pour water on ladies in such a way that when they get wet, their undergarments are visible. The men even make fun of them. Holi is meant to bring people together in brotherhood. But, this is not the right way. We have to say, “Delhi and Shimla of those days zindabad!”

To be continued…

About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Freelance Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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