The Horrors of Holi

Its Holi, and everyone is celebrating.

Wait, not everyone. I’m crying today. My eyes are not wet though. For some bizarre reason, my lachrymal glands dried up some 8 years ago and produced no more than a dozen drops of tears that escaped my eyes since then.

Why exactly? You may ask. Look at the area around you. Most likely, it is contaminated by toxic “colors”, with mud pools or toxic ponds, and people competing against each other to waste more and more water. I am one of those “environmentalist” “save energy” “save water” “save wild life” “waste no food” guys, who continue to speak up, voice their concerns, opinions and suggestions no matter if the audience listens or not. I am one of those that are adamant enough to voice despite no audience. (I made my own share of mistakes, which are not very relevant here. I may post them separately.)

What made me write this post?

My “friends” attacked our hostel just now, while I was in the common bathroom brushing my teeth. ( I have a habit of waking up late, and compensate that by working late. ) I managed to shout at the top of my voice and some of them knew my anger, so they either exercised caution, took pity on me or had mercy. I was not poisoned. They were after the taps. With all instruments of warfare (mugs, buckets, bottles, water guns, cans, packets of powdered colored poison) they marched in, filled their vessels, and marched out. Not many cared to shut the taps.

I was brought up at Hyderabad. Any hyderabadi can relate to the water crisis we face in summer. Everyone attacks the government. These are the same people that compete in making the largest toxic blobs, decorating them and dumping them in water. All in the name of God. (Ganesh Chaturdhi, for those of you who can’t relate. you see a toxic blob every corner.) And when they face the consequences, they start a blame game.

Diwali and Holi are the festivals that I wish hadn’t existed. Or I wish they were different. When did festival of lights turn into a sound and air pollution race? When did the festival of colors turn into war? You only attack someone with poison if it is a war. Wait, it is prohibited, countries signed treaties, that they would not use poisonous gases, or poison-tipped bullets in wars. Name one scripture or one priest, who advocates environmental destruction.

My grand parents lived in a village where they had no running water till 2010. I was brought up in a city where people buy water every summer to survive. I am from the state of Andhra pradesh, an area of which by name Nalgonda is world-famous for its fluoride removal technique. A town with no proper fresh water even to this date. I am a resident of a hostel where at times I couldn’t find water to bath. I know how bad it is to not have proper water.

It is my sincere request to use environmentally friendly colors most of which are naturally derived and bio degradable, and actually “celebrate” the festival of Holi. I do my part of the duty. I distance myself from Holi completely, limit my Diwali to lights and sparkles, go out of my way to switch off lights and fans when no one is around, shut off leaking taps and flushes, switch off geysers in the afternoon, use mud-made statues instead of plaster-of-paris for Ganesh Chaturdhi, and advocate the same.  It takes little effort to change. Your actions speak louder than your words ever can. You will see people getting inspired, motivated, you will find people spreading your word on your behalf. It all begins with a small step.

You will see a change. A change for the better.

As I finish writing this, the next band attacked..