Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Almost two decades ago I was about 11 or 12 and for no apparent reason averse to Holi. Although living in pristine Shimla of the eighties I did enjoy playing in snow every winter with friends of both genders but Holi never inspired me enough.

It was Holi again and I was locked in my room all day,all the neighborhood girls did the same,only boys did venture out to throw colored water balloons and shout BURA NA MANO HOLI HAI ! ( don't mind,its holi !)

As is still the norm in most places,by evening the color games had halted and most families had settled down to spend a holiday evening together.Every evening I used to walk about 100 meters from my house to fetch milk for the next morning and because every thing looked sober now I walked to the booth as usual.On my way back about 50 meters away from my house in the narrow gali ,this man who ran a pan-bidi shop in the neighborhood sprang out suddenly from a corner and looked every bit inebriated.I stepped back to give him way,when he was about an arms length away from me he suddenly took out a handful of gulaal from his pocket and just because he was a couple of feet taller than me rubbed it in my hair very harshly shouting HAPPY HOLI.

I dropped the milk packets and ran home,mom kept asking me what happened and when I couldn't say what exactly happened she presumed some friend from the neighborhood had played a prank.

My evening stroll after that day did not happen for many years till I was older,stronger and probably more mature to handle a similar situation,if need be.I told mom what had exactly happened only a couple of days later and she did take it up with that man only to get a denial from his side,saying he never remembered doing any of that.

Many years later I realized that was my first brush with crude public harassment,maybe it could have happened to anyone who is physically weaker in any given situation,but when you are a woman in India numerous incidents of the same nature later make you conclude that maybe it happens more to girls and women and especially on festivals like HOLI.

The trauma of such incidents does not go away easily and I now realize keeping women indoors and SAFE is no solution.Why have we become so twisted that a festival has to be loud,noisy,drunk and ostentatious to be celebrated?

So whether its Holi or whatever do not take the argument that all is good in the name of  a festival.


Orange Flower Awards



To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind


The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!