02 Mar 2018

Your colour is now my colour!

You there!

Yes you!

With colour in one hand and the water balloon in the other. You’re right here in India aren’t you?

Well, you might as well be in Germany (See Link Below). Or Ireland. Or Australia.

Because that’s where increasingly Holi is being celebrated. In its true spirit. In all the glory of its colour. (And in probably a safer way.)

But I’m jumping the (water) gun here! Let me step back and tell you a story.

No festival in India is without its multiple legends. And the one that resonates most with me is this one:

Krishna the teenager goes home complaining to Yashoda his mother. None of the girls he wants to play with will play with him. Not only that, they shun him, tease him and call him “Shyam” or dark-skinned.

Not a happy situation.

Tired of the heckling that her son faces (and also tired of a whining teenager) Yashoda picks up a handful of Gulaal (the red powder) and hands it to him.

Go” she says, “Play with this red powder. Once you play with it, all of you will be the same colour and they won’t be able to see who is fair and who is dark.” 

And that’s how the story started.

And now if you were to see it in this light, or this colour, isn’t this a universal, global festival of humanity?

My colours of joy now colour your traces of sorrow. I am trading my sunshine yellow for your morose blue. My splash of red will forever be tinged with your shade of green. How lovely would it be if only we looked at the deeper meaning of a festival and did not descend into a vitiated atmosphere denigrated by lynching, molesting and the misuse of all that’s sacred. In a world with increasing colour consciousness, can we all not be the same colour? Across countries? Across cultures?

Let Holi be what it is meant to be: a holy exchange of the colours of joy, of humanity, of goodwill.

(And yes, you might well be here for a Farbfieber fest!) 

AFTER WORD: Increasingly during my cross culture training sessions, I found that underneath it all, people are the same. Parents have the same worries. Teenagers rebel for the same reasons. And we all have similar hopes and dreams. The Holi festival in one colour brings that out in very good light.