Holi is on its way and families are prepping for the festival of colours with much vigour, including mine. But at this moment, my head overflows with anger, filth and shame. With trembling hands and a heavy heart, I collect myself to pen this down. Just a few minutes before I write this, I got a call from my sister who described at length, as to what happened in her university campus today. Some men threw their SEMEN FILLED BALLOONS at the girls passing by and more specifically on North Eastern Girls. This happened in Delhi, the Capital city. As much as I want to hold my tongue against profanity overuse, my soul cries at decibel levels. The advice that instantly comes out as a doting sister is this – “Don’t step out of the house until this Holi menace gets over. Another 10 days or so.” And with this, I curse myself to inculcate a sense of cowardice into my sister’s head who just happened to pass out school and get into college.
(A SNAPSHOT OF WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED, ORIGINALLY POSTED BY AN LSR STUDENT)
This is what our women are usually told to do, Right? – ‘Hide off’. Hide off because it is so ingrained in our mentalities that it is only a woman who would suffer at the end. It is only a woman who would succumb to a ‘not-so-conducive’ situation and eventually surrender, step back and sulk. Since it all starts with a being a woman, it must end at a woman only. Isn’t it? So the best choice is to shove our faces into some deep dark corners and behave as if nothing happened. Coming out open and talking about anything as daunting and painful as rape, molestation or sexual harassment, is only going to fetch wide-eyed faces to us. I call this cowardice as wearing a death mask. The resolution would rather be left at God’s behest since humanity has failed to bring a solution to this.
So I wore my death mask and as one of those cowards (yes you read that right), advised my sister to refrain going outdoors till Holi ends, simply because I love her to bits. I would also like to show one more sign of my cowardice here. I secretly wish and pray that the news doesn’t make much noise and is suppressed right here right now. Along with yawning, crime is also contagious in India. Like lawyers refer to age-old case studies in their proceedings, criminals in India are always out there seeking a new way of committing the same crime. Don’t you remember Nirbhaya’s case where a string of similar incidents took place; of inserting sharp instruments into female genitals and murder the victim after the assault. I am sure you do. So I wish this news is nipped in the bud and is not talked about the second time.
If you ask me in person I would always choose Holi over any other as my favourite. My words won’t match my actions though if you actually get to see me on the day of the festival. To my dismay, people have forgotten the sheer purpose as to why Holi was celebrated in the first place, let alone the ways and means they resort to celebrate it. This is another sign of my cowardice you would notice as I step back from putting myself around people who seek joy on forcefully smearing chemicals on people’s faces. I would never be able to decipher as to why?
My Holi was different than this. My Holi knew the vibe of togetherness and an anticipation of meeting friends and loved ones. My Holi knew a grounding trail of delicacies and cuisines that started a week before and stayed for the month. My Holi knew imbibing love and fervour in a way that transpired to only sweet memories. I can’t seem to spot a hint of that Holi anywhere. I don’t know what happened to my Holi. I saw it a decade back last and is nowhere to be found now. I miss my Holi. I really do.