In a few weeks time, Holi, the festival of colours is going to be celebrated all over India. For the past few decades, the diaspora of Indians all over the world also celebrate in varying shades. No pun intended!!
People from the outside, looking in, wonder, why do these crazy Indians smear colored powder on each other, throw buckets of colored water on people passing by and walk around streets holding “pichkaris’ (long and big syringes!) spraying passersby. We walk the streets to friends homes and go grab people out of hiding to smear and drench them in the variety of colours that we carry.
As a child I was never allowed to celebrate or play holi. Holi, is predominantly a Hindu festival and my grandparents who raised me believed that a Christian should not participate in festivities that were non Christian. I rebelled, kicked and screamed and was eventually locked up in my room for that day. I envied some of my cousins who went out and celebrated with their friends.
As soon as I became an adult, and for most Indian women that happens when they marry and leave for their husbands home, I celebrated Holi with wild abundance.
Today, I sit far away from the land of colours and look back and realise, that my grandparents were not really tyrants or bigots. They were from a different century and a different era. Life for them was limited, exposure to the world was limited, and words to express were limited. But the question I have today for everyone across different religious spectrums, is that why can’t we celebrate it as a time to cherish our Indian heritage, our culture? There is still, in this day and age so many ruptures on this fabric that we call life. Social Media, good or bad, allows you to see that some mindsets have not changed. There is a line, still. You are Hindu, I am Muslim, you are Christian, I am Jew. By smearing a little color on your friends, by wishing them in their own words on their celebration, you lose nothing. Religion and faith have their own place. No one can strip anyone off them being a Muslim, or a Hindu or a Sikh. It does not make you born again to a different religion. We need to embrace each others difference and celebrate or common heritage as Indians.
Today, as I look at our current world, nothing really is different and nothing seems to have changed from the mind set decades ago. We talk about being awake and woke, but are we really? So much in this day and age is ruptured. No two people seem to agree on anything, be it politics, be it faith, be it a choice in our clothes, be it farmers in India or be it the Pope on his visit to Iraq!
Can we not just be humans and find joy in a fellow human, regardless of our beliefs??
Wouldn’t the world be a happier place?