Imagine a large crowd at a fancy Hauz Khas ground in New Delhi’s posh South Delhi area busting out their choice Bollywood moves to DJ Crayzeee’s Dhol Mix of ‘Rand Barse‘, Bhang or, more likely Vodka-Sprite, in one hand and an acid green water-pistol filled with mellow-yellow colored water in the other. There are photogs, News reporters and the occasional Holi-bash crasher on the prowl as the chic Delhiite parties on with abandon.
Welcome to the new age Holi celebration. Gone are the days when Holi was a festival when family and friends greeted each other with flowers, gujias and organic Vermilion teekas. When one wore white and harmlessly pelted one another with flower-based colors and doused water on each other with simple pichkaaris after gathering around to pray to God to mark the triumph of good over evil.
For instance, in 2011, India‘s capital was host to ‘Holi Cow’ on Vasantotsav (Huh, what’s that?), a rock concert featuring artistes like Menwhopause, Mob Marley Inc., et al which commercializes the festival as well as ensures that teenagers and ‘hip’ Delhiites skip the customary family lunch for an orgy of dubstep, rap and what-not.
Holi is fast becoming a breeding ground for tomfoolery, debauchery and commercialization. There are umpteen cases where boys take advantage of girls, touch them inappropriately and harass them. Illicit liquor, Bhang and other recreational drugs are pedalled freely on this day as the pot-bellied Delhi Police turns a blind eye labeling these exchanges as ‘innocent merrymaking on Holi‘. Mithai shops crank up the prices of frilly ribboned and sequined pre-packaged sweet hampers which not only taste manufactured but, also take away the joy of feasting on fresh homemade sweets.
It seems the undertones of the ‘festival of Spring’ are quietly withering away and like everything else, this link to India’s rich culture and history is dissolving fast into oblivion, just like the shade of organic Holi red dissolves into nothingness when synthetic color is added to the same bucket of water.