Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Happy Holi!

For us, South Indians, holi festival is still new esp.for people who have never stayed outside their state in South India.  Until a few years back, we knew about holi only via books, TV, film songs etc.  We had seen some youngsters, esp. Hindi speaking people, roaming around with colours on their faces, hands and clothes.

I had the first taste of holi, when we were in Hosur.  Hosur is an industrial town (border town of Tamilnadu and Karnataka).  Many industries are there like Ashok Leyland, English Electricals, TVS and many many more.  People from all over India came for working in these companies and had their families in the (mostly) housing board colonies.  We too were like them. So, we had Maharashtrian, Gujarathi, Bengali friends, apart from people from Karanataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamilnadu. My children too had classmates from different parts of India.  So, we became familiar with different customs and rituals.  Common language was Hindi and English.  I learnt to make Maharashtrian cuisine and Gujarathi cuisine! Am familiar with a few Bengali cuisine too.  We had a Bengali friend who invited us to Durga pooja (during Navarathri festival) prepared pooris fried in GHEE  and channa without onion/garlic! I still remember the taste.

A Maharashtrian friend used to keep a huge Ganesha in her house during Ganesh Chaturthi and their Maharashtrian friends used to come and do bhajan and aarthi in her house.  We used to join them and learnt to sing 'Ganpathi bappa moria' with them!

Learnt to make sweet pickle from a Gujarathi friend! In that way, we are lucky.  If we had stayed in Chennai, we wouldn't have known/or come in contact with so many cultures.  But on second thought, the times are changing and it is not like 20 years back.  Thanks to IT industry, we come across the whole of India in our neighbourhood in Chennai itself plus Japanese and Koreans who work in the automobile industries.  When we were children, after we shifted to Chennai from Udupi, my mother started celebrating Pongal at home, by making sweet pongal on the day of the festival! So, we gradually change according to the surroundings we have.

Well, now let me come back to holi festival.  I joined the holi celebration with my Maharashtrian friend's family.  I went to her house with my usual saree.  As soon as she opened the door, I was covered with colour powders....people were standing inside and throwing colours on me! I was a bit taken aback.  After a few minutes, I was normal and joined them!  Children also had joined.  When I came back home, walking on the road (it was a housing colony and very few people were playing holi there) and entered my house, my husband was shocked to see me full of different colours!  Everything was new to us.  I still remember the way I enjoyed playing like children, throwing colours at others.  Can't imagine doing so at our circle!

I forgot to tell one thing, we used to hear Amitabh singing the holi song at least
5-6 times in the radio, TV etc. on the day of the Holi and do so even now!

 And this song too!

Shahnaz Husain has given some handy tips to enjoy the festival without damaging one's skin and hair in today's 'The Hindu'(click here pl.) newspaper. It should be very useful.

Enjoy the colourful festival! 
Happy Holi!

Holi photo courtesy: Google


SG said...

Happy Holi to you. You wrote "we gradually change according to the surroundings we have." Thai is excellent. My point is why North Indians, when they live in Bangalore or Chennai, insist on speaking in Hindi and not learn the local language. Even in Chennai restaurants, the waiters talk to the customers in Hindi. How would it look if a Tamil waiter in a restaurant in Patiala starts talking to customers in Tamil!

Sandhya said...

SG: Thank you, SG!We don't do anything today at home! We don't have people in our complex who celebrate holi!

Our people here, in Chennai seem to blend with the Hindi speaking people very well. Many have started speaking Hindi! The Hindi speaking people who have come here have started learning Tamil fast! In Adyar Ananda Bhavan, Ooty vegetables and many other shops, we see many Hindi speaking people. They are managing the cash also, which is very surprising! Husband says that they are good workers..He is/was an electrical contractor and managed the Hindi speaking labour very well. He likes them! It is as if we see them everywhere nowadays! Good or bad, time will tell. Sincere workers, they sure are and I can notice it.

SG said...

I did not say anything about their work ethic. They may be excellent workers. All I was commenting was their language preference. You live in Chennai and therefore you would know better. All I said was with my limited experience of staying in Chennai for 6 months only last year.

Sandhya said...

SG: They are learning Tamil fast...But cannot imagine our people speaking in Tamil in Delhi restaurants! Here, the current generation know Hindi...at least can understand Hindi, thanks to the Dravidian party who banned the 3 language formula. People opted for Hindi and French as second language...Tamil was not made compulsory like Bengaluru. The regional language is compulsory there.

Destination Infinity said...

Early on, I was living in the Parrys area where there are lot of North Indians who bring holi powder and throw it on anyone going on the road. It was shocking to us!

In one school, I was punished because someone had thrown holi powder on my white shirt, when we were not supposed to play holi in the school. What can I do in such a situation, I still don't understand!

I hope people start buying organic holi powder that doesn't harm their skin or the environment. I still don't understand why they play with colors during this festival.

Destination Infinity

Sai Charan said...

Felt happy reading this post, reminded me of the childhood days when I used to play Holi with all the kids in the neighbourhood :) We have always played Holi in Hyderabad - atleast I can speak for the people who live in my colony.

Thank you Sandhyaji for sharing your experiences and two wonderful songs. Also, the Holi song from Sholay is played on radio, "Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jaate Hain, Rangon Mein Rang Mil Jaate Hain".

Happy Holi to you, Uncle and all the family!! :)

Take care Sandhyaji,
Sai :)

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: Every region in our country has got its own flavours, in language, in celebrating festivals or weddings or the way we wear our clothes...mind boggling. This is also one of them.

SAI CHARAN: Yes, they celebrate Holi in Hyderabad. Only deep south people were alien to this festival...not now, though!

How are you Sai? Nice to see you here!

Loco mente said...

Happy Holi!!! I completely agree with you... It was reverse trend in my life... Because my early years were in Bangalore where Holi is played in full zeal... And later moved to Tamil Nadu and Kerala which is still untouched by it...

Btw... My memories with holi always terrifies me... To know why - locomente.blogspot.in/2012/03/holi-re.html

ram said...

being a telugu guy from rayalaseema, we never knew holi or rakhi,but with time people started celebrating them blindly. i din't like it when people did for the sake of it. we should do things only if we are really passionate or if our involvement can be whole-hearted. till date not even single drop of color din't fell on me though we live in hyderabad. we can follow or like certain trends from other cultures only if they are meaningful to us. i do like gujarathi food,so i visit gujarathi bhojanalay often. its really sweet and very tasty. i did live in chennai for 3 years,i felt chennai very peaceful and disciplined compared to other cities. staying at adyar and visiting anand bhavan,sangeetha and watching movies at satyam cinemas in royapetah and eating pongal at idly n dosa cafe inside multiplex was most peaceful and happiest life. kasturba nagar in adyar was my fvrt. there was classical dance/music school opposite my apartment,it was really cool to see young girls learning such things.

i dunno, i don't like holi. i felt rakhi and holi very superficial. many of my classmates in hyderabad used to say that they play holi to flirt with girls and to touch them. i felt their mindset perverse and you may find holi parties with scantily clad women at star hotels and on music channels like zoom.

vishal bheeroo said...

Happyy Holi!! Can Holi be the same without Amitabh Bachchan rendering Rang Barse. The best part about Holi are emotions, feeling and friends. That's what India is all about colors reaching each and every part of the country:)

Onkar said...

True. It is nice to get in touch with so many different cultures. Happy Holi.

Jeevan said...

I remember, during in school I used to see some north Indian students with traces of pinkish and blue colors on the necks. Those days we don’t know there are specific color powers for holi, so we used to throw the color powers that mom brought to mix with kolamaavu (flour used for kolam) and say happy holi. hehehe

Expose to different culture and experiment with new is quite fun… and that really sound exciting to drench in colors all the sudden!

Sandhya said...

LOCO MENTE: Yes, Tamilnadu is calm as ever on the holi day. Some housing complexes which has got many Hindi speaking people and North Madras celebrate.

Read your post on holi. Some people misuse the happy occasion. Take care.

RAM: Adyar area is cool. Many activities take place here. These types of festivities are celebrated to enjoy and be happy but some people don't do that.

VISHAL BHEEROO: What you say is right, Vishal. These festivities make people to come closer to each other and enjoy! Every region in our country celebrates these cultural activities in different names. Otherwise life will be mechanical.

ONKAR: Yes, Onkar! Happy holi!

JEEVAN: Kolamaavu colours! Fun! This festival is just for fun and enjoyment!

sm said...

happy Holi
both songs are good

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

Oooh I love festivals.. and the post reminded me of two years back when i was in India celbrating Holi, what a great day it was ..

Recently have not been good and your post has put a smile on my face , bringing some memories .. Hope you had a good holi...

Festivals bring people closer and thats how they should be .. there is too much of ill will and bad blood otherwise .. maybe the more we celbrate the more closer we can get to each other...


Sandhya said...

sm: I was hearing these songs for nearly 3 days...repeats everywhere, in radio, in TV!

BIKRAMJIT SINGH MANN: So happy to see you here, Bikram! Happy to know that you enjoyed the post! Yes, festivals bring people closer to each other...esp. these types of festivals do.

Take care, Bikram!

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