The day of the colors!! When Bhaang rules the roost and people are required to be wild for a change. This festival of our tradition spares us the arduous task of celebrating something much too formally and asks you to let your spirits free and enjoy the day to the hilt.
Festivals in India have developed through the ages. While colors are natural now, the fire crackers are GHG emission free!! While people are more accommodating to rascals some are even lesser so. ‘bura na mano holi hai‘ is as vulgar a term as any I could ever find in the urban indian hindi dictionary. This festival does not guarantee you a safe passage to invade the homes of your acquaintances and spread the largesse of painted walls and stained ceilings all around. Nor does it ask you to be wild with whomsoever and whatsoever you may encounter during the day. What it does say is to use colors as a symbol to bring in some of them literally into your life. By incorporating fits of madness it has been suggested by scientists you can lead a non-monotonous and happy life. This is what holi is all about.
I despise both of the devil incarnations. The ones who play it over-zealously and the ones who play the over-zealous spoil-sport. I have encountered both and have been quite literally pissed off by with no exception, both. This is not some of your wild-f#$ing-fitful orgy where you can just plunder and parade around with flashing colors and bright metallic adhesives. This, in turn is also not just another day in your life. Its one in which the inherent wild and irrational nature of man is asked to be let loose and set free.
About 4 years ago, I was back in my hometown Giridih celebrating this auspicious day just as it was supposed to be celebrated. Friends and family gathered around and played it playfully and that too with natural colors!!Had a hell of a time with them all as holi always is with the ones you love and care about. I was in a buoyant mood and not done with the day suggested a ride on the countryside with pals. Call it irnoy or anything but it was I who suggested to some of my friends to take out the bike and make a round-about trip of the town in the elusive hope of some rare bird-watching- I am a big fan of birds you know.
There we were riding aimlessly through the streets and corridors of our dusty little town, sleepy always except offcourse when it comes to holi. It would seem to any new-comer that the people here save their energy to be used entirely on this day and this is why Giridih is where Giridih is. Anyways, it was a pretty wide alley and we had really hoped to find some rare species of birds around. There were around 30 odd people huddled infront of the alley playing holi as mercilessly as it could be played. Buckets full of wet-garbage and slime were their instruments and they were the bright metallic silver masters painted red somewhere and black in other. I would have hoped to pass by them un-noticed, foolish it may seem now but then it was not so. I pushed the accelerator and took my bike to the 4th gear to cruise through the unruly crowd. No dare there.
Since these were the roads of a shanty little town in your upcoming neighbourhood there cannot be room for more than 2 bikes on a single pavement. We were 4 friends on 2 bikes wandering around. Try as I might I could not make myself tear through the elite infront of us. A hand rested on my shoulders and I heard someone shouting-” Arre fatafat laao, yeh log kaafi jaldi mein lag rahe hain”.
I had to stop my bike.
I turned around to see a 6 foot giant standing tall infront of my passenger making it a definite point to show that we can go only when he will allow us to. I heard a splash and immediately traced the source. It was the other bike which was now turned to gleaming black in place of gleaming red. The junta on it were heard coughing and cursing all the way.
Hoodlum: arre yaar…bura na mano holi hai.
Me: aise holi kheli jaati hai? dhang se nahin khel sakte?
Hoodlum: naah, maine kaha na..bura na mano holi hai.
Me: holi ke naam pe katl kar doge to bhi bologe- bura na mano holi hai?
Hoodlum: abe pagal ho gaya hai kya, kuch bhi bolega. shukra manao kichhad daal rahe hain, kichhad mein duba nahi rahe hain.
Me (understandably subdued): bura na mano naadaan hun. daalo kichhad hi daal do.
My turn. I had to brace myself for this biological attack. Oh, how I then wished I should have heeded to my mom and applied anti-dotes in the form of vaseline but then that would have corrupted the whole notion of holi. But this was not holi!! This was a mob playing out its handi-works nice and easy. Such is the power of the un-ruly that 1 in 100 compensates for the rest of the 99. Its not about the ganvaar sadakchaap gunde mawalis, its more to do with the general psyche of people. I was drenched in shit, slime and kichhad as we call it here in-case you are wondering. I decied not to play holi in giridih after that.
The phrase bura na mano holi hai has remained a one-off spin-offs of the mob. I very much expect some others on similar lines to crop up pretty soon. For example:
1. bura na mano MNS hai.
2. bura na mano ladke hain. (On eve-teasing for the tubelights amongst us)
3. bura na mano elections hain, woh bhi general wala elections.
4. burna na mano Indians hain. ( on what? there can be so many!!)
5. bura na mano recession hai. ( Job cuts )
6. bura na mano sarkari hai. ( State banks, post-office, bsnl/mtnl etc., you get the picture)
7. bura na mano samaaj hai. (Samaaj is a hindi term for society)
8. bura na mano jehaad hai.
9. bura na mano humare sanskaar hain. (On the self-vigilantes amongst us-the moral police that is).
10. bura na mano Bharat hai.
All of them listed above will stand out only due to one reason. Using something good, something worth-while in the society, distorting it to un-recognizable limits and then chucking it to the re
ceptive mob. This is the job of select elements of the society who has nothing left to do other than grab whatever power the mob provides him with and using it to the hilt. You have heard of Financial engineering, this is India, we have social engineering, mob engineering and culture engineering. It does not come as a surprise that Engineers are constantly in so much demand.