Friday, March 9, 2012

Holi@Mantri,OMR:The scene of 'crime'

The morning after Holi war with water guns and colour powder, such was the scene of crime, as some would say. If it looks reasonably clean, it's because the mess they left was cleaned up by Holi revellers. As their prime mover Crystal Zachariah put it on our Facebook page, Yes,we made a hell of a mess, but made all efforts to clean up our fun. The fun may have been 'cleaned up'; I reckon the colours we left on the floor would take a few more days to go.
This picture gives us a sense of the 'the fun and colour' we created at Mantri central park. Oddly enough, the colour warriors couldn't find very many willing victims to train their water guns on. Apparently,Holi is not among our favourite festival at Mantri's, going by the turnout. Even the normal crowd of women, children and the elderly residents failed to show up. Holi enthusiasts chose the central park, in the first place, because of a captive crowd that would be a sitting target. And this would have a multiplier effect, with folks from the apartments around the central park joining in the colour-throwing. Crystal had driven all the way to Parry's to fetch the colours.
The enthusiasts got it wrong; found themselves isolated. What was worse, the Holi players (including yours truly) seeking to bring some colour and Holi hangama to our complex were dubbed 'trouble-makers'. PropCare received complaints. I don't know about the others, but the experience has had a sobering effect on me.
I suppose we should have adopted, what I call, 'a committee approach' - involving debate, deliberation, and disposal - to planning this Holi thing. Our thought was Holi, being a delightfully disorderly affair, wouldn't need a committee approval.Clowning around with colours comes naturally on Holi, even to otherwise sensible people. I can't imagine my friend Pandey doing, on any other day, what he did by the fountain side last evening. If anything, he is a responsible parent on other 364 days; usually seen in the mornings, pushing his four-month old in a stroller around the central park.
Anyway,the crazy idea started as a Facebook post that said, simply,'Holi plans?'. Someone left a comment; and one comment led to another and the idea of planning the Holi 'do' at Mantri residential complex went viral. It wasn't a govt. declared holiday, so the Holi revelry had to be done in the evening. That is when folks came out into the park. But not many did on Holi evening.
Mr Krishnamachari and wife were the exception. When young Pandey approached him Mr Chari happily submitted to the colouring of his face, so long as Pandey spared his shirt. Holi is a festival that licenses people to go berserk; to 'let your hair down', as the Brits would say. This isn't understood, much less appreciated in some quarters.
The bunch of Holi revellers were seen as 'trouble-makers' by some who watched the colour-throwing at the park from their apartment balcony. Following a complaint to Mantri project guys, about the mess being made of the common area, a security personnel came to stop the proceedings. He was greeted with colours smeared on his uniform. The security official was not amused; a sharp, but mercifully, brief, exchange of words ensued,leaving an unpleasant taste in mouth. Not quite the Holi spirit we wished to generate. What the security official didn't know was that PropCare, and all other staffers at the complex were invited to join us.
The staffers chose to stay away. Some who strayed into the 'warring' area faced the music. Gas Ramu is seen here with Mantri resident Manoranjan Pandey. Ramu, who faces a spate of complaints on erratic gas-supply from the likes of Pandey on a daily basis, seemed happy to play victim in true Holi spirit.
Speaking of such spirit is this pleasing photo in The Hindu. News channels telecast through the day yesterday video clips of how they celebrate Holi in other towns in India, and even in Karachi, Pakistan. Would like to share here the link to a media piece on Lathmar Holi celebrated in a UP village. Don't miss the photos in the slide-show.


  1. The Holi celebrations definitely brought colours into our otherwise mundane lives..but I would like to mention a couple of incidents that were not very much appreciated. Firstly, washing ourselves in the central fountain doesn't seem very colourful idea. It is yet to be cleaned.
    Secondly, youngsters (presumably the students staying as tenants and their friends from outside) who were far from sober and drenched in colours moved around the complex in packs making all sorts of hoot and call in the evening-say around 8:15-8:30 pm-much to the displeasure of the elderly. I, along with six-seven other residents witnessed it. I guess the complaints PropCare received about trouble-makers were about these people! The participation was low may be as many didn't know about it and usually people are in the habit of playing in the morning. We discuss every other thing in this forum, however, this time surprisingly, no one posted any Holi plans here!

    1. That 8.15-8.30 pm incident, of which I confess ignorance, is unacceptable. So is washing-in-the-fountain thing. Though it was being talked about in Facebook, there was no momentum on having a 'do' till the morning of Holi. It was essentially, a spur-of-the-moment activation process, from my end. Frankly, I was not into 'celebrating' Holi till I ran into a couple of North Indian friends at the gym.Then we called a few friends, asking them to spread the word. My reference to the poor turnout is essentially in the context of the 15 or 20 calls we made.
      Bottom line is, Holi as a social event works with self-discipline imposed by the strength of numbers. Maybe it isn't such a good idea to put enthusiasm before community norms.

  2. Festivals that are celebrated outside the four walls of the home should adhere to the society norms. And holi is actually smearing of dry colours. Now what we see is a waste of precious water. Next year, maybe some more rules can be enforced and the Mantri community can live in harmony without antagonising other residents. Besides, if one does not want to join in the festivities their sentiments should be respected.

    1. Would be nice, if such comment is attributed, instead of being 'Anonymous'. Apparently, the person who left this comment did not notice the tab below, asking for 'Reply as' option.