It’s that day of the year where gullies of every street are filled with colours, houses are packed with the aromas of gujiyas, and individuals are busy shouting ‘Holi hai’ while splashing gulaal on each other.
There is joy, fervour and a lot of excitement for the festival that marks the departure of winter and the arrival of spring. But, also, there is a worry back in the minds about the after-effects produced by these colours. Hence, this year, ‘organic’ is the buzzword.
With an increasing awareness about the hazards of these harsh hues over the past few years, there has been a shift among people opting for such colours and the stores selling them. There is more customer awareness resulting in more markets ruling out these synthetic colours.
Going back to roots
Traditionally, Holi was played by colours that were made from flowers and herbs, served to nourish the skin and hair, while clothes were the only casualties; but, with time, dyes replaced these natural ingredients leading to more casualties.
“Things have changed drastically. With vibrant shades and metallic sheens, the synthetic colours are very attractive, especially to children. Also, the promises of ‘permanent’ and ‘long-lasting’ are enticing for the playful pranksters,” says Veena Rao, a city dermatologist.
It’s fun to play with colours and water but the harsh chemicals present in them could cause skin, hair and eye problems. “The consequences of these colours are more than skin deep which are making people consciously reach out to organic and opting for herbal ones,” she adds.
Owing to increased awareness about the harmful effects of chemical colours, Pradeep, a shop owner from Lal Bazaar, explains about the switch among people from chemical to organic. “The cost of the synthetic one falls in the bracket of Rs 30-50 per kg. But, the prices of herbal colours are at least three times higher. In spite of this factor, there is still a demand for the organic ones which is growing, year by year.”
Bursting with bounty of colours, the festival provides a sense of ritual and tradition. It is nothing short of a massive cultural celebration that brings loved ones together. So, let’s vow to switch from chemical to organic, and stay safe and healthy. Happy Holi!
Ditch the artificial
Celebrating Holi without smearing colours on your loved ones is meaningless but one needs to be conscious while getting such colours home.
— Ruma Banerjee, parent
The varied colours usher in joy and happiness into our lives, so let’s not fall for the wrong one.
— Ashish Patel, corporate employee
Not buying those synthetic colours is not only safe for you but also for the animals around you.
– Shikha Pivhal, dog owner
Organic colours are safe for the skin as well as the environment. So, let’s be kind to our planet.
– Pallavi Rao, social worker
Embracing the right spirit of this festival is to play with the right colours.
– Vishal Rathod, student