Devotees burn Holika on the eve of the Holi festival in Bhopal on Sunday
Devotees burn Holika on the eve of the Holi festival in Bhopal on Sunday
FP photo

Bhopal: Holi, a festival of maximum contact, has taken a unique turn this year. The festivities have been restricted to houses and small groups. This is the first time when, in generations, people will be celebrating Holi locked inside their homes. The festival is all about meeting one another and applying colours on one another. But the disease has trapped everyone inside the four walls of their homes. All they can do is hold family celebrations, say Bhopalis unanimously.

As Bhopal readies to celebrate Holi amid the lockdown, Free Press spoke to a few Bhopalis to get to know their spirit of Holi. Excerpts:

‘Small home party with kids’

‘This is a difficult time for all of us. But festivals are all about celebrating the small things in life. I’m a working woman, so, I hardly get any time to cook festival delicacies. That’s why I’ve ordered laddoos and mathris and other snacks from a home cook and have planned a small-scale Holi party with five kids. I have an 8-year-old daughter. She was really excited about the festival, so, I invited her friends who live nearby. I’ve planned some fun games for the children. We’ve installed a huge plastic pool which I plan to fill with organic colours. I couldn’t take the kids shopping due to the pandemic, so, she missed out on it. But she understands the severity of the situation and is happy to have fun with her family and friends’

— Manisha Anand, businesswoman

Manisha Anand, businesswoman
Manisha Anand, businesswoman
FP photo

‘Loads of food on the table’

‘Holi has always been my favourite festival. I’m a third-year student of Kanpur Medical College. We used to have so much fun playing with colours at the hostel. Our friends throw each other into huge water tanks and make runs of the entire campus, some trying to escape from being splashed with colours, and others chasing the former. This year, we’re bound to our homes. I can’t imagine a Holi without a huge group. My college Holi was a reflection of how I used to play Holi as a child. I had a group of about 18 friends and we used to run across other colonies. We used to have a competition where we had to save ourselves from each other’s attacks. This year, there’s nothing like that, but I’m thankful that I’m with my family during these tough times. My mother is an amazing cook and she’s been making a variety of sweets for the past two days. We’re a huge foodie family and will celebrate the festival with loads of food on our table’-— Ananya Tiwari, medical student

Ananya Tiwari, medical student
Ananya Tiwari, medical student
FP photo
Vishesh Pandey, retired armyman
Vishesh Pandey, retired armyman
FP photo

‘Festival of food and health’

‘We’ll stay put this year, for a lovely Holi next year. The 2021 Holi can be a festival of food and health. I have a son, a daughter-in-law and a 13-year-old grandchild. He is quite active on social media. He said, ‘Dadu, since we don’t have to keep so much colour for a huge party, we can make organic colours at home.’ He has found so many ways to make colour from plants by surfing online. We’ve made them at home and will enjoy the day with our family and some tasty food. Ever since I was young, I’ve had a special corner in my heart for the Festival of Colours. I didn’t belong to a very well-to-do family. I lived with my parents, uncle and grandparents in a small colony. I remember every intricate detail about Holi of all my 88 years. We’ve been brought up in a tight-knit family environment. The entire village used to be our home and every single person used to storm out into the open fields to play with colours or mud—whatever they get their hands on to. This year, Holi isn’t like every year. But health is the priority. Our ancestors have said ‘Jaan Hai to Jahan Hai’.---Vishesh Pandey, retired armyman

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