The Green Monster and Other Victims of the Holi Army

Or, “Remember, water shortages have arrived so don’t mess up more than one set of clothes,” this year, there will also be warnings like, “These chemical colours are toxic, so we don’t want you falling ill during exams!”

Lip-smacking green monsters

Have you watched when your Ma makes paalak paneer or pudina chutney? The green colour is deep, rich and would look divine when sprayed onto some poor soul in a cream kurta! So how about deciding on a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Holi? Think of all the home-made colours you could spray out of your pichkari.

DEEP GREEN: Take about 4 bunches of paalak, boil it for about 4 -5 minutes and run it in the mixie. Then dilute this thick mixture with about 3 litres of water. (Maybe you could add a little salt so that if your poor victim happens to lick the green goo off her face, it would also taste good — just as a bonus!)

For a dry green colour powder, mix mehendi powder with besan in a 1:1 proportion. If you have the time, strip a few branches of the gulmohur tree of its leaves and leave them to dry. Later, when powdered, this also makes for a safe green powder.

RICH MAROON:  This is another DIY Holi colour that is non-toxic and can add some rich iron to your blood stream if you happen to consume it when it’s sprayed on you! Grate up about half a kilo of beetroot and boil in a large kadai filled with about 4 -5 litres of water. Leave it to cool overnight, by which time its colour turns even deeper.

Turmeric (haldi/manja powder), mixed with besan powder or rice flour, makes a great yellow dry colour. Now, while paalak and beetroot don’t really stain the clothes, turmeric most certainly does! But hey, turmeric and besan powder are great for your skin, so after fooling around this Holi, you could emerge with a ‘new and improved’ complexion!

CAMOUFLAGE! Now some of us really like Holi and all that happens during the festival…but we sort of like it happening far away from us. So here’s a little secret.
There’s no need to hide like a refugee in your room all day. Nor is there any need to broadcast the information that you hate having colour sprayed on you That’s like waving a red flag in front of the bull in a Spanish bull fight. Instead, take out your most despised clothes (the one your dreadful aunt got you; which you’ve never worn and your mother won’t let you give away because it’s from a ‘loved one’). And get yourself an old toothbrush.

Now lay out this shirt on an open sheet of paper and get to work with a few jars of fabric paint. You could arbitrarily dip the tooth brush into the paint and by running your finger through the bristles, spray the colour in random fashion all over the shirt.

Or you could cut out paper letters like ‘H’, ‘A’ and so on to read, ‘H-A-P-P-Y HOLI’. Arrange these paper letters on the back of your shirt and spray a series of colours all over them. When you remove the letters, you’ll have a great ‘Happy Holi’ message on your shirt.

So when you step out dressed like this, most Holi revellers will believe that you’ve already played Holi somewhere and won’t chase you to splash you with that ‘first’ blast of colour! Clever trick, right?

So go ahead, and have a happy and safe Holi.

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