Members of Newpaper Hawkers’ Association play with gulal at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Tuesday. (Prashant Mitra)
Holi hai, finally. It’s late date this year according to the Hindu Panchang, so the spring fest is falling in summer. The Telegraph takes a recce of top trends
Turn off taps
“Sookhi Holi kheley, peyajal ki barbadi rokey”. Punsters will love it — sookhi (dry) equals sukhi (happy) Holi.
State drinking water and sanitation department, grappling with imminent summer water crisis, has stated that playing Holi with water is tantamount to 150 litres gone down the drain per person. According to official figures, on a normal day, a person uses 75 litres, including for bathing, washing clothes and other needs. “We have appealed to the masses to play a waterless Holi this time. Play with dry gulal that can be dusted off,” said Swetabh Kumar, the department’s superintending engineer. “Will even one per cent of the population heed us?” he asked.
Census 2011 says Jharkhand has 32 million people, making it the 13th most populated state. Kumar clinched his argument for a waterless Holi with numbers: “If 10 lakh people play waterless Holi, we save 7,50,00,000 litres.”
Some Ranchiites have promised to pay heed. “We will play Holi with dry gulal. It’s the right time to save water. Every drop counts,” said retired government employee R.P. Srivastawa of Chitragupt Nagar Colony. “There are over 100 residents. We will play dry Holi,” chipped in resident S.K. Sinha. GeNext is not far behind. “I won’t waste water after observing World Water Day on March 22,” said Atul Anand of St Xavier’s College
Ramesh Prasad, an office-goer, went about asking vendors at Doranda, Ranchi, who were the ones selling only organic colours.
“I insist on playing Holi with safe and eco-friendly gulal,” he said. “Harmful chemicals in ordinary colours result in skin irritations and medical complications,” he added. “A 100gm packet of organic gulal comes for Rs 15, Rs 5 cheaper than the ordinary variant,” said Ranjeet, the owner of a makeshift stall. “As a layman, it is tough for me to verify quality. So I buy costlier products thinking they are better,” Prasad said
Remember Big B going rang barse after downing bhaang? Called Lord Shiva’s favourite, bhaang barfi and kalakand are in demand till Thursday. Jamshedpur confectioners are displaying the sweets in counters. Bhaang barfis are available at Rs 300 a kg while ones with more khoya and kheer come for Rs 350 to Rs 400 a kg. Kalakand comes for Rs 280 a kg. “Bhaang sweets are tough to make as we have to be cautious about the quantity of the green paste we mix. Too much bhaang is harmful,” said a Sakchi-based sweet shop owner, Bablu Gupta. But now, bhaang-laced drinks — the one that Bollywood heroes and heroines gulped before shedding inhibitions — have vanished. Bhaang, prepared by grinding leaves of Cannabis indica, finds mention in Artharva Veda as a medicinal relaxant. Though cannabis is banned in the state, officials can’t stop sale of bhaang sweets during Holi due to religious sentiment, admitted T.P. Burnwal, state food controller
Downloads sink sales
Mobile downloads are ringing the death knell for music industry belting out Holi numbers. In the not-too-distant- past, bawdy Bhojpuri Holi songs meant great business. Not any more. Reason? No one needs to buy CDs or MP3s when music can be downloaded. So, from around 60 music retailers in Jamshedpur alone, the number now is barely 20. Sales are down by less than “one-tenth”, they say. “It’s all mobile and computer mania now. In 2010-11, we used to sell 400-500 CDs and MP3s of Holi songs a day. Now, there are hardly any customers,” said Madhu Nayak of Honey Audio-Video, Sakchi.
Music plays on — Manoj Tiwary, Pawan Singh, Anupam, Anamika Singh and Indu Sonali are popular names. Only the medium has changed. Even attractive CD covers — Holi Special Dhamaka, Rang Barse and Facha Fach Holi — fail to attract buyers.
“How can we compete? A CD for Rs 30 has 10 songs. In a 1GB chip, one can download around 200 songs for a mere Rs 15,” said Bablu Pandey of RK Cassette Center, Sakchi. Plus, this year, the volume will be muted. Subdivisional officer (Dhalbhum) Subodh Kumar issued a directive against playing music in public places, citing violation of Indian Copyright Act 1957. Violation would attract fines between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh and imprisonment between six months and two years
Compiled by Arti S. Sahuliyar and Achintya Ganguly in Ranchi; Animesh Bisoee and Antara Bose in Jamshedpur