“Don’t put colours on me! I get allergy,” pleaded dad. But the daughter was in no mood to listen. “How sweet!” the mother joined in, smearing his face with purple abir. Sourav Ganguly might not “enjoy” Holi anymore, but on Saturday evening he couldn’t escape daughter Sana and wife Dona. “It’s a festival I don’t enjoy. They start with colours but by the end they start putting all kinds of things,” laughed Dada, on the sidelines of Dona’s dance school Diksha Manjari’s annual Holi programme at their Behala address. In keeping with the Holi mood, Sourav caught Sana performing the perfect thumkas to Balam pichkari on stage. Pictures by B. Halder
Splash, dip, dunk! The weather is likely to be bone dry both on Sunday and Monday as there will be no excess moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal. So, make your Holi as wet as you can. The mornings promise to be hot and sunny with the maximum temperature hovering around 35 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal for this time of the year. The evenings will be pleasant with the minimum temperature likely to be around 20 degrees Celsius and maybe a hint of a breeze.
Special arrangements have been made for both Sunday and Monday to ensure safe and peaceful celebrations. Police teams led by senior officers will be on the roads to book anyone who forcefully splashes colours, throws balloons from high-rise buildings or harasses women. Extra personnel will be deployed to check speed biking and drink driving.
• 6,000 police personnel on roads
• 579 pickets on Sunday and over 500 on Monday
• Ghat areas and some other pockets, declared sensitive, will have special deployment
• 60 Radio Flying Squads
• 25 Heavy Radio Flying Squads
• 30 disaster management teams
• 44 motorcycles on patrol
DIAL FOR HELP
• Lalbazar control room: 22143230 / 22141310
• Distress call: 100
• Anti-stalking helpline (ASK): 8017100100
• Women in distress: 1091
Bidhannagar City Police
• Control room: 40621111
• Traffic helpline: 9051213100
Sunday will be a dry day. But if you (or your friends) have stocked up on booze, beer is the drink of the day, says mixologist Irfan Ahmed, since you can guzzle it straight from a can or bottle and avoid colours getting into your glass. “Vodka and white spirits tie for second place. When it comes to cocktails, Bellini and fresh fruit Mojitos are the top picks (make that hics!).”
There will be no curbs on Monday. Hic hic hurray!
ON THE GO
There will be few buses and taxis on road till 2pm on Sunday. Mega Cabs will take bookings “depending on availability of cabs”. Metro services will start at 2.45pm from Kavi Subhash and Dum Dum. The last trains will leave both stations at 9.45pm. In between, trains will run at 15-minute frequency. On Monday, the first trains will leave at 7am and the last trains at 9.45pm.
Holi is celebrated on the full moon of the lunar month of Phalgun. Basanta Utsav marks the onset of spring in its abundance of colours, bidding adieu to winter. It is a time for rejuvenation.
The most popular Holi myth is that of Holika, sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu. When his son Prahlad declared Lord Vishnu to be greater than his father, Hiranyakashipu ordered him killed. But the devout Prahlad survived all attacks. Finally Holika, who had a boon of immunity against fire, entered a pyre with Prahlad in her lap. But as the boon worked only when she was alone, she perished while Prahlad, chanting Vishnu’s name, was unharmed. The tradition of Holika dahan, the destruction of evil through a bonfire, draws from this myth as does the name of the festival.
In Bengal, Doljatra is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Dol Purnima is doubly significant as it marks the birth anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In literature, the festival of colours finds mention in the seventh century Sanskrit drama Ratnavali by King Harsha where people danced and sprayed coloured water in bamboo squirt guns for Holikotsav. Balam pichkari, anyone?
|M FOR MALINGA, M FOR MASTI: Students celebrate Holi at Presidency University on Saturday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Back to the present, organic is the way to go with colours this time. The shade? Stay true to the season’s trend with fuchsia, purple and pink.
Give white a miss and embrace a bit of radiant orchid, the Pantone Colour of the Year. [For those who still see things in black and white, Pantone refers to the New Jersey-based company with The Pantone Colour Matching System that defines the colour code across the fashion industry.] If you must do white, make sure you glam up with a nail varnish or accessories in radiant orchid, defined as “a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones”.
TOP SKIN TIP
“Apply lots of moisturising cream or oil and/or a barrier cream like Vaseline before stepping out. Don’t skip the sunscreen,” says dermatologist Sachin Varma.
TOP HAIR TIP
Be stylish and yet remember to protect your hair. “Tie long hair in a plait. Cover up with a hat if you can,” suggests beauty expert Priscilla Corner. And don’t forget to apply oil or split-end healing serum so that colour can’t penetrate while you play Holi.
PLAY IT AGAIN
A Holi party is incomplete without gaana shaana! So tune into ol’ favourites like Rang barse and Jai jai Shiv Shankar. “Rang barse is one evergreen song that has to be played at all Holi parties. Among the newer tracks, Balam pichkari is a must!” says DJ Akash.
Holi without sweets is like sweets without sugar. Taste traditional mishti like Abar Khabo and Keshar Bhog from Nalin Chandra Das & Sons or Jolbhora and Mousumi Sandesh from Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick. Or, experiment with Cadbury Mishti from any of the sweet shops taking part in the Cadbury Mishti Shera Shrishti — Football and Mishti Eki Anashrishti, in association with Anandabazar Patrika and The Telegraph. Choose from: Brazilian Samba, Spanish Tikitaka, English Free Kick, Italian Defence, Argentine Magic, French Header, German Blitzkrieg and Uruguayan Comeback. Another popular choice is Gujiya, synonymous with Holi for many!
A hectic Holi party and a lazy siesta over, it’s time to step out. Shop, browse or just hang around. South City Mall will open at 1pm on both Sunday and Monday while Quest, City Centre 1 and 2, Mani Square and Avani Riverside Mall will open doors at 4pm on Sunday and at their regular time on Monday morning. Forum will open at 3.30pm on Sunday and at the regular time on Monday.
Plan to eat out on Sunday? Dinner will give you more choices as several restaurants will open only in the evening.
Café Mezzuna at Forum, Mainland China at South City Mall and Avani Riverside Mall, Oh! Calcutta at Forum, Flame & Grill, Haka and Sigree will all be open from 6pm onwards on Sunday while all outlets of 6 Ballygunge Place and The Wall will be open from 7pm.
For lunch, you could head for Mocambo, Peter Cat, Bar-B-Q or Veda on Park Street, Mainland China on Gurusaday Road and at Silver Arcade or Oh! Calcutta at Silver Arcade. Flurys will open after 4pm on Sunday.
CATCH A MOVIE
If a holiday for you is incomplete without a trip to the movies, watch the new Queen of Bollywood Kangana Ranaut, catch Rishi Kapoor in great form as Sonam Kapoor’s father and Ayushmann Khurrana’s father-in-law in Bewakoofiyan, hit the Highway with Alia Bhatt or ogle Kevin Costner as he nails it in 3 Days to Kill. All INOX cinemas open at 5pm on Sunday while PVR shows will begin at 4pm. Both RDB and Mukti World will have shows from morning. On Monday, all plexes will be back to regular timings except INOX (Liluah) and INOX (Burdwan) which open at 5pm.
Super Sunday for football fans as the English Premier League throws up Manchester United versus Liverpool, 6.45pm on STAR Sports 4, followed by Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur, 9.15pm on STAR Sports 4.
On Monday, tune in to the India vs Sri Lanka warm-up match for the ICC World T20 2014 at 6.40pm on STAR Sports 2, STAR Sports 3, STAR Sports HD 1 or STAR Sports HD 2.