The festival of Holi may be almost a fortnight away but the senior citizens of Nerul CBD Belapur Walkers Association a registered organisation in Navi Mumbai have begun preparations. This year the celebration falls on March 27, and one group member has been given the task of getting dry colours for everyone.
“It is the festival of colours and we have decided to keep away from chemicals and oil paints. We are also refraining from throwing water, and will instead water plants. Parsik Hill is full of trees planted by us and we are happy to do so,” said Brigadier Dharam Prakash, past president and current member of the association.
The decision not to use water was taken after taking into consideration the current drought situation in several parts of Maharashtra. “Citizens must think twice about those villages where people are craving for water before wasting any while celebrating the festival in their homes and societies,” said Prakash.
What distinguishes this senior citizens’ group is the way they celebrate Holi. Chemical colours and water balloons do not find place in their festivities. It’s been five years since the association banned the use of materials that can be harmful to humans and the environment.
Nerul CBD Belapur Walkers Association was registered in 2002 with a view to form a group in which walkers can interact. The group’s celebrations happen at the scenic Parsik Hill. M O Damodaran, secretary of the group and a retired government official who resides in Nerul, said, “The group has 625 life members.
Being senior citizens we restrict ourselves from using watercolours and stick to using only organic colours. We are completely against the idea of people spraying chemical colours at each other.” The Holi celebrations every year are followed by a session of high tea for all. In fact, this year on the same day they would celebrate birthdays of all members falling this month.
Dr Dilipsingh Akali, another member of the association, says the members enjoy the safe celebrations each year. Akali wishes that other associations follow suit and bring some safety in the manner Holi is celebrated. D N Chapke, president of the association, says that in ancient India only organic colours were used to celebrate the festival.
“People used to prepare colours from palash flower. In fact we have started growing palash on the hill, which I had myself brought from my village. I have heard that colour made from palash flower is useful in strengthening the nervous system. Hopefully, in a few years we will also use colours from the flowers of the trees once they start blooming.”