With large parts of Maharashtra facing a terrible drought this year, schools across Mumbai are teaching students to use organic colours and not to play with water when they celebrate Holi this year. Children are also being told about recycling water, saving plants and the harmful effects of chemical colours.
Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY, Fr. Abraham Joseph, principal of St. Mary’s multi-purpose high school in Vashi said, “We are telling children to be more cautious while enjoying the festival. Self-discipline is very essential. Everyone should enjoy the festival but we must all make sure we do not harm anyone else. The other critical message we are passing on is that water should not be wasted. We are teaching our children to use all the water they would have thrown on each other, to water the plants instead, which would in turn benefit the environment.
At Kharghar’s Ryan International school, instructions are already being given to students for a safe Holi. When contacted principal Alice Vaz said, “During the assembly session in school we are constantly telling children to not waste water while celebrating the festival. Besides we tell them to stay away from harmful chemical colours and instead use organic colours which are not harmful.” For many children in Mumbai though, this will be a subdued, as the festival of colours falls bang in the middle of exam season.
With most of the school exams scheduled a day after Holi on March 27, most students say they would be busy studying and may give the celebrations a miss. Only a few wiser ones have studied well in advance so that they are able to enjoy on the day with colours and festivities. Ghansoli resident Ruchi Bhandari, 13, a class seven student from a school in Vashi has her Geography paper scheduled on March 28. “My exams begin on March 25 and on March 28 I have the geography paper.
One cannot enjoy something especially when you know that you have an examination the next day. Your first priority at such times is to concentrate on your exams. However, I have begun my preparations now itself so that on the day of Holi I am able to enjoy for at least some time with my family and friends,” the teenager told SMD. Similarly Nerul resident Leander Viegas, 9, a class four students who loves to play Holi with his friends, is sad.
Since his exams are scheduled to begin four days after Holi, he is unsure how he would be able to enjoy the festival with his friends. His mother Lilian feels generally kids begin playing Holi a day or two prior to the actual date of the festival.
“When children know they have exams soon after the festival, they got tense. In fact my son was asking me if I would permit him to go to play on the day of Holi. I am fine with him going to play as long as he completes his studies.”