our own Valentine’s day

The Kannada phrase for Holi is “kaamana habba”, or Kama‘s festival. It is supposedly on this day that Kama, the Hindu god of love, danced in front of the meditating Shiva in order to gain his attention. Shiva got incensed and opened his third eye and burnt Kama down to ashes. This of course, is one of the legends of Holi, apart from the other more famous one (more prevalent in North India) concerning Prahalad.

I’m surprised that the anti-love day cabal doesn’t really recognize Holi as the Indian festival of love. Maybe such constructive activities are beyond them, and they would rather get mileage stoning Archie’s outlets on Feb 14. The Indian media, too, doesn’t really care for this particular interpretation of the festival and mostly restricts itself to showing politicians patting each other’s cheeks. Of course, nowadays, the jobless TV media has gotten creative.

2 years back, NDTV wanted to cover Holi celebrations at IIMB. It was only after vehement protests and threats of boycott that the media cell asked the channel to f*** off. Yesterday, a friend who works at Headlines Today asked me if I knew any IT company which would be celebrating Holi today! Absolutely jobless. I’m surprised people still advertise on these channels.

Now that the digression is out of the way, it is quite clear that Holi is the Indian version of love day. For starters, as I mentioned, it is to commemorate the decimation of the love God, the Hindu cupid. And the “rules” and “processes” at the festival clearly promote love. It is a festival that promotes touch, and who will really mind, if you make one touch too many on a member of the opposite sex (provided he/she doesn’t mind the touch, of course). Then, like most other Indian festivals, it is a community festival. And the way it is celebrated gives immense scope for flirting.

In the Holi atmosphere, it is easy to signal your intentions. Some extra colour, or an extra bucket of water, can be easily used to draw attention.? Traditionally, people dress in white, and you end up extremely wet. And all male “players” anyway get their shirts torn off. So, immense scope are there for lech also. And as if all this was not enough, there is Bhaang!

There is further evidence that Holi is the Indian day of love. Baada informs me that typically? the male and female deities at Srirangam are housed separately. It is only on Holi day that they are brought together. If this is the day of love for the conservative Iyengar God and Goddess, it is obviously the day of love for everyone else! In fact, Baada has traveled all the way to Srirangam to witness this spectacle.


is conducting? a quiz on Love at Daly Memorial Hall at one thirty pm. Knowing Arul, it should be fun.


It is cloudy outside and there was a slight drizzle this morning. Traditionally, it is supposed to rain on Holi day – in order to cool down Kama’s ashes.

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