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The festival of colors and happiness - Holi has been my favorite festival since I was a little girl. Playing with gulaal, buying the prettiest and the biggest pichkaari were things I really looked forward to. But, over the past two years, I have come to detest the festival because the safety of women is at a heightened risk and nobody seems to care at all. And this year, we've hit a new low. Two girls from Lady Shri Ram College were victims of an attack with semen-filled balloons that were flung at them by random boys. Read the terrifying details of the incident here by Tolino Chishi herself who took to Instagram to share it:
The picture shown above was shared with the following caption:
I went out with a friend for lunch yesterday to a cafe in the Amar Colony Market.It was about 5 in the evening when we decided to head back. I had had a busy day, but it had been a good one, and although tired, I was happy.
That came to an end pretty abruptly though. Not a minute of our short rickshaw ride had passed when there came flying my way a liquid filled balloon of sorts, hitting me square in the hip, where it burst open, it’s contents seeping into my kurti and leggings. It dried white on my black leggings, and the foreign smell clearly indicated that it wasn’t water. Of course, at that point of time, I didn’t guess what it really was. Not even close to what it really was. You see, nobody had thrown semen at me before yesterday, or any other substance for that matter.For the past eighteen years of my life, I had had the great PRIVILEGE of not having semen flung at me, and I hadn’t even realised just what a fine life I had been allowed to live-Commuting on roads without having things thrown at me by groups of men! *gasp* imagine such a luxury!
Only when I returned to my hostel to hear another friend of mine talking about semen-flinging that was currently the Holi fad in the back market area, did I realise what had been thrown at me. Disgust, nausea, anger and frustration hit me in waves. More severe than anything of the sort I’d felt in quite a long time.
And you know what the best part was? Not a single person in that busy market batted a single eyelid at the sight of men throwing liquid-filled balloons at a girl. Silly me of course, expecting people to react to ‘normal’ things.
“It’s Holi season.”
“Men are men.”What an idiot for not being able to comprehend such a simple equation! I cringe in embarrassment at my own stupidity.
Ever since I’ve moved to this city seven months ago, I’ve been bumped against more than once by men who just seem to have invisible forces pushing them onto my back. All ‘accidentally’ of course. Hands have patted me inappropriately. Too many times I’ve crossed the road, blessed with a very colourful variety of nicknames by men in passing vehicles and two-wheelers.
Here is the second part of the incident:
Don't you think "Bura na mano holi hai" has been taken too literally? A festival that is a celebration of all things colourful and joyous has, over the years, become another reason to molest and harass women. We talk about equality and safety when things like these are happening in our own backyard and all we're doing is turning a blind eye to it. You have to draw a line at what pertains a practical joke and pranks CANNOT leave women, or anybody else for that matter, scarred and afraid to leave their homes. It's high time we raised our boys right and taught them how to respect women. Way to hit rock bottom!