One of the most celebrated festivals all over northern India, Holi is a vibrant day filled with joy and rang. *Cue rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse…* There’s gulaal, there’s pakka rang, there’s bhaang and booze and there’s a whole lot of fun! However, in the middle of all this revelry, there’s also a dark side of the festival that most people don’t talk about. Somehow, it turns into this mob behaviour where people think it’s okay to touch others inappropriately cause ‘Bura na mano, Holi hai!’
Well, under no scenario is it okay to touch, sexually harass or verbally abuse a woman, festival or not. However, the reality is that it does happen. Last year there was even news that men threw semen filled balloons at women in Delhi. Keeping all this in mind we’ve asked a few real women what they do to stay safe during the festival.
I've had a few not-so-comfortable experiences at Holi parties in the last few years. Even after making sure that my friends and I knew the organizers and the brand had a reputation of throwing good parties with security and a select crowd, there always have been incidents. So now I prefer to celebrate the festival with a few close friends at a private farm. It's more fun and super safe.
- Manasvi Jaitly, Wedding Editor
For some reason, I’ve always been an unlucky target of a water balloon attack in the days leading up to Holi. This hasn’t happened just once but is a frustrating occurrence that has happened multiple times in the last few years. I’ve been sitting in an auto, minding my business when suddenly random water balloons have been hurled at me by guys on bikes who zoom away before I even get a good look at what they look like. This has been to the extent that my phone got spoilt thanks to getting wet a few years ago. I’m extra cautious now and prefer to travel by cabs instead of autos for that 1 week during Holi for my own peace of mind and safety.
- Priyanka Ghura, Assistant Editor
I’ve always played Holi in my society with my girlfriends. Every year, a group of boys would come to our terrace with grease, water balloons and hard colours especially the red colour and try to put it in our hairline as a joke. Needless to say, it wasn’t funny and made us all feel unsafe. Now, I always play Holi with at least one of my friends’ parents there so the boys can’t barge in and harass us with a creepy ‘Bura na maano, Holi hai!’.
- Sayunkta Jain, Senior Fashion Writer
I don’t hate the festival, but I’m not a fan of playing with a crowd of complete strangers. My worst story, however, comes from my own street. As I stepped out to make my way to college 2 years ago, I was bombarded by balloons filled with eggs and coloured water, ruining an important submission I had to make that day. Since then, I have made it a point to catch a cab from right outside my house, carry everything beloved in polythene bags and always have an extra change of clothes.
- Akanksha Bhatia, Lifestyle Writer
As much as I would like to wear white during Holi, I stay away from it. For my own safety, I wear dark coloured outfits that aren’t see through. The less skin I show, the more comfortable and safe I feel (Especially around an unfamiliar group of boys). A fashion tip I personally swear by is instead of wearing regular bras with hooks at the back, sports bras are far cooler. You will never have to worry about the hooks coming off or about your boobs looking disproportionate.
- Sharon Alphonso, Beauty Writer
Holi was my favourite festival till a few years ago when some men decided to ruin it for me. Since then, I’m very cautious around a random group of men on Holi who suddenly decide to become rowdy and become even more annoying. Also, if I’m at a Holi party at some farmhouse, I make sure I don’t accept any drinks from any person for the fear that they might have mixed something in it. It’s a nuisance to be on edge even on a day that I want to enjoy to the fullest but that’s just how things are around here.
- Srishti Gupta, Junior Wedding Editor
I used to really enjoy Holi as a child, but that changed as I grew up (read: grew boobs). Now, even the thought of being out on Delhi’s notorious roads gives me major anxiety, because it seems like all the sleazeballs in the city have a free pass to harass women. So I tend to stay in and chill with my dog and family on this holiday, and if I do have plans to go to a party with friends, I make sure I stay over at a friend’s place the night before to avoid the commute altogether.
- Tanya Sharma, Junior Lifestyle Editor
My girlfriend and I had a fun ‘Holi balloon fight’ with two guys in our neighbourhood who had just moved from another city. It was all fun and games till those guys decided to turn up at our place unannounced and tried to be inappropriate. Despite showing no interest in them, they tried to get away with ‘Bura Naa Maano, Holi Hai’. People need to understand that it is not okay to make girls uncomfortable just because they behaved friendly with you on Holi.
- Swati Bhatnagar, Social Media Coordinator
Image Source: Unsplash
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