A riot of colours, dousing all and sundry with buckets of water, delectable eats and glasses of ‘thandai’ flavoured with bhang! That’s what Holi is all about! A festive occasion that heralds spring and which traditionally should be joyous in all aspects. But then, why do so many parents, doctors, law enforcers, and environmentalists dread the aftermath of the festivities? Going ‘wild’ is the very essence of Holi, and many actually enjoy this festival only because it offers the opportunity to throw restraint out of the window at least for a few hours. This year, let’s prepare and safeguard ourselves for the inevitable onslaught of water and colour. Let’s make Wednesday, March 20 a memorable day in all aspects for a safe Holi.
If possible, get all your friends and acquaintances to play with natural skin-friendly colours instead of the synthetic dyes that could have toxic effects. The next best option would be to protect your skin and hair – use waterproof sunscreen liberally or apply a thick layer of oil or petroleum jelly on the exposed parts of the body an hour before you step out. Give the oil time to be absorbed by the skin before you assault it with chemical colours. Washing and scrubbing with soap to remove colours sometimes aggravate problems like rash, darkening, pigmentation or dry skin. Preferably wash it off with a soap-free cleanser and cool water. Avoid using kerosene, spirit or petrol to remove stubborn colours. Apply coconut oil with the help of cotton to remove the colours. To lighten the colour on the skin, rub lemon wedges and then apply wheat flour and oil mixture. Hot water helps the colour get absorbed, making it more difficult to get rid of them.
Protect your hair from getting dry and brittle with the chemical colours. Use baby oil or coconut oil daily before you shampoo your hair (with a mild shampoo) in the days leading up to Holi. Oil your hair, so that colour doesn’t stick and can be washed off easily later.
Rub in a bit of petroleum jelly into the nails and cuticles to prevent staining. You can further protect your nails by liberally covering them with nail polish.
Don’t wear lenses when you go out to play! While Holi colours by themselves cause irritability, lenses have a tendency to absorb the colour, thereby making things worse. Wear glasses and keep wiping them clean from time to time.
For the safety of others and yourself, do not drive if you are high on alcohol or bhang. Let’s make this a safe Holi.