On Traffic and Holi
Last week, two stories caught my attention. The first one was about a groom who used Bengaluru’s traffic to run away from his wedding.
BENGALURU: As the writer of a weekly humour column, I have to keep my antennae active - constantly looking for ideas. Last week, two stories caught my attention. The first one was about a groom who used Bengaluru’s traffic to run away from his wedding.
In the age of toxic social media, this is the kind of positivity we need. This gentleman took a problem that plagues the city and turned it to his advantage. According to the report, the groom was travelling with his bride and her family, when he made a ‘swift’ decision in order to achieve his ‘zen’! He ditched the silk dhoti for Silk Board traffic. The incident made me look at Bengaluru’s traffic in a new light.
We constantly crib about it, but have we ever discussed the advantages of traffic? Bengaluru’s traffic provides an exit strategy for situations when nothing else works. Being chased by goons? Pretend it is a scene from Fast and Furious (for the 100 metres that you can!). And when you come across a traffic jam, simply open the car door and scoot. VCs asking about your startup’s revenues? Use the algorithm used by Ola and Uber, and escape into the sea of traffic – the startup version of walking into the sunset!
The other news that caught my eye was of a Japanese tourist who celebrated Holi in India, leading to a debate about the nature of Holi celebrations. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of Holi. This is not to say that I haven’t celebrated Holi – for I have. But one gets the distinct feeling that Holi as a festival has been too influenced by Bollywood movies.
In the movies, good-looking actors sing, dance, and find romance while playing Holi. People take these movies too seriously, trying to find their soulmate amidst a sea of people worried about the after-effects of harsh chemicals on their skin. It could also be because everybody is good-looking when smeared with colours all over their faces! Holi that way is the great equaliser, fooling us into believing in myths like true love and happiness.
When compared to Deepavali (my favourite festival of all time!), Holi falls short in a number of ways. Deepavali can be played with friends and family; Holi needs you to celebrate with strangers. How long can one apply different colours to the same person? Which is why to celebrate Holi, one needs to set out like a colonial explorer, finding newer lands and people. Deepavali requires some knowledge of science – to figure out the angle of the rockets, and the force required for an ‘onion bomb’. Deepavali also requires you to display some courage. Holi on the other hand, simply requires a gregarious personality and a few colours.
While both Holi and Deepavali are deemed dangerous to the environment by activists, you get to see the direct impact of Holi on animals. Dogs and cows roam around with colours on their bodies, like they’re part of a pride parade. The colours of Holi stay on your skin, and neither mama earth nor papa jupiter can get it off. The spectacles I wear came with white frames.
But I celebrated Holi in 2019, and they remain pink to this day! Every year, we trust a new source for bhang, but end up in what can only be called a ‘bhangover’. And that’s my minor grouse with Holi. When Gabbar asked ‘When is Holi?’, he wasn’t asking out of curiosity. Probably even a world-weary man like Gabbar was wary of the after effects of Holi!