Regular turmeric turns into vibrant colours like red and orange after a “secret process” of blending, Henna and Neem give you amazing shades of green and chandan leaves you with a great fragrance and also a glowing skin. Meet Himanshu Verma, who is going back to the traditional roots to make herbal and eco-friendly colours.
Every year, two to three months before Holi, Verma, founder of Red Earth, a Delhi based independent private arts organisation, would spend a lot of time coming up with different blends and combinations of colours.
Using traditional and natural materials, this is Verma’s small step to make the festival more responsible and take people back to their roots where flowers and home made colours constituted a major part of the festival.
“The organization is 10 years old but I started making rang just four years back. The idea is to revive the natural and traditional recipes to make colours,” says Verma.
Using flowers like marigold, rose, etc. Verma comes up with amazing products every year. And when we ask him about his secret ingredients to bring out the best colour from the ingredients, he says,
“The process and how we blend is the secret USP of our products. But if people want to do it themselves and make their own colours, they can use simple turmeric, henna, flowers, chandan, neem, etc. to mix and match and get different colours,” he says.
Verma has taken his love for traditional recipes to a new level through his small enterprise. But here are a few interesting ways you can also celebrate a more healthy and eco friendly Holi this year-
1. Make your own colours
As Verma suggested, making colours is not that hard and can be done instantly. If you don’t want to spend weeks (or it’s too late!) to dry flowers to make colours, then use simple turmeric, chandan and henna to make various colours. Mix, match and use your imagination to make the most unique colours. Here is a video that will help you get started-
2. Play Tilak Holi
The Holi festival is more about spreading love, joy and happiness rather than colouring every single person you meet. Play a different holi this year and put a simple tilak on your loved ones. Imagine how much effort and water it will save once you are done playing with colours.
Eco tourism Society of North East has also urged all the citizens to save water this Holi. The society spread awareness by organising campaigns in schools and colleges of NE India.
3. Use less water and balloons
Using water balloons not only creates unnecessary garbage and wastes plenty of water, but can also cause injuries. And it does not even give the satisfaction of colouring someone with your own hands. If you still must use water, then make sure you plan your celebrations and decide beforehand the amount of water you will use.
4. Don’t throw colours on animals
No matter how amusing it might look to you, colouring innocent animals is never a good idea, especially with those chemical mixed colours which cause immense harm to their bodies. Be more considerate this year and celebrate an animal-friendly holi.
The famous Elephant Festival in Jaipur has been cancelled this year after Animal Welfare Board, animal welfare activists, and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) raised objections to it. The festival featured decorated elephants with colours and heavy jewellery. PETA has also appealed to not throw colours on pets and animals this holi.
5. Play Community Holi
Photo: TBI Archives
What could be a better idea than playing Holi with all your friends and family? More the merrier, right? Also, it spares you the trouble of cleaning the after-Holi mess in the house. Pick a common outdoor ground and play with your community there. This will not only add to the fun but also reduce your efforts of cleaning the dirty house.
The residents of Thane’s Brahmand Society, have decided to play a more eco friendly holi this year by using only natural colours. They will also plant saplings to make up for the pollution caused by the celebrations.
Or, if you really want to make the festival count, you could spend the day with some kids at an orphanage or elderly at old age homes who would be spending it all alone otherwise.