Please tell your children it's not okay to hit women with water balloons in the name of Holi!

While the jury is out over whether the recent detergent ad showing Holi promotes community enmity or amity, it sure is telling kids playing Holi with balloons is fine. No. It’s not.

 |  2-minute read |   20-03-2019
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It literally felt like a bolt from the blue.

My clothes got drenched.

Battling intense pain, I looked around to ascertain what hit me — and saw a burst balloon lying next to me. And then, two boys, apparently in their teens, whizzed past on a bike, looking at my face — and laughing. They had hit their target, or according to them, ‘celebrated’ Holi with me.

This was my first encounter with Holi, Delhi-style.

holi-690_031919051209.jpgWhether we want it or not, water balloons still fly our way when we step out for office or college. (Source: Reuters)

Over the years, I learnt to avoid stepping out of the house — even for the bare essentials — as Holi draws closer. Countless women I know do the same. But balloons still fly our way when we step out for office or college. When they manage to hit their 'target', these balloons can cause real injuries and intense pain.

A favourite activity of children in Delhi — I mention Delhi because I have seen this happen only in the capital city — is to sit in their balconies and take aim at unsuspecting people with balloons.

All for fun?

No.

If you observe closely, you’d know these children target women in particular. I have seen many parents sit out there with their kids in balconies and let their children hit women with balloons, especially those who look dressed for work or for an outing. Men get the balloons mostly on the day of the festival — women start getting hit much before the festival.   

The kids are being imparted their first lessons in misogyny — during Holi.

They are being taught it's ok to not bother about women’s consent even during festive celebrations. They are being taught that it is fun to watch women whose clothes have been spoilt by splashing coloured waters on them.

holiii-690_031919051249.jpgMake your kids understand the idea of consent this Holi. (Source: Reuters)

What sort of people enjoy seeing women in that condition?

This is a question all parents need to ask.

It we do not course-correct, these kids, I am sad to say, would grow up into teens who would ride bikes and hit women as they pass by them — laughing and enjoying themselves in the name of Holi.  

Parents need to tell their children it is not okay to play Holi with people they do not know — or who do not want to join in the celebrations. And the use of balloons during Holi should be a strict ‘no-no’ because they hit so hard.

While the jury is still out over whether the recent detergent advertisement showcasing Holi promotes community enmity or amity, it sure is telling children that playing Holi with balloons is fine.

It isn’t.

Also read: 5 times Bollywood Holi songs redefined romance

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