Bura na mano Holi hai!

What’s unique about Holi is the riot of rich colours which when combined with high spirits rejuvenates life on earth. Holi Festival is a celebration of life, love, happiness and good spirits!

Holi, the most colourful of Hindu festivals, falls on the full moon day in the Hindu month of phagun, which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. LathmaarHoli, DulandiHoli, Rangpanchami, HolaMohalla and Shimgo are some of the names Holi is known as. The customs and traditions are more or less the same with miniscule changes in different regions. It is one of the most famous and widely celebrated festivals in India. As it is with every Hindu festival, Holi is associated with a lot of traditional sweets and savories.

Not to forget, some of my most fond childhood memories are associated with Holi. As the cold winter months would fade, marking the arrival of spring, me and my friends would eagerly wait to start our Holi celebrations! We would go to the market in large groups where there would be an entire stream of shops displaying all the things we need to celebrate a grand Holi! Mounds of powdered colours, pichkaris of every imaginable shape and size, gulal, water balloons, food items – you name it! Getting drenched in water and colour and going back home exhausted only to be welcomed home with the smell of hot crisp gujiyas and other treats my mother would prepare for Holi. Sigh! Those were the good old days.

Holi is a time to forgive and forget all woes of the past and begin new friendships. People throw water balloons and gulal on passersby’s and follow it up by saying “bura na mano holi hai!” It works as a way to get away with almost anything on this day. People indulge in singing and dancing on special Holi songs, spraying coloured water with pichkaris, enacting plays based on Holi legends, etc. Large common Holi celebrations are organized, where rain dance is a common attraction. Holi is one of the most interactive and social festival I know of. People get together and celebrate in union, irrespective of the caste, creed, age, gender or status. Eco friendly Holi is a concept which we must welcome. Use of limited amounts of water and herbal colours to play is good not only for the environment, but also for our personal health. We could also celebrate Holi with tomatoes, like they do at the Tomatina Festival in Spain!

Holi calls for a lot of activity and activity activates hunger pangs! If one travels across India, one could probably have a taste of various regional sweets. The one binding factor across the states is the beverage called thandai that is specially prepared on the occasion of Holi. Thandai can be in two versions: one that has bhaang (cannabis) and the other tamer version for kids and for those who do not want to get inebriated!

The buds and leaves of cannabis are squashed and ground into a green paste in a mortar with a pestle. Milk, nuts and spices are then added. Some prefer to add the leaves to fried savoury dumplings called pakoras and as the unsuspecting guests consume them the intoxicating effect of the bhaang becomes evident. While bhaang has never been a part of my personal Holi celebrations, there is another drink known as – kanji! My mother used to make the traditional gajar ki kanji, by soaking pieces of carrots (preferably black carrots) in a mixture of water and spices for a couple of days. Back then I used to avoid drinking this as much as possible but now I absolutely love it! I will surely be making it this time and so should you as it is a healthy and nutritious addition to any Holi menu!

At the more organized Holi parties, food orders are outsourced to catering companies. However, the real deal lies in making the treats yourself!

Traditional Holi eats:


While it is very important for us to celebrate our rich heritage, it is also extremely essential to conserve and not pollute existing resources around us. Keeping this in mind we can easily cut back on some of the more extravagant ways of celebrating this festival by using eco friendly herbal colours, ensuring minimal water wastage, avoiding dangerous rubber balloons, maintaining hygiene and ensuring that everyone around us is having a safe Holi. Remember, Holi is a festival of colours, joy and celebration! The real way to celebrate is to spread the universal message of love to one and all. Let the spirit and colours of Holi make a big splash in your life in the most positive way ever.

Here’s wishing one and all a very happy and a colourful Holi!

True Diwali Spirit

Commonly known as the festival of lights, Diwali has lost its true sheen and real meaning, along the way. The core meaning of it is triumph of good over evil. Deepawali or Diwali means the victory of righteousness by defeating the spiritual darkness. The bigger take away lesson in it would be being virtuous and doing good by defeating the evil or negatives we all have within our own selves. 5 Day Diwali celebrations in India are popularly celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

  • In the northern regions of India, the Diwali celebration is associated with return of Lord Rama to Ayodha after defeating demon Ravana.
  • In the Southern regions of India, Diwali commemorates the triumph of Lord Krishna over wicked – Narakasura.
  • To the Jain population, Diwali is celebrated to mark the spiritual triumph of Lord Mahavera who attained Nirvana.

People start Diwali preparations in advance and it beings with cleaning and decorating their household’s weeks in advance. It is believed Goddess of wealth likes cleanliness and roams the earth on festive days and enters only those households that are neat, clean and very well illuminated. Thus every household does their best to clean the house top to bottom and decorate it with flowers and rainbow coloured rangolis. Marigold flower torans adorn the main gate of most homes and lit-diyas are generally placed uniformly on each side of the main door, to attract wealth and prosperity.

First day of Diwali – Dhanteras: On this day Goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshiped. A very famous story connected to Dhanteras – once there was this King called Hima who was destined to die young by a snakebite. However, his wife saved his life. The day he was destined to die, Hima’s wife did not allow him to sleep and she blocked his room by heaps of gold ornaments. She lit a million diyas all around the house and inside his room such that bright lights dazzled reflecting more light of the gold ornaments as well. Yama – the God of death came disguised as a serpent to take Hima’s life but the brightness of diyas and the dazzle of the gold ornaments prevented Yama from entering the room. He fell asleep outside and in the morning left, sparing King Hima’s life. In remembrance of this story, people pay their homage to Yama on Dhanteras which is also known as Yamadeepdaan.

This day is considered very auspicious and people buy gold, silver and jewels and businesses start their new accounting year. People also buy new cars, offices and utensils on this day.  Trying out these recipes on new utensils bought that day seems only fair. Try out the suggestions listed below…

Stuffed Gulab Jamun

Gajar Halwa Burfi

Mawa Gujiya

Look after yourself

Even as I write this, I can hear the roll of drums and the reverberating dholaks on the roads – processions are already on with fifth day of Lord Ganesh’s festival being marked with immersions. Have we ever wondered at the following? How Ganesha’s big head can inspire us to think big and think profitability, how His big ears show openness to new ideas and suggestions, how His narrow eyes point to the deep concentration needed to finish a task well and how His long nose encourages curiosity and learning! Well, have given you enough to dwell on for the time being!
I was also reading how the mission Crater Mumbai has been shaping up. That the roads are in bad shape is in the news is not anything new. But what is alarming now is that we are losing our posture slowly and gradually thanks to them. The traveler on the road is suffering from bad backs. On the other end, even desk bound people who are in their office chairs at hours on end need to improve their posture. I hear of bad backs and stiff necks and slipped discs. I am sure anyone can do some stretching exercises after every hour of work : walk around a bit, swivel the neck, flex the fingers etc. You have to look after yourself, come what may.
A bit tied up with some work on the recipes that I will be shooting for the new schedule of Teen Patti beginning tomorrow. Time just seems to fly, really, as I am already on the sixth schedule for my show on FoodFood. What I am really excited about now is the telecast of MahaChallenge which is on from Sept 9th! You will definitely enjoy it as the show is full of challenges, goal setting, going for the goal, emotional highs and lows and of course, the inimitable hosting by Madhuri Dixit.
As I have spoken about looking after oneself, how about some healthy recipes for this rainy season.

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.