Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Holi hai.... par kiske liye??

A candid confession: I detest Holi. Always have. Even as a child. Perhaps I didn't have the required joie de vivre to appreciate the festival of colour. But I did enjoy the jalebis and puran polis served on the occasion. Another confession: I have added a dollop of home made ghee to my daily diet. And I'm loving it! Our grand mothers swore by its health boosting qualities. It worked for them. Why should it not work for us equally?? I shall let you know a month from now , and tell you the absolute truth. If I blimp out, I'll stop. If not... the dollop stays.
I needed more than a dollop of pure ghee to deal with a very angry call this morning. The lady announced, " I am dissed. Very, very dissesed. I tried to reach you thrice yesterday... and couldn't." Well.... that can happen. I'm perfectly accessible under normal circumstances. But yesterday was not an ordinary working day. Did I tell you I taped an amazing interview with an amazing woman called Robin Roberts for ABC'S 'Good Morning America?" It is slated as a two hour special on Mumbai, and Robin had packed in so much during those few short hours she was in India - she had played cricket with 'Slumdog.." Tanmay, and sat in an autorickshaw at Sion - no, Salman Khan was not the driver. She was scheduled to meet Ratan Tata later the same evening. And here she was at my home, with a crew of eight very hard working people.The interview crackled and is likely to be telecast either today or tomorrow at 7 a.m. U.S. time. It will also be up on the ABC site soon, so we can all check it out. She was terrific. Those of you who caught her Barack Obama interview must know just how terrific she is. At the risk of sounding immodest, I have to say I was touched and flattered when she reached out , held both my hands and said with tears in her eyes, " I'll never, ever forget you... you are an extraordinary woman. Too honest for politics." We hugged and kissed. Cried and laughed. It was a perfect 'woman-to-woman' moment.
Well..... which is why I couldn't take Thritty Strafford's call. I was in the middle of an interview. After Robin left, some mysterious bug hit me, and I collapsed ! Like, really keeled over, and couldn't get out of bed even after four Crocin's. Which is also why I couldn't take Thritty's other calls. I was knocked out. I wasn't taking ANY calls. Nothing personal. But would the lady listen? She was livid as she talked about the SALAAM BALAAK Trust that she runs, and how difficult it has been for her to rustle up funds to feed all those street kids. And how insensitive I've been to the cause etc. She has a charity movie premiere coming up this week..... and my remark has seriously affected the sales of her tickets. I requested her to re- read my column. That remark was based on a published interview of the main actor from 'Salaam Bombay' who sounded very bitter .Even so, I can understand Strafford's rage. I asked her to calm down and wished her well. This was after she had gone apoplectic about 'rich ladies in their fancy drawing rooms, who are seen at parties featured on Page 3, who won't spend 2000 rupees on a premiere ticket...." She thundered on and on, wondering where she'd find the money from, now that I had written one line about 'Salaam Bombay' and those obviously upset cast members who had featured in it?' Oh dear. She needed to deep breathe. I was genuinely concerned about her health at this point. She challenged me to sell some of those premiere tickets and attend the premiere myself. Phew! Strafford has indeed worked exceedingly hard for the trust, which is looking for 40 lakhs right now, so that those street kids don't starve. Donations welcome. It's been 20 years of dedication. But Shaikh, the actor who was picked for the lead role, is 32- years- old now, in dire straits and stands by his story. Who does one believe? Strafford told me her mother said ," If Shobhaa De has an honest bone in her, she will set the record straight." I have just done that. I hope it makes Strafford (and her mother) feel better. And that Thritty continues the excellent work. As for me, I'm planning to crawl back into bed and not take calls. But then , I doubt Strafford will be calling again anytime soon. And fortunately for me, most other callers are more understanding.

27 comments:

Serendipity said...

Oh, I hate holi too, after Govinda Its just anoter day when drunk men loiter the streets in menacingly unrecognisable avatars hooting at women. Eve teasing, 'accidentally bumping/rubbing against' women seem to be the order of the day with men knowing they cant be recognised.

Have had rather unforgettable, and unfortunate experiences on both days, and I hate them. AND HOW.

btw, its strange that the word verification today is 'equall'.
men/women equal. really?
I think women are far superior. lol

Sidhusaaheb said...

I, too, don't like Holi much, except for the food. :P

Ghee taken in small enough quantities doesn't hurt any one, I suppose.

ugich konitari said...

My daughter has just returned from an early morning class, having missed by inches, a liquid filled balloon, thrown at her window in her bus.

Happy Holi indeed.

Sidhusaaheb said...

I've read a blog-post regarding a very real issue that all those celebrating Holi this year should think seriously about. It can be accessed at:

http://www.shekharkapur.com/blog/archives/2009/03/happy_holi_once.htm

The Times of Priya said...

Oh, the colours of india..
Happiness, pain, sorrow, hope, all emotions blend into the countless colours that represent India..

Apart from the above-mentioned textbook language, we all know what else gets disguised by India's colours. Hate, malice, fear, perversion... Should I even attempt more of these adjectives in this "festive" time.

Its hardly any semblance of a festive time, anyway!

hitch writer said...

I hate holi too... but invariably play !!

Friends pull each other out, where as no one wants to play !!

its yuck but its fun too !!

as long as its your near and dear ones its fine...

however at times people get drunk and go over board thats when you hate holi...

Throwin of water filled baloons is fun !!

Zlaek said...

Always loathed holi... just an excuse for everyone to touch everyone.

I just had pooran poli dripping in ghee myself. Yum yum yum. Ma'am, don't quit having gheee... not at any cost. You're a pretty looking woman. Few extra kilos would be just fine.

Sameer said...

Ok, so just watched Shobhaa's clip and Dev's (guy from Dharavi)talking about the contrasts of have's and have not's in the city of Mumbai. Shobhaa, I am glad you emphasized that inspite of living in luxury and comforts, one can still be aware of the have not's and do something about it. I am still in tears with Dev's story and message.I was glad that he could portray that inspite of living in slums, he and his family is determined, strong and moving ahead by taking education and doing best with what they have. Life can be tough but the main thing is not giving up. I do believe that's real spirit of India.

On the ghee front, do let me know about what you find out Shobhaa. My aai always keeps telling me that one spoon of ghee everyday is needed for you. I disagreed of course. So do let us know what you find out.

Monika said...

oh i always hear people saying they hate holi but still playing... folks its a lovely festival

just needs to be played with sense as all others...

with gulal and hugs and sweets :)

happy holi shobha

A. K. said...

I love holi.... Fortunately am in India right now and i hope i'll have a first hand experience of it

Kedar said...

i've always had a similar 'holi-er than thou' stand about holi. and also maybe a discomfort due to my unwillingness to be a part of the in-the-face joie de vivre. but i guess, the yummy puran poLis more than made up for that!

Niyati said...

Hi Shobhaa, Would love to see you on ABC. Robin Roberts is one of the most popular anchors of Good Morning America and a personal favorite. Will surely make it a point to catch your interview.

SSQuo said...

Just saw a tiny bit of the interview, I think they picked a couple of lines from your interview. As a non-resident Indian, I appreciate you wearing something 'Indian'. :)

I do watch Robin, she is charming and definitely has a presence!

Push Vs Pull said...

I have my fun memories of holi. So i truly love it, but then from the past few years after joining my work i am not quite able to participate.

I like the line in the thread where shobhha mentions about "It was a perfect 'woman-to-woman' moment"

Being an inspiration also gets you in such situation i guess you know better then anyone i know but still it is not that smooth sailing as well.

Rashida said...

i like holi.... even though i dont play it.. but its fun... in a way it does bring people together... its true that the day gives license for misbehavior... but the right company does the required trick...

cheers...
happy holi!!!

flygye12 said...

this post is one of ur best. hee hee hee. like to hear u so excited about the interview . cheers

narendra shenoy said...

Get well soon! I thought that Salaam Balak thing was very unfair on you. Surely you have a right to speak your mind! Indeed, that is precisely why 556 people (and counting) follow your blog.

I haven't heard of Thritty Strafford, but she seems to be a member of what I've heard described as the "charities mafia". I keep getting hit in the ribs at regular intervals by these people, usually women in their late 40s to early 50s, with a taste for fine wine and expensive cheese, and who spend more on the fundraising than the funds they actually raise.

As I write this, I am sitting on the window sill and watching many people loosening their limbs playing Holi. Looks like fun!

oo7 said...

i don't liek HoLi. you get so dirty and wet...
but yeah i like the sweets ;D

Sumadhur said...

Shobha de, i liked your interview "Robin Roberts for ABC'S 'Good Morning America" i watched it on yahoo.com in germany ..... was surprised to see you in it and glad to the boy in slums speaking in fluent english. And since you have the following of your own, raise the issue of NO VOTE on voting machines. we need to get rid of politicians. I also read your article today in times of india thing "The 'new' desi girl is here, don't mess with her" ........
its the women who have to become independent.....and then MOSTLY ITS THE MEN of INDIA who need to learn treating women equally. In small town like BRAUNSCHWEIG n germany, i witnessed Carnival where in everyone was dancing and drinking in open, but i did not see anyone misbehaving with women. Even kids were playing. HOLI is no excuse. ITS inherent third class mentality of INDIAN men, where they think they are only ones with testosterones.

Sumadhur said...

ANd i forgot to mention that being from India, its really difficult to justify the behaviours of Ram/shiv sena to my colleagues and friends here in Germany, I have started to tell them that not all Indians are same/great. In my previous comment i meant to say that we need to get rid of our DUMB politicians by means of using NO VOTE and some educated class who keeps bickering about politicians should get out and vote this coming election. I will certainly ask for a NO VOTE in case i dont find any average politician ( and i m pretty sure i will not find any educated politician with some brains ).

Shaunak said...

Holi's fun, as long as you're getting some clean fun(well, not so clean when the mud and colours come into picture). But when the drinks start circulating, things do tend to get a bit out of hand. In any case, how can you resist your friends pulling you out to play. Chemical colors are actually what put me off. They're even more dangerous because the effects start showing once you've started washing them off your skin. Don't know if they ever will wash off mine. I'm red as a tomato.

Do keep the ghee! I've always had one too many extra helpings, but that's my mother for you. And she swears by it too.

amolfundoo said...

Hi Shobha tai, wish you and your family wonderful and colorful holi.
Recently, I read news that shahrukh criticizes you for your some comments and then I came across your this blog. I support your views on shahrukh. I also watched your interview with karan Thapar in october I guess. I like your view points toward the issues raised by Raj.

thunder said...

I like the concept of Holi - the practice of it has unfortunately degenerated to a whole lot of rubbish.

A lot of sexually frustrated people chance maaro-ing (and it's not just the men, loads of women too), touching one another all over the place

using all kinds of horrendous stuff : acid, chemicals, oil paint, indelible inks, bad eggs, bodily waste,garbage etc instead of clean, organic colours

hurting people by throwing water balloons, many times filled with stones

traumatising people who don't want to participate, in fact for many, the more trauma you cause others, the more fun

so, maybe a long, long, long time back, Holi was this joyous festival celebrating spring in full blossom, nowadays, it is just a reflection of the SICKness of our climes in full bloom.

Spurthi said...

Dear Ms. De,
I do not have a comment to make on this particular piece, however i wished to write to you about the interview you gave to Karan Thapar about 'Bombay vs. Mumbai'. Having grown up in Delhi I have always had a very cosmopolitan conception about Bombay, and great resentment to its renaming to 'Mumbai' which I felt negated its cosmopolitan culture. However although the city is unique in that it is owned by India, I failed to appreciate the concerns of the citizens of the city. Your interview was an eye-opener. I wished to thankyou for making time for the interview and more importantly for being forthright.
Yours Sincerely,
Spurthi Reddy.
p.s.: i recommend anyone who reads this comment to watch the interview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSN_99yh1pw

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Ghee - favourite always on top of chapatis and one tablespoon inside dal. yum yum !

maha said...

holi is the enjoyable celebration...

Work from home India

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