Do you also have this thing to be able to feel the changes in weather within your body? Well I have, and spring is known to my body as beautiful fresh mornings (still on a bit cooler side), lazy afternoons and signs of new born leaves everywhere. If you’re new to ‘The great north Indian Summers’, these sunny afternoons in our capital will give you an idea about the amount of heat weather is going to serve in next few months. Nobody likes summers in north but I love springs, especially because of its transitioning weather. Feel the ups and downs in the temperatures from mornings to afternoons and then to nights! The monotonicity of winter is replaced by freshness and warmth of spring. All the plants in my garden and the indoor ones are now sprouting with fresh little bright green leaves. It is an amazing pleasure to notice these new coming leaves every morning. Spring is a great time to introduce some new plants into your garden. Last Saturday I also bought a very elegant indoor plant from Nurturing Green ‘ZZ Plant. According to one NASA report it’s a good stress buster plant for indoor. My garden is taking a new greener make over now and somehow colors seem brighter to me so I call it ‘happy for no reasons weather’.
And this can’t be just a co-incidence that this weather of fresh colors is also a time of our most colourful festival-Holi. I am sure you all have your lovely memories of Holi from your childhood. I too have some very fond Holi memories from my childhood . The way we used to play Holi was crazy. Unfortunately, I also have some very bad experiences with Holi. It was probably eight or nine years back when I was planning to enjoy my first Holi at my in-laws place. Like all of us they have their own crazy ways to play holi and they’re very enthusiastic about it and so was I. In that madness somebody put some color on me and in no time I found myself in excruciating pain. My eyes, my face skin were burning. I wasn't able to see properly. There were big reddish brown and black spots on all over my face and my body. My in-laws family immediately took me to a hospital where the doctor told us the severity of the condition. My eyes and skin were so much damaged by those chemical colors that I had to spend next two days in the hospital. It took around six months for my skin to recover from those spots and a life time for me to recover from that experience. For few years I had stopped playing Holi at all but slowly my love for colors has overcome my fear from that horrific accident. But since then I have stopped using any kind of chemical colors. I read this article somewhere about making natural colors in your home and since then I only use self-made natural colors to play Holi. They are not very difficult to make and very good for skin too. Here are few I am writing here for you to make your Holi a Happy and Green Holi.
Dry Colour – Use Mehendi (henna powder) and only the pure mehendi and not the one mixed with amla (meant to be applied to our hair) as this would be brown in colour. Dry mehendi will not leave colour on your face as it can be easily brushed off. Only when it is a paste (i.e. it is mixed in water) will it leave a slight colour on your face. Thus you may use it as a pucca colour.
Wet Colour – Mix two teaspoons of mehendi in one litre of water. Stir well. Green colour can also be obtained by mixing a fine paste of leaves like spinach (palak), coriander (dhaniya), mint (pudina), tomato leaves, etc. in water.
Dry colour – Mix two teaspoons of haldi (turmeric powder) with double quantity of besan (gram flour). Haldi and besan are extremely healthy for our skin, and are also used widely as a ubtan while taking bath.
You can use the ordinary haldi or "kasturi" haldi which is very fragrant and has enhanced therapeutic effects. Besan can be substituted by multani mitti (fuller's earth) and even talcum powder.
Wet Colour – Add one teaspoon of haldi to two litres of water and stir well. This can be boiled to increase the concentration of colour and further diluted.
Dry Colour – Lal chandan (red sandal wood powder) has a beautiful red colour, is extremely beneficial for the skin and is used in face packs, etc. This can be used instead of red gulal. Dry some red hibiscus flowers (Gudhal) in shade and powder them to make a lovely red colour. To increase the bulk add any flour to it.
Wet colour – Put 2 teaspoons of red sandal wood powder in a litre of water and boil. Dilute and use. Peels of red Pomegranate boiled in water give red color. For a bright orangish-red, mix thoroughly a pinch of chuna (lime powder the one that we eat with our paan) with 2 spoons of haldi/ turmeric powder and a few drops of water. Use only after diluting with around 10 litres of water.
Dry Colour – The Jacaranda flowers (mimosifolia) can be dried in the shade and ground to obtain a beautiful blue powder. The flowers bloom in summers. The blue Hibiscus can be dried and powdered just like the red hibiscus.
Wet Colour – Crush the berries (fruits) of the Indigo plant and add to water for desired colour strength.
Wet Colour – Slice or grate one Beet root (Chukandar). Soak in 1 litre of water for a wonderful magenta. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade. Dilute.
Boil the peels of 10 - 15 pink Onions in half litre of water for an orangish-pink colour. Remove the peels before using to remove the smell.
Wet Colour – Saffron is the traditional color of Holi. The Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma), known as Tesu, Palash or Dhak in vernacular languages, is the source of the wonderful, traditional colour for Holi. The flowers are soaked overnight in water and can also be boiled to obtain a fragrant yellowish - orange colored water.
The dried flowers can be dried and powdered for a orange powder.
Wet Colour – Kattha (Acacia catechu), the one eaten in pan, when mixed with water will give a brownish colour.
Boil Tea or Coffee leaves in water. Cool and use.
Wet Colour – Boil dried fruits of Amla in an iron vessel and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use.
Wishing you and your family a happy and safe Holi!
Image courtesy Internet