Once upon a Holi: A heartwarming tale

We celebrate the hues of love, compassion and harmony this Holi, as we tell you the tale of two families that set a beautiful example of co-existence.
A celebration of hope, a prayer for peace. May this Holi heal, may good overcome evil...Atharva, Sameer, Shivika and Shama let their wishes take wings as stunning spirals of colour make the haveli look even more enchanting.
A celebration of hope, a prayer for peace. May this Holi heal, may good overcome evil...Atharva, Sameer, Shivika and Shama let their wishes take wings as stunning spirals of colour make the haveli look even more enchanting.
Updated on Mar 07, 2020 08:04 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByShara Ashraf Prayag and Prerna Gauba Sibbal

In a village called Anokha, there’s a magnificent haveli, seeped in history, blessed by nature. Anokha’s pride, the haveli is inhabited by the Singhs and the Khans, two families that share a troubled past. Centuries ago, their warring ancestors took a peace pledge — they vowed to protect the haveli from evil forces that disrupt unity, they vowed to not let hate raise its ugly head again. The two families are incomplete without each other, they know what they have is unique and they won’t give up on it, even if they have to lay down their lives to save it, one generation after another. Every Holi, they renew this pledge as they drench themselves in the colours of love, compassion and unity. The festival, after all, symbolises the victory of good over evil. Holi mubarak, everyone, India is anokha!

(This shoot was done in the centuries-old Shikwa Haveli. Restored from ruins, it was painstakingly brought back to its glory over a period of 15 years. Shikwa, adorned with antiques from across the world, is located in Katha village on Delhi-Saharanpur National Highway.)

When the generally reserved Mr Singh breaks into an impromptu dance and makes his wife join him, it’s a sight to behold. His son Atharva, daughter-in-law Shivika and their friends, the Khans — Sameer and his wife Shama along with the children of the haveli — soak in the epic performance. They raise a toast to this unique dosti that stood the test of time.

Mrs Singh never gets tired of sharing anecdotes from Atharva and Sameer’s childhood..tales of bravery, their silly escapades, how they would concoct stories and own up to ‘crimes’ they didn’t commit, just to save each other from punishment. Such friendships are rare, they are to be cherished as God’s beautiful gift, says Ms Singh, dressed in a peach chiffon sari teamed with pearl necklace. The daughters-in-law of the haveli — Shivika on her left wears a georgette printed sari with a puff blouse and Shama, seated on her right, wears a printed linen sari with a raw silk blouse.

The ladies of the haveli, Mrs Singh, Shama and Shivika play the dance game of kikli, even as they get drenched in a shower of rose petals. May the glorious haveli always be known for its values of humanity and kindness. While Mrs Singh wears a lemon green zari work lehenga paired with a rani pink dupatta, Shivika and Shama dazzle in mirror work ensembles.

Wearing a handwoven pale pink silk kurta, Sameer reads out from his newly-published poetry book, dedicated to the mystic of the haveli. His wife, Shama, and the children listen to him with interest. Shama is dressed in a kurta paired with a velvet dori work dupatta with kiran jhallar. The little girls are dressed in printed lehengas paired with velvet and cotton blouses.

Atharva and Shivika steal some romantic moments. Miscreants dread Atharva, the gallant warrior, one of the new age protectors of the haveli. He is always humble and respectful towards his wife. That’s the mark of a strong man, he has been taught. He lovingly tucks bougainvillea flowers in Shivika’s hair as they enjoy the soothing breeze. Atharva wears a white anarkali with a Nehru jacket, while Shivika is dressed in a pink kurta and sharara with gota and mirror work. May they always look this resplendent.

Disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or incidents is purely coincidental.


Photos: Jasjeet Plaha/HT

Styling: Prerna Gauba Sibbal (womenswear) and Akshay Kaushal (menswear)

Hair and makeup: Richa Agarwal and Mallika Gambhir

Styling assistance: Digvijay

Garments: Good Earth, Abhinav Mishra, Saundh, Karishma Deepa Sondhi, Mint Blush Designs and Jenjum Gadi

Jewellery: St. Erasmus & Apala by Sumit

Models: Sapna Dutta, Dinesh Mohan, Harshita Rohilla, Oshi Mehra, Lavish Saini, Aman Vohra, Shree and Jaya

Concept & fashion direction: Shara Ashraf Prayag

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021