This year, Holi will get an organic hue
While most people will head to local shops to purchase colourful gulal for Holi, Shibani Punekar, 21, will open her makeup kit.
On Thursday, Punekar, a budding architect, will smear talcum powder and cream on her friends' faces instead of the customary synthetic gulal, varnish and paints that would take weeks to come off.
"The synthetic colours available in the market contain toxic substances that can cause skin allergies. Though it might be expensive, it smells good and will not have any hazardous effects on my skin," said Punekar.
At IIT-Powai's Sishu Vihar, a day care centre set up for children of faculty members, Sarth Karyappa, 4, will learn the difference between a jackfruit and beetroot based on the colour and fragrance of the paste smeared on his face on Wednesday.
"We will make pastes out of boiled spinach and beetroots, and mix turmeric powder and crushed marigolds to create natural colours," said Vijaya Jadhav, a teacher at the centre.
"Even if the children accidentally consume the paste, the sweet taste of the vegetables will be pleasing enough," she added.
For those who can't spare time to make their own colours, there are organic colours sold under the name of Rang Dulaar. Made from rice flour and dyed with natural colours, the gulal promises a healthy hue.
They are made by women farmers of the NGO, Vanastree, in Karnataka and packaged by women from self-help groups. "We have received a great response from people across India," said Manisha Gutman, founder, Rang Dulaar.
The dry colours are available in local outlets of Sahakari Bhandar, Bombay Store, Namdharis and Twenty Four Letter Mantra.
At local shops, selling gulal, water balloons and pichkaris, packets of organic colours are in great demand. "The organic colours made of vegetable dyes are priced at approximately Rs100 per kilogram. It is a cheaper option compared to herbal colours available in the market," said Anup Patwa from Amol Traders, Malad (West).
A packet containing one kilogram of herbal colours costs approximately Rs500.