Born and brought up in a tiny artistic town called as Ilkal
which is famous for its six yards of saris. Perfect drape for the evening, the elegance untouched, Sarees
which make Indian women look more beautiful and die for saris.
The Town is also famous for red colored polished Granite’s which makes the floors of temples, bungalows, offices, laboratories look glistened like flattened and polished mountain.
Apart from these, there are lots of colors to watch out in the town. When it comes to Holi it will be even more color-full than the rest of the world, since the town is not far from Bagalkot.
Holi has been celebrated with lot of Liveliness and eagerness. Quality of elevation of mind and exaltation of character conducted by the people of Bagalkot and all the places nearer to Bagalkot including our town. Along with briskness and grandeur, Holi also symbolizes religious unity and harmony; where, people of all sects come together to celebrate it.
During Holi it’s not just Bagalkot or nearby places; but the whole of the north Karnataka people goes live wire.
Holi is a symbolic festival of burning “Kama” which literally means being lustful, in broader sense festival represent’s burning of evil thoughts.
In most of the part of the country the Holi may be celebrated for one to five days, but in our town it starts with the end of “Mahashivaratri“, 15 days before the “Holi Hunnime” the full moon cycle. The festival has a lot to watch, other than just colors.
The Bagalkot district has its own way of celebrating Holi which arouses the artists by a percussion instrument made of skin of Buffalo’s and cow’s tied to huge bangles made of iron, we call it “Halige“. The orchestra of this instrument blended with some Desi drums, huge anklets, its called as “Haligemela“.
I think 90% of the male population take part in the festival this geographical area, and they all seeming to be experts in beating the instrument. Haligemela runs for 18 days from Shivratri to end of Rangapanchami. Haligemela starts in the evening in every street and the tuning will be of a unique folk style which is a delight to hear. There are hardly few people in my town who doesn’t take part in Haligemela.
Just before two days to full moon day; there commences a special fancy dress being organized from the traditional old street people. The fancy disguised Blokes dressed themselves like women, film actors, actresses, political leaders, gods, mythological hero’s, etc. They show off themselves while standing in a tractor of their street and this tradition called as “Sogu” which literally means “Disguise”.This not just describes the fun but also teaches social lessons to the viewers.
On full moon day each streets compatriots make a group and set up idols of Rati and Kama the Hindu God of love and desires. They worship them for the whole day and pay offerings, orchestra , dance will be although the day until the next morning around 3 am, at which the Kamadahan the burning of Kama being performed. Youth dance in joy at the site of the blaze and there are also rituals to bake sweet potatoes in the blaze of Kama and distribute as Prasad( deity’s blessings).
After littering Kama, Holi continues with pomp with beginning of color playing . Each street ties a colored pot and break it to fill the color to the ground, this officially begins Holi, everyone throws colors on each other; while the whole of the town unites as a symbol of unity, peace and harmony which will be the real treat to eyes.
From the full moon day the colorful Holi is celebrated for 1-5 days in different towns of the district. Where ever your eyes go, there will be color, sadly people won’t even leave their pet animals. I took part in Holi in my town until my age reached 18. Face, head, and every part of the body full of colors, even our parents feel difficult to recognize us.
Then I shifted to Hospet-the Vijaynagara glory to study B.Sc. At Hospet there was no “Haligemela” Or “Sogu” and Burning of “Kama”. But the joy of Holi was there as usual. We were grownups and started playing Holiat hostel with friends, throwing eggs and tomatoes.
After doing all the senses and non-senses with boys who refuse to play Holi at boys hostel, we used to move to girls hostel and apply colors to friends and classmates outside their hostel premise, dance with them and enjoy every moment of the day. After color celebration it was still more joy when we move to canals for swim in the name of the bath.
Then I moved to Gulburga university campus, though the city will not be busy playing Holi, but the university will be. The Boys tear each other’s shirts and then play more with water than colors, for this there was a reason too; probably, the temperature which will never be less than 40 at the time of Holi.
After all this boy’s roam all through the university, half-naked . They move towards girls hostel which will be tightly locked than any day in the year. Crazy guys scream the girls’ names with whom they want to play Holi, or to whom they want to propose or the girl whom they feel pretty enough to have a crush. They kick the huge entry gate in frustration, kick the boards beside the hostel and move back to their place like a fox scolding grape as sour for not getting them. After this we too moved to our respective hostels; where, our group members do mass bath or community bath at cloth washing areas.
Despite of slight differences,, it will not be much different in all parts of North Karnataka; in-fact throughout India.
We enjoyed our childhood, gone past the college days. We are now under stalemate of struggle at corporate; where, the Holi day not being declared holiday., it does not seem like a holy-day. Even if, it is holiday accidentally, no environment or mood to play Holi at metropolitans.
At last left is song “jaane kaha gaye wo din”
And a feel “Holi we missed you Wholly”.