After a lull of a couple of months in the beginning of the year, we have Holi, bringing back the festivities and fervour Indians are famous for. While the backstory of the festival goes deep into our mythology, in current times it is a celebration of colours where people across all societies get a chance to put their hair down and have fun, forgetting every woe there is.
However, there is one thing which concerns a lot of people and it is a legitimate concern, if I may add. The colours! While the environment conscious are worried about the colours not being eco friendly, many others are worried about the effect these colours have on skin and hair.
Being a great fan of the festival, I have made my own colours after scouring the Internet for reliable recipes. Sharing five of these below, let me know if you try any of them!
Take a cup of flour, some food colouring and water. Mix the flour and water, to form a thick paste. Divide in sections, wear gloves and add your favourite colours to each. Make a ball of the paste with your hand and flatten with a rolling pin. Keep the dough a little thick, about 1/4 of an inch. Leave the disc overnight and them crumble it to powder with a coffee grinder. This is a messy procedure but your skin, hair and the environment will be safe!
We did a lot of this in the 80s and the 90s, growing up in a remote industrial town in central India. Flowers of the Palash tree were soaked in a bucket of water overnight and in the morning, what we had was coloured water which was natural and safe, to be filled in our pichkaris and squirted on friends, elders and strangers alike.
Take petals of flowers, say rose or hibiscus (seperately) and dry them in the sun. When completely dry, grind them into a powder. You can add a little flour in the mixtures for the quantity to increase a bit.
To make herbal gulaal, take arrowroot powder (200gms), haldi (100 gms), marigold flowers (50 gms) and 15-20 drops of essential oil, preferably, sandalwood or lemon. Put all ingredients in a big bowl (ensure that the pets of the flowers are separated), rub slowly and lightly with hands, rubbing gently.
Boil pieces of beetroot in some water until the water is coloured. Let the water rest and cool down, with the pieces still inside it. Drain and use as coloured water. If you want dry powder instead, make a past of beetroot and let it dry in the sun until you get coloured powder.