Saturday, June 19

Masks, sanitisers, Herbal colours and homemade treats…Here’s how to celebrate a safe and colourful Holi

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It’s spring and Holi is just round the corner. However, one shouldn’t forget that the second wave of the pandemic is upon us and therefore maintaining social distancing and wearing masks are must. Though the nationwide vaccine drive has started, we must not throw caution to the wind. Even people in various residential complexes are taking special measures not to gather in large numbers during celebrations. Lalit Beriwala, the president of Salt Lake Sanskritik Sansad, said this year, Holika Dahan will be celebrated with utmost precautions. While the gate of the premises will be sanitised, it is mandatory for everyone to use masks and sanitisers. “There will be a limited number of people and none will be allowed to stay on the premises after the puja,” he added. Lalit also said in past years, they have seen that people usually don’t spend much time on the ground. “They go there, complete the puja and leave,” he said, adding that they are not imposing any age limit.
On the other hand, Naktala Club, which is gearing up to celebrate Holika Dahan on Saturday evening, has organised a small get-together, albeit with precautions. “Other than the club members and their family, no one will be allowed. There will be a coupon system for the members,” said Samrat Banik, one of the members. .

Precautions for hair and skin on Holi

Amidst all the excitement and fun, we often forget to take care of our skin which deserves maximum attention during this time. The aftereffects of colours can cause harmful effects on our skin, eyes and hair. Thus, precautionary measures should be taken. Here are a few skincare tips to follow before applying Holi colours

Oil your skin, especially the exposed areas to avoid colours from sticking to your skin. Make sure you play with herbal colours onlyApply a sunscreen lotion with SPF 50 to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sunWear fully covered clothes and avoid colours to come in direct contact with your skinAlso, oiling your hair well with coconut oil is a must as the gulal can make your air dry and frizzy. Tie up your hair in a bun or ponytail and use a bandana to protect your maneFor the lips, apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly and do not remove your mask at any cost

How to remove Holi colours

Opt for natural ubtans or scrubs that are mild on your skin to get rid of the coloursA face mask made with curd, sandalwood, a pinch of turmeric and white flour should work wonders for your skin while removing the coloursApply almond, coconut or olive oil and scrub off the colours thoroughly with a soft loofahOnce you’re done removing the colours, apply a moisturiser to prevent dryness of the skin

‘Applying a coat of good sunscreen or a deeply nourishing moisturiser is a must on Holi”
It’s very important to moisturise your skin before and after playing Holi. Even if you play with herbal colours, applying a coat of good sunscreen or a deep nourishing moisturiser is a must on exposed skin areas. You can also use a primer, which is used as a base before applying makeup as your layer of protection before playing with colours. Once you are done playing, apply almond, olive or coconut oil and use a light scrub to remove the colours. Once done, apply a hydrating skin cream to bring back the softness in your skin. Also, drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated from inside.”
– Paushali Bhattacharya, skincare expert and owner of a city-based salon

How to make herbal colours at home

Harsh chemicals are not an option. This Holi, smear the colour of love with gulal extracted from flower petals and leaves. In fact, you might want to try making them at home with thoroughly sun dried petals. Add a bit of turmeric with dried petal dust of marigolds and you get yellow, the colour of spring. With heena and bael patta dust, you will get green gulal. And to get red, mix dried hibiscus petals and rose. Not only such colours are tender on human skin, organic gulal is easy to wash as well.

About 15 years ago, professor Sidhartha Dutta of Jadavpur University Chemical Engineering Department, came up with a process to make herbal colours in the laboratory. From 2019, three of his students formed a startup and have started producing herbal colours with the same formula. While professor Dutta, made four colours, Arunava Patra, one of his students has added five more. Arunava said it is fairly easy to make herbal colours at home and all it takes is a bit of practice to make it perfect.

Tear the petal into small pieces and put them into a grinder.Add some waterOnce done, pour the ground petals in a clean cloth and squeeze out the extract.Apply alum stone in the extract to change the shadeOnce you get the desired shade, mix the extract with talcum powder or even cornflowerDry it. And your gulal is ready

Traditional Holi treats get a healthy makeover
Holi celebration calls for sweet treats. The options can be many. You can make besan laddoo, badam ka halwa, gond laddoo and so on. Evidently, all these lovely trays contain a certain amount of sugar and hence to make them healthier, you need to put in a bit of effort. Green warrior and organic farmer Lata Bajoria insists on making treats at home. “The moment you make the treats at home they become a lot healthier. I would suggest you use organic ingredients that are free from chemicals and preservatives. I am lucky that I have a huge garden and I grow almost all my ingredients. While making these treats, I replace ghee with almond oil. Now, I extract almond oil. One can buy organic almond old from market. Also, replace refined sugar with honey, jaggery and dates,” she told us.
Meanwhile, home chef Nandini Nandi is busy curating healthier options for her Holi menu. “I insist people make thandai with badam milk or soya milk. In gujjya, I have replaced maida with atta and raagi. You might also try ragi laddoo with dry fruits instead of besan laddoo. Instead of rice, use foxtail millet,” she said.

Source: Times of India

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