MUMBAI: The festival of Holi coming up on March 10 seems likely to be a damp affair this year owing to the spread of the coronavirus in India. Certain prominent clubs have cancelled celebrations while housing societies are encouraging members to take precautions if they must celebrate.
Cricket Club of India (CCI), Churchgate, and NSCI, Worli, have announced they will not organise Dhuleti or colour festivities. CCI, in fact, has called off its ensuing members’ night and five-day yoga camp as well. Access to the swimming pool is restricted too.
NSCI had already sold 800 passes whose cost will be refunded to buyers. It had requisitioned two DJs, devised a rain dance and lavish meal with competitions and prizes, all of which stand cancelled.
“Approximately 5,000 people attend our Holi programme which is one of the biggest events of our club. Our committee felt it is better to be safe since playing with colours and water or shaking hands can increase chances of infection. So to avoid crowd gathering and for safety, these measures have been taken,” said committee member Viren Shah.
Yet another prominent party at MMRDA Grounds, Bandra, will go ahead as tickets have been sold. Celebration Club, Lokhandwala, has outsourced its Holi programme “where there will not be any pichkaris, just dry organic colour”, said spokesman Hemant Nair.
Neptune housing society in Thakur Village, Kandivli, will keep up its 14-year tradition of Holi festivity. “Albeit we are doing our best to stave off the threat of infection. We have kept small bottles of hand sanitiser for use in our lobby. Also we have put up a notice asking residents to take precautions against coronavirus by using masks. I had ordered 100 masks but the chemists are out of stock. Still, we will go ahead with the community gathering by asking residents to procure masks themselves. How can we order people to stop celebrating the festival?” said society chairman Rahul Tangri.
Meanwhile, the sale of Chinese water cannons or pichkaris has dropped to a trickle as people are avoiding goods manufactured in the birthplace of the coronavirus. At APMC Vashi, sales have reduced to barely 15% of previous years.
A dealer at Abdul Rehman Street near Crawford Market said he was making do with last year’s leftover stock of pichkaris. “Importers been unable to source new stock because production and transportation in China has slowed down. Moreover, the demand for Chinese items has trickled down as buyers are being extra cautious about infection by coronavirus,” he said.