The women never fail to amaze us. Yes, it is anyone’s guess they tear into the husband’s pockets and celebrate the spoils of his wallets. This little adventure is then given the name of haldi kumkum, a celebration of the husband’s existence so that he cannot say a word even though his pockets are empty.
Haldi Kumkum is a traditional Indian kitty party where gifts, tilgul, and gossip are exchanged. Preparation for the event is no small feat, as the home must be given a thorough cleaning and decorated to perfection. The husband is often tasked with the job of cleaning the house from top to bottom, making him an apprentice of sorts to the maid. On the day of the event, the women arrive dressed in their finest jewelry and sarees, each armed with a tilgul. It’s a lively affair, with conversations ranging from sweet to naughty, and the ‘admin’ having no control over the proceedings.
Interestingly, black is the only colour allowed to be worn on this occasion. It’s a colour that is often overlooked, but on Sankrantri, it is given the respect it deserves, just like the tilgul. Gifts, known as waan, are given to each attendee, and the better the gift, the happier the shrimatis. The event usually lasts for a week, with tilgul being exchanged and invites extended.
The husband, however, is the one who has to bear the brunt of the preparations. He works in the fields, cleans the house, buys the waan, and then has to stay away from his own home so that the women can gossip without interruption. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Some families have another wonderful tradition: a family picnic. Especially those who have fields, the entire family goes to the field to enjoy the warm, comforting sunlight while it lasts. They sit together, eat together, laugh together, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Sankrantri is a festival of joy, a time when families and friends come together to meet, eat, gift, dance, and laugh. These bonds of togetherness are built in happiness, but they also provide support in times of peril.
Nowadays, social interaction is often limited to Facebook and WhatsApp. We don’t see people, we see only profiles, and we have no bonds of love, only bonds of likes on Facebook. We have groups on WhatsApp, but we can’t form groups on playgrounds. I believe that we should leave our phones behind for a day and go out to share our joy and say, “Tilgul Ghya Goood Goood Bola!”