Of Holi , Bhang , Lord Shiva , Amitabh Bachchan and ………..

Flirting with Bhang

Our Indian festival Holi is a fun-lovers’ paradise. Its my favourite festival too. And its marked by fun , frolic , colours , food and Bhang ! Bhang is the hero of my blog post today. Watch the video for all the fun and romance at the end of this post , the song sung by the star himself to the lyrics of his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan.

Amitabh Bachchan & Bhaang

Amitabh Bachchan & Bhaang

I would have loved to write about Holi elaborately , but lots has been written about  it in WordPress itself. But just to cap it all , Holi is a spring festival , a colour festival and a love festival. Though its an ancient Hindu festival , it is now being celebrated with great gusto in many parts of South Asia and all places where we have the Indian diaspora.

Holika bonfires lit in late evenings mark the beginning of the festival. Effigies are burnt to celebrate good over evil , a lot of merriment happens with song and dance and the following morning is a free for all carnival of colours. Streets , parks and most open areas are the frolickers’ playground that day , and get sprayed around with coloured water and powders . Men , women and children , age no bar , drench each other with colours and are unrecognisable by mid-morning to the accompaniment of drums and other musical instruments. Do you know , Holi unites people , fences get mended and goodwill is restored ?

Cannabis leaves

Cannabis leaves

Where merriment is , food and drink cannot be far behind. That brings us to Bhang. Its an intoxicating potion made from Cannabis leaves and is mixed in sweets and drinks. Bhang has become the epic drink of Holi. Holi is incomplete without Bhang , in being the ideal catalyst for uninhibited camaraderie. In many parts of India , Government authorised shops selling Bhang spurt up during the period. The fun potion is supposed to be an anxiety releaser and is believed to fight depression. It has a lot of medicinal uses , but we are in fun mood and shall only talk about that.

“One sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight, beyond the bliss of dreams.” ― John MiltonComus ( Milton on another intoxication though )

Lord Shiva's nectar

Lord Shiva’s nectar

We mortals are not the only ones to delight in Bhang. Lord Shiva is believed to have discovered the transcendental powers of cannabis and thereupon it became his favourite holy drink. Sufi mystics consume it too , they believe it aids them in their meditation.

I have flirted with Bhang a couple of years ago and the memory is still fresh and lingering in my mind. It was at a Holi party I first tasted Thandai , a delicious concoction made from almonds , milk , saffron , cardomom and sugar , laced moderately with Bhang. Tasted yummy and another glass followed transporting me into a happy zone , such a happy zone that I went around wishing all a Happy Diwali !!!!!! Diwali , by the way is a much sober festival with religious and spiritual connotations. A friend then corrected me , I laughed and wished the next friend a Happy Diwali again. She looked at my glass knowingly , but didn’t mind. It was Holi after all !Thandai in parties

Uncontrollable laughter is another jolly effect of Bhang and I became a happy victim again. Small mercy it didn’t get uncontrollable , but yet simple questions like ‘hey , how are you’ elicited peals of laughter from yours truly. On our way back home , my driver asked for directions to drop a friend to his house , and there I was squealing with laughter ! I was concerned he might think that much lesser of me , expressed it to my husband and started laughing again ! I don’t remember when the laughing spree ended , probably after I hit the bed after I had showered and scrubbed myself clean of the yellows and the reds and the blues and the greens off me.

But , all is fair in love and Holi ! And precisely why our Indian Hindi film indusrty is obsessed with featuring Holi in romances of the silver screen , of which Bhang is an undisputed badshah . A case in point out of the many would be the inimitable actor Amitabh Bachchan in high spirits under the happy influence of Bhang in the song sequence of Rang Barase Beege Chunarwaali…….. , from the movie Silsila.

Our man , who is at his best in drunken scenes throws caution to the winds and flirts outrageously with his ex-flame to the discomfort of the spouses (and hell breaks loose thereafter ). The man and the song have made it an epic song of all Holi celebrations and romances.

Well as Huseyn Raza puts it “There is no intoxicant more dangerous than the passion of love; intoxicating both the holder and the beholder.” What then becomes of love married to Bhang …… Rang Barase…….

And in my own words…..

“Oh sweet intoxication , lift my spirits just enough

Hold me not by my cuff

Let me glide , gently slide to my normal self !”

Just a word more , if Bhang is to leave pleasant memories :

Bhang in strict moderation please , else the headache can make you feel sick !

Lace your stomach with a few healthy snacks before and after you consume Bhang.

Do not mix it with alcohol. It can give an added kick but can be fatal too.

Remedy your hangover;

♥ Herbal cure: Have a cup of herbal tea like rose tea or jasmine tea; it can alleviate the headache and help counter the effects of bhaang.

♥ Lemon water:
 Lemon water with its vitamin C is a great source of antioxidant , it helps prevent the formation of free radicals.

♥ Hydrate your system: Flush out the intoxicants with lots of water, dehydration can make the hangover worse.

Happy Holi once again !



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