The morning of the festival of colours started on a very positive note. While having my morning cup of tea along with the newsfeed on my iPad, I came across a very positive news which just made my spirits high and boost my energy levels. I read about Vrindavan widows playing Holi breaking all the barriers and stereotype images of widows across the country, coming out of the age old tradition that has restricted them to live a colourful life.

The breeze in the morning was chilly and the weather was cold; not a perfect weather for this festival at all but nothing could deter these women to get drenched in colours and go with the flow. The smile on their face and the glimpse of the contentment they had;  anyone could easily see that their soul never agrees to the colourless confined life full of rules made by the society for them. But in the name of the traditions and rituals, they caged their soul, shut their eyes, not to dream, rather stopped dreaming forever.

As life for many widows in India is still disheartening as they are shunned by their communities and abandoned by their families, it saddens me to the core that in the name of the tradition how many lives have become colourless, how many dreams shattered and how many howls go unheard.

But we must ask ourselves: Why should a woman, whose husband has predeceased her, be subjected to the worst indignities and deprived of the right to all that she has enjoyed, and should continue to enjoy?

Although urban India has moved little ahead in this respect, widows continue to be ill-treated within the family, especially in the smaller cities. Unable to fight back as they are without children, or uncared for by children, widows prefer to take the road to Vrindavan.

So people, with the city Vrindavan, which is considered holy by Hindus, becoming the ‘City of Widows’. Let’s open our eyes and be little more sensitive towards these women within the families and neighborhood to prevent them from living in acute poverty and ostracised by society due to various superstitions. Let us help them to break the stereotype image they have.

Let them also breathe life and not just exist. Let’s spread the colour of happiness, laughter and cheers for one and all.

उड़ने दे इन परिन्दों को, ना पंख इनके तोड़ तू।  ग़म तो पसरा पड़ा है हर तरफ़, ज़रा इन फ़िज़ाओं में ख़ुशी का रंग घोल तू।