When Holi is not a holiday
What an irony…it’s a ‘holi’day and yet you are in office. I mean, this is the day when people break confines to celebrate the festival of colour under the blue sky, but there you sit with an obligation on your head. A forced responsibility you have to comply with or else you face the music.
Sounds terrible, I know, but that's the condition of thousands of employee across the nation as they carry on with the routine rigmarole of office affairs, even as the whole world celebrates Holi and you - ‘enjoy’ the day sitting right in front of your work station in the office.
Office - a place where you spend more than 50% of your day in a conscious (or sedated) state holds a very important place in your life. This is an area where you connect and communicate with people …an interaction which brings about an environment of productive growth of which you are a daily witness and an active participant.
Now, a lot depends upon your office atmosphere. Though you do not have the entire authority to control the situation, but you do have the power to control your personal sense of happiness!
Holi, the festival of colours is celebrated in early spring. The many colours of the festival reflect the colours of spring, and the victory of good over evil.
Talking more about Holi, the standard practice followed pan India is the utter relaxation of the accepted rules of behaviour, with even a hint of lewdness.
People spray each other in the streets with colour and water. The day is unique, so there is a ribald shift in the normal relations between the sexes which often degenerates into mudslinging and public beating of men by women!
Yes, there is definitely a lot of fun outside than being in the office on the day of Holi, but that doesn’t mean you cannot celebrate the festival with the diverse mix of your office team mates.
If you are depressed with the gloomy economy and lines of cubicles, a little bit of multicultural colour can go a long way in enlivening your work. One of the key dimensions of being in a multicultural workplace is that one can be proud of the richness and diversity of celebrations across India.
I know sometimes we are too busy to stop and celebrate, but festivals are such a good, welcoming way of reflecting what you are and where you come from.
So, here’s presenting some ideas of how you can celebrate Holi in the workplace. Though, nothing can be better than someone in HR looking for a reason to add colour by throwing a party, nevertheless, your personal spirit to enjoy the day should never be low.
On Holi, what we usually wear is white. Think of adding colour to your outfit that day as a tribute to Holi. Dig out some colourful and appropriate cubicle or bay decorations. Bring in Holi treats for all – colourful sweets or Indian sweets left in the break room with a little card explaining the festival will spread joy.
Just talk about it to everyone!
If you have tables, decorate each with a plate of office Rangoli at the centre – with paint or confetti. Just put one colour in the middle with symmetric patterns emanating from it. Serve some nice Indian snacks, or any colourful food from the local grocery stores.
Remember, a celebration does not have to be elaborate and fancy to be effective. A simple celebration or a personal statement can be your way of keeping in touch with your culture in a place where you spend most of your day, reduce homesickness and just make you happier and more confident
Since the day is special, and hence people outside office get license to temporarily discard the roles they play in an otherwise strictly stratified society, a little leeway in the office on the day of Holi would be like an early bonus!