Holi celebrations in Mumbai and its suburbs took a hit this year due to the coronavirus outbreak and more than 30 confirmed cases in India. Many venues and housing societies cancelled celebrations altogether with only one listing on a popular event booking portal. Owing to the long weekend and the coronavirus scare, many either chose to stay indoors or booked private villas and bungalows for family gatherings on the outskirts.
The National Sports Club Of India in Worli cancelled its Holi event, usually attended by 5,000 guests every year. All the members and guests who had purchased passes were assured a refund. The Cricket Club Of India in Churchgate not only avoided planning a Holi celebration, but also cancelled a five-day yoga camp. In the western suburbs, at Lokhandwala Celebration Club, Holi was celebrated with only dry colours. Celebrations were also subdued as many societies cancelled their events. Organisers from a society in Dahisar (West) cancelled Holi events, including lunch, and returned donations.
“We use the donation to arrange material for Holika dahan, buy colours for the entire society and organise lunch after the celebrations. However, this year, following an increase in the number of positive cases in the country, we cancelled our plans and chose to stay indoors instead,” said Varun Mehta, a resident of the society.
Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizer’s township in Chembur also cancelled its annual Holi parties. “People in the township are playing Holi but within their families or in smaller groups. Every year, we book the ground inside the premises for everyone to join in and also arrange food. This year, residents chose to cancel the event due to the coronavirus scare,” said Megha Tyagi, a resident of the township.
Office-bearers of Swami Krupa Complex, a residential society in Thane, consulted members on WhatsApp in the run-up to Holi to decide whether to organise a celebration as the health authorities had cautioned against large gatherings.
“Usually, there is a big society event, including colours, snacks and a DJ. I sent my daughter to play Holi for a while with home-made colours from beetroot,” said 31-year-old Mugdha Joshi, a resident of the complex.
Following the long weekend, many also organised quiet Holi celebrations outside the city. “My friends and I usually go to Holi parties at five-star hotels or clubs. This year, we booked a bungalow in Igatpuri and celebrated in a group,” said Shashank Rajput, a Ghatkopar resident. Societies that held Holi soirees saw reduced attendance. Societies like Seawood’s NRI Complex , however, continued with their tradition of an annual rain dance. Water tankers were booked for the event that had a substantial turnout.
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