Beats of celebrations

Duffs, an inseparable part of Holi, are dominating the markets at Mandai and Tulshibaug area.

A woman, who had a small boy in tow and bags full of fresh vegetables, was hurrying to cross the road at Mandai, near Tulshibaug. The boy, who was distracted with the cacophony of sounds and colours all around him, stopped short as he spotted a woman with a pile of duffs (daphlis). She was beating on a pale leathery daphli with a stick, calling out to the customers, urging them to celebrate Holi the proper way.

The daphli sellers in the Mandai and Tulshibaug are busy stacking them up. Suresh Kadam, who was sitting at the end of the chowk with his pile of daphlis says that each year they have to be inventive with the names on the daphlis. "Some are Holi-related words but most of them are the names of films," he says chuckling. This year, apparently there is a lot of demand for Dabangg and Singham daphlis. Most of the daphli sellers buy their wares in bulk from the local markets itself and sell them from Rs 40 to Rs 80, depending on the size.

In Maharashtra, Holi is mainly associated with the burning of Holika. Holi Paurnima is also celebrated as Shimga. A week before the festival, youngsters go around the community, collecting firewood and money. On the day of Holi, the firewood is arranged in a huge pile at a clearing in the locality and in the evening the fire is lit. Every household makes an offering of a meal and dessert to the fire God with the main delicacy Puran Poli. Shimga is associated with the elimination of all evil. The colour celebrations here traditionally take place on the day of Rangapanchami, five days after Holi, unlike in North India where it is done on the second day itself. During this festival, people are supposed to forget about any rivalries and start new healthy relations with all. As a part of Holi, children in the localities get their daphlis and bang on them with their sticks. They sing songs, shout slogans and praise the fire Gods.

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