Mathura/Vrindavan is a spiritual place which is splashed with colors and enigma during this time of the year – Holi. Celebrated mostly as a festival of colors and love, signifying good over evil, but Holi is quite infamous for the safety of the women especially for the women who would want to explore the festival at its full glee.
I was aware that Holi in Mathura won’t be that safe for obvious reasons, but I was not aware of its magnitude. When I posted about my plans for Holi on Instagram, you won’t imagine the amount of messages and calls that I received for all kinds of advises and to explain to me of few severe cases of molestation.
While digging deeper into the root, I came across many blog posts articles. You know how intimidating that is? I went there to see “Phoolon Vali Holi” with my heart in my mouth when my brother got a call from someone who was in Mathura already, that how their lady friend had to leave as 15-20 guys attacked her in the name of “Holi” and that is when my brother started saying let’s turn back. But I am a traveler you know, to experience a place is what I live for.
Honestly no harm was done to me. I don’t know it was because of my disguise or three guys who went along but I was certainly not proud of changing my identity. Honestly, who will be? It does not make me proud but the festival is so infamous that the only last resort left with us is to take such drastic measures.
I am summarizing few of the safety hacks you girls can follow, which even I did and worked well
- Bandana/Mask: I rolled up my hairs and covered the falling streaks with Bandana which in a way helps to hide your gender from the distant or at the first look and masked my face with a layer of covering for extra caution. I also used a cap on top of the bandana. It also protects your hairs from being ruined by hard colors
- Chest Binder: So my basic aim in the end was to dress up as guy-ish as possible and hence I purchased a chest binder online which was pretty reasonable and costed just about INR 300/- to flatten the bust area
- Note: Do not use bandages in any case as it is very harmful for the chest area tissues
- Extra-large t-shirts: This again helped to hide the female figure and especially helped in case when you are drenched in water as it does not end up hugging to your body
- Jeans underneath your loose PJs: This was not exactly used for the disguise, but I kept my lose money and mobile phone in jeans and wore PJs on top as the number of thefts also increase in magnitude during this time around. Mathura apart from getting rowdy also gets crowd-y, a lot of crowd. No one will certainly put their hands inside your PJs to steal in the end and Voila your money and essentials are safe as well and just in your reach when you need it
- Selfie Stick: When I was not using my selfie stick for pictures, I removed my GoPro/cell phone from it and walked casually around the street with selfie stick in my hand, extended by two legs. Haha. I know, I know, quite peculiar. But I felt so much safer and others got much cautious too. It was pretty bad ass.
- Confidence: Honestly, after I got comfortable with the surroundings and removed the bandana and mask, the “boys” still gave few uncomfortable looks and all I had to do was give them the evil eye and keep my head high because in the end it do intimidates them when we are not really that intimidated.
I am attaching few pictures below of the final look:
Haha, this looks weird because I have a GoPro mounted on my head. Below is the picture without the GoPro and the mask: