Its one of my favorite festivals tomorrow and so an appropriate time to hold forth on bhang. Whether you take it in Thandai or Pakora form, the sight of otherwise respectable Auntie-jis and Uncle-jis giggling uncontrollably under the influence is not to be missed. The Holifestival.org website informs us:
Bhang was first used as an intoxicant in India around 1000 BC and soon became an integral part of Hindu culture. In the ancient text Artharvaveda, Bhang is described as a beneficial herb that “releases anxiety”. Bhang preparations were sacred to Gods, particularly Shiva. One of Shiva’s epithets was “Lord of Bhang” as he is said to have discovered the transcendental properties of the mixture.
This wonderful website goes on to inform us that Thandai is a nutritious alternative to alcohol.
One Holi, I walked out in the streets of Delhi late in the afternoon. Not a soul was in sight in this densely crowded city, not a car, not a scooter. Everybody was sleeping off their marijuana binge. What a feeling, all of North India dreaming in a haze of cannabis!