One often wonders if it was actually the death of Caesar that cursed the day, or was it just the Bard’s command of the language that forever changed the perception and in terms of foreboding, brought the Ides of March at par with Friday the 13th? During the course of history, the many horrible things that have actually happened on March 15, suggests it to be a case of life imitating art? Or perhaps, art guiding life?
For the uninitiated, the middle of March, marks the day when that famous warning ‘Beware the Ides of March’ was given to Julius Caesar, who chose to ignore the soothsayer. Despite a month of bad dreams stemming from that warning, and his wife Calpurnia’s attempt to talk him into staying home, the mighty Caesar - who thought of himself to be as ’constant as the northern star’, set off to the Senate and as a result of his hubris, ‘a delicious cocktail was concocted in memoriam’.
Tim Cusack, author at St Albert Gazette is of the view that like Caesar’s Rome, in today’s world also, we need to heed the warning Beware the Ides of March due to ‘the increased rhetoric around cultural xenophobia, religious persecution, relativism and the drive to secularise us to politically correct oblivion’ as ‘the armchair pundits spin alternative facts from Google and Wikipedia’ and one quickly finds oneself in the quagmire of deception and mendacity. Beware the Ides of March for there are those with the ‘lean and hungry look’ like ‘yon Cassius’ and there are those who would be Caesar but they carry the long blades of the khanjars, hidden under their togas.
Beware the Ides of March, for five days after that, on the 20th March is the festival of colours called Holi (not with a ‘y’ but an ‘i’) and on that day everything is par for the course. It is a vibrant, energetic and multi-coloured celebration of love and colour that marks the official advent of spring. In a grand display of the triumph of good over evil, everyone (the old and the young, the men and the women, the rich and the poor, the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful) ‘toss a kaleidoscope of rainbow-coloured powders into the air, which coats everyone in a magical, iridescent glow’. There is merriment in the air as it is the festival of abandon and the air is rendered with cries of Bura na mano Holi hai (Do not be offended by what we do, for it’s Holi) while the mood is upbeat and the smiles and laughter (aided and abetted by a home-made concoction called ‘bhang’) are undeniably contagious.
The festival adds a vibrant colour to an otherwise black and white world, allows you to find your inner child, tempts the taste buds with a smorgasbord of delectable festival food and proves that the colours of love really do speak all languages transcending the man-made barriers of religion and faith. It allows us to start the day with a blank canvas, and as the day progresses, metamorphoses into a brilliant masterpiece!
And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:
Do you know that a diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age? Happy birthday Padmini and Chachi - while the former turned a young 60 on the 8th, the latter turned a younger 91 yesterday - I am no diplomat!
Do you know that I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it? I think I should have started out much earlier, and then I could probably have had more of nothing!
Do you know that occasionally a true friend gives his paw and not his hand? Thank you Atticus for doing that all the time!
Till next fortnight…Beware the Ides of March; bura na mano Holi hai!