i look like a coral reef... or better yet some strange, distorted, distant cousin of a parrot fish yet to be discovered. for three hours i swam the streets of PUSHKAR in a school of other nameless vertabrates. an undulation of color and music was our sustenance. colorful and colorless, we greeted each other with a simple phrase... HAPPY HOLI.
this exultation of spring came after a moon filled evening here in INDIA. streets were overflowing with drummers, dancing men and a variety of digital cameras. at one point a woman broke thru the crowd and began dancing right along side the other men. i thought how bold it was her to stand in that circle, how graceful and salient her movements were. i found it tittilating, bordering on salacious until a traveler sitting next to me pointed out that she was a man. a sari clad man.
the festivities culminated with a prayer, then an offering of merrigolds, holy water and incense to 25 bushels of wheat assembled in the town square. the wheat was then set a flame.
i had been hearing about the HOLI festival since my arrival in INDIA almost one month ago. the festival is a celebration of spring that takes place over 2 days. the full moon hoedown i was telling you about? that's the opening act. at 8 oclock the next morning madness begins. an assualt of colorful powder in every direction. IF YOU LEAVE YOUR ABODE YOU WILL BE ATTACKED. this final day of HOLI is a celebration of spring with color, lots of color. color that doesnt' fade for a week. that is unless you know what the INDIANS know... baby oil before you leave and shaving cream when you return.
i must admit i simply wanted to participate as an observer. i even took refuge in the foyer of a HINDU temple thinking SHIVA would protect me. my efforts were in vain. 5 young men, suspecting my reticence, snuck up behind me and began smearing paint all over my face. i broke the grip of the biggest one, began running down the street, only to have my escape route closed off by 20 teenage INDIANS, who looked like they'd been on the road with THE GRATEFUL DEAD for 6 months. tackled to the ground i was, color stuffed in every orafice. i surrendered. i happily surrendered.
happy holi everyone