>Travel Pictures


Holi 2009

We sort of missed out on all the Holi excitement last year, not realizing what a big deal it was, and so were determined not to make the same mistake this year! 
Holi is a holiday deep with religious significance, but what it boils down to in terms of actual action is that people drink marijuana-infused lassis - bhang lassi - (today being the one day out of the entire year that it is legal to do so) and throw colored powder or water on each other.

These traditions have also devolved into making the day sort of a big water fight, which set the tone for our activities at Kiara.
Susan organized a spectacle for the apartment, buying water sprayers and even bringing in non-toxic and non-staining powders to provide a dash of color to the festivities.

We had a great turnout - pretty much every kid over the age of 3 was there - and the adults had absolutely as much fun as the kids! Breck went after everyone like crazy, and the Stutz family even got picked on a little! 

Alea got to take special revenge on her math teacher, Mr. Roberts, but he gave as good as he got. Everyone got soaking wet and painted up (although the mesh of colors was looking pretty soggily brown by the end of the event)! And of course the clean up was easy - everyone just jumped in the pool!

Once the in-house party died down, a few people decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood to check out what Holi looked like outside our walls...

Now the powders that are sold come in all sorts of neon bright colors, and yesterday (left) there were still plenty of them for sale. Today, however, the color salesman was running a bit low as his wares were in use all over town!

It was great to see the people tooling around on bikes, motorcycles, and rickshaws all painted up! We had to be careful, however, as many of the motorists had taken it upon themselves to drive around and throw water balloons full of dye at people!

The vehicles weren't the only ones we had to watch out for, however. As we walked down the street, we noticed a houseful of kids waiting to ambush passersby. They sprayed water and threw balloons at us - I managed to catch and toss a few back at them too!

As we entered the small slum near our home, we were greeted by quite a number of very enthusiastic groups.

Some people looked a bit worse for wear after the bhang lassi, but most everyone was just wanting to have fun.

Everyone was out having a great time, and there was no hesitancy at all about letting us get involved.

We were (pleasantly) surprised at how people checked with us first before putting paint on us or involving us in the activities. The girl above waited until I motioned that it was ok to throw the water balloon, and people were constantly warning each other to wait until our cameras were in plastic bags before throwing water at us.

We saw people of all ages and social strata out and about. There was none of the 'snobbery' that one might think revolves around a celebration that involves throwing colored powder on people. Everyone genuinely was enjoying the time and were mixing and mingling and making the most of the morning. 
People's inhibitions were lowered, and we were welcomed in, especially as we got more and more painted!
We even crashed a neighborhood party, made up of mostly older people dancing, singing, eating, and coloring each other. They were extremely friendly, inviting us to have sweets with them, and we promised them copies of some of our pictures. 

But eventually it was time for them to take a smoke break, and we decided to head back to the apartment after a colorful insight into a joyous Indian tradition.

Our crew made it back looking like a quartet of walking rainbows.

Hair on end, colors smeared everywhere, clothes completely soaked - we were the epitome of Holi fun.

Alea wanted to share the wealth a bit, so I smeared paint on her face and promised her that next year she could make the trek with us around the block.
Holi cow - happy Holi everyone!!

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