So, lemme tell you about Holi...
Up to this point in my life I thought that I had attended some pretty crazy parties. Boulder definitely has a great party scene. There have been many a time in which I've bounced to Abo's or Cosmo's (local Boulder pizza places for those who don't know) at 2 A.M. to take care of the drunchies. Those were crazy nights, or so I thought until I experienced Holi. In short Holi is a Hindu holiday that is celebrated to remember the following story. Basically there was a king who tried to tell his kingdom that he was God. The kings son however disagreed and told his father that he didn't believe he was God. As a result, the king asked his sister, Holika (a woman who was immune to fire) to take the sun and burn him for his insolence. So, the Kings sister took the boy, her nephew, and tried to burn him. What ended up happening though is that she actually burnt and the boy was saved. Thus Holi is celebrated to basically remember the fact that God's greatness is beyond human form etc.
So, how does this story translate into modern terms? Well, I'll start from the beginning. As I was hoping, a few friends of mine and I headed back to Pushcar for the celebration. Dressed entirely in white clothing, we headed out on the streets of Pushcar on Holi morning. Within about 3 minutes we found ourselves being rushed by a mob of approximately 25-30 kids. Everyone was armed with bottles of red, purple, or blue dye, and various bags of colored chalk. In about 30 seconds our white clothing went from perfectly new, to almost entirely covered in paint. We were armed with paint of our own, so we threw some colors back. All of the paint throwing is done with good intentions, but regardless anyone venturing out on the street that isn't an Indian adult is almost guaranteed to get covered in paint on Holi. Finally we made our way through this first crowd of kids only to encounter about 5 more of comparable size before we got to the street where the main part was going on.
By the time I arrived at the main party the only person left with me was my friend Evan. The three other girls, Amanda, Stephanie, and Juri all were somewhat put off by the grabbing nature of the paint throwers and decided to head back to the hotel early. By this point both Evan and I had lost all signs of ethnicity, race etc. and we had merely become pink, purple and blue. Both of us were pretty psyched about being able to take our shirts off later in the day, wash as much dye off as we could, and have a cool souvenir of Holi. However, this was only a hope we held before we got to the main party. As we approached the center of town where the main party was there seemed to be a massive amount of red dust in the air. In actuality, there was so much of the powered color being thrown around by the near 120 raging teens that there was close to zero visibility. As we got closer we were all of a sudden rushed by yet another mob of about 5-8 people who proceeded to rip our shirts off our bodies and throw them on the power lines above. At first we were a little shocked, but after noticing that all of the guys in the crowd were topless, we accepted the fact we had lost our souvenirs and simply let ourselves succumb to the Hindi trance music that was being pumped into the street.
I've by no means accurately described Holi to the extent that you'll be able to imagine the insanity, but it was truly nuts. Having my clothes ripped off, being mobbed collectively by hundreds of people with massive amounts of paint and dye, and generally being in a town wide party is what Holi is all about, and I loved every moment of it. The other interesting thing was that although some adults clearly didn't want to play Holi, others were really into it, and by the end of the playing time (around 4:00 P.M.) it was entirely common to see entire families happily covered in paint heading home to shower off. In short, Holi was freakin' nuts, and by all means the craziest party I've ever been to.
After Holi was over, Evan and I took a hike up one of the nearby mountains. At the top was a temple, but we made the hike to see the sunset. We got up about 20 minutes before the sunset got good. Then after it had set we waited to see the lights below in Pushcar flicker on before we started to head down. On our way down the mountain we watched the moon rise over the nearby ridge, and after arriving back at the hotel, I went right to sleep.
Now, I'm in Delhi. The program is located here, opposed to Jaipur, for the next week. Were expected to be working on interviews etc. for our research projects. So, today I went to the Jarwala Lal Nehru University, and began the process. I found a guy to interview, and after a pretty successful 30 minutes of questioning, he invited me to have some Chai with him. Ultimately, the interview went much better than I planned it to, and although I'm still not totally sure about how to really focus my research, I'm getting a better idea every day.
So, for now...that's all folks!
Missin' ya'll...lovin' ya'll...wishin' ya'll could be here...
(I hope that wasn't too much "ya'll")