A Wikipedia definition does not do this Holi-day justice (at least not here at the University of Law)! 😄 The day started with lovely chai masala (sweet Indian spiced tea) from Sunderji (more on our cook soon) and later I heard the clap-clap-clap of young flip-flops on the tiles. (One might have thought that Santa Claus had come and I was about to hear from his heralds!) Aarza and Seerat came to escort me to their neighborhood where a Holi encounter was underway.
With my cell phone tucked in my pocket in a plastic bag, I joined the festivities, having purchased Holi colors to take back to the states as gifts. (Oh well…)
Equipped with colors, a bucket, a few water guns, and a car stereo blaring Indian tunes, revellers began the party. Teachers came out on their balconies to watch the fun from the Faculty Block. Young women watched from the Girls’ Hostel at the end of the street (upper left in the picture below–more on that soon too!).
At first the greetings start out calmly enough. “Happy Holi” and then colors rubbed on the cheeks — perhaps a hug. Later, the students were a little more exuberant– going for the full head smear in color. (Despite one hot shower later, I still have color in my ears and crevices. Pants are soaking in suds. I have a feeling they will always be my Holi pants.)
Dr. Shveta kept everyone supplied with water balloons and buckets of water for reloading squirt guns. She was a master of ceremonies.
Later when the tame neighborhood gathering dispersed, Dr. Shveta and I went to see the gathering students at the sports field. A water truck had been left for them…. this was serious business. Serious mud bath with bucket assist business! I tried to stay away from the mud and focus on the colors- which were so fun. Easter eggs are nothing compared to Holi colors 🎨 !
The women were a little late in arriving…. oiling hair and skin so that the dye would not stain… But once they joined, it was an equal opportunity Holi. The mud went flying in their direction, too. I saw several women who were quite handy with the mud buckets!
Dr. Shveta set me up with a chair and I played cell phone/eye glasses monitor in the Indian morning sunshine while the carousing got even more muddy.
Music could be heard from the Boys’ Hostel but I was informed that it wasn’t loud enough for dancing (I could have managed, but the time did not see right).
The laughter was infectious. Here were neighborhood children, college students, and two of their professors, scampering about playing with colors, water, and mud in the warm spring sunshine. When was the last time you did anything like that?
“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!”