Today was the first day of the big and crazy Holi!! Holi is a Hindu holiday that celebrates then end of 'winter' and the start of spring but doesn't seem to celebrate any God or Goddess specifically (someone please correct if I'm wrong.) It is a celebration of colors and in an already colorful country, it is SO much fun to make things even brighter! Typically a person would wear white and place color on one another but mainly its an excuse for people to let loose and assault one another with powder. We started the morning off by getting an omelet and chai then headed to buy some powder color. The four of us ladies decided to drive the scooties down to the main celebration area, Fancy Bazar, and meet up with some other friends there. Within two minutes of color shopping, Kelly and I were swarmed by men putting color on us so much so that the police asked us to leave. Yes, the police made us leave because being present was causing too much of a scene. That was when I realized that the day might be a little rough. Never the less, we drove around town, went down to Lakhtokia, spent time with Sima and her family, took a long drive to a friend of a friends house all the while having endless amounts of color attacks. It was crazy seeing all the people (over 90% men) on the streets just going crazy!! The little time we spent in Fancy Bazar was INSANE, I have never experienced anything like it in my life. There were machines shooting out powder, people dancing all over, and every person in sight runs up to put color on you. We all had it in our eyes, ears, mouths, up our noses and seeping through our clothes. It was awesome!
The day was almost all fun except the men who completely know no boundaries. By the end of the afternoon Kelly and I found ourselves in tears and the most scared I have been in India since my adventure in Cherrapunjee. I was driving us home when we got separated from the group and subsequently lost. Men on motorcycles and in cars were trying to pull Kelly off the back while we were driving, throwing powder in my eyes, running us off the road and trapping us anytime we stopped to ask for directions. By the end, I was just blaring my little horn and yelling for everyone to stop. I can't even put into words how overwhelmed I was. One of the biggest downfalls about being a woman and a foreign woman at that is the inability to truly be allowed to take part in celebrations like these. As you can see in the pictures this is an amazing and unique holiday, but unfortunately for me this year it was overshadowed by the countless men who crossed the line. I will never forget this holiday but as a lesson learned, I think next time I'll travel in a car and only to celebrations at houses, not on the street. You live and you learn, my skin is stained from the color and the good times couldn't have been more good today !!
Oh did I forget to mention that we made it on the news AGAIN this week at the Holi celebration?? I think this place needs some new news!