Sunday, March 27

Holi Cow

Holi, the Rhajasthani Hindu holiday, is a photographers dream, as the objective of the day is to get everyone as colorful as possible. To kick things off the night before we had a meal with the extended family followed by 'doon.' This is a ritual where Soonu and baby Kuishy were placed on a small platform beneath sticks that were beat together as onlookers sang a holi song. Money was exchanged but no one had enough English to clarify the situation to me.

The day of Holi began with an extreme version of the traditional water fight. Preparing to meet Jen, I was about to head out when my older brothers came running down the sandy path from the direction of a beating drum. An army of about 20 teenage boys were approaching and there was going to be war. Armed with water squirters loaded with dyed kerosene, they were marching straight for our home. My sisters and I were brought to my room with two Sambhali girls (whom Usha has sent to fetch me). There we were barricaded in as a battering ram of fists started pounding on our front door. Through a secret entrance more male relations came to our protection and only barely kept off the attackers. When I peeked one man was being beat outside. After the attack I waited first ten, then twenty, then thirty minutes before my messengers determined it was safe for me to journey the 35 meters to meet Jen and Usha at Usha'a house.

At Usha's house, a dozen or so Sambhali students gathered to delight in harmlessly throwing colours at each other. Colours are essentially dry tempra paint, although after a while the colours were mixed with water. Kerosene is a malicious addition that only some use to make the colours permanent for up to six weeks. Soon we were covered from between our toes to in our ears with colours. The homes were splattered and the ditches were flowing with pink. The fun continued throughout the heat of the day as we used buckets and water from outdoor faucets to clean ourselves on the front steps of Usha's home. After two hours of persistent scrubbing Kerry, a lovely volunteer who joined us from Jodhpur, still had one red ear. Usha had a pink neck; Jen a purple chest, and I red eyebrows. Manz of the bozs remained stained pink for the rest of the week. I even saw a cow with a large blue streak. All in all, a tremendously successful day.


  1. See my comment for the March 23 entry -- got it on the wrong place but whatever! Met your mom and C.W. for a lovely walk and food. The weather is cool and damp -- I am sure a contrast to what you are experiencing. What is a day in a classroom like? I admire your stamina!
    Here is a hug,C.B.

  2. Wow! Reminds of that colour war movie we used to show the kids after Expo '85. I hope you took pictures. What next?

    Spring break is almost over and I just wrapped up my assignment for my second course. I plan to take a leave from my studies for awhile.

    Take care and thinking of you and sending you love vibes in the middle of the night. Do you feel them?

    Love Mom