Holi Hai! 2010

   Even my car was colored!

My darling beauties, I have returned from Holi, happy, exhausted, coughing up purple goo like a Verismo Romantic lead, and of course, toting a bazillion pictures!

I love accidentally amazing pictures, like this one. 

I thought I would share them with you, so you too can experience the joy… but you won’t have to scrub yourself silly afterwards. Lucky devils.

I went to this festival last year when I was a awkward, rather ill-informed watcher of Bollywood. A year later I’ve fully embraced my pyaar for my adopted culture and of course had to go attend again!

Katie and I drove down to the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Templein Spanish Fork, Utah early in the day so that we could get good parking and buy all of our colors before they ran out (and they did run out, one-million bags later).

The temple is home to an interesting mix of “Hare Krishnas” and local Hindus.  The festival brings crowds from my school and its sister school in Provo and other local universities around the Salt Lake City area, Desis from all over, simple natured farmers and people of all ages. For the day we forget ourselves, get a little touchy-feely and chant the Maha Mantra so often that I could do it this very second, and read it in Devanagarifor you if you asked me to.

Due to the increasing popularity of the event over the years they had two times for color throwing; noon and 5 p.m.  We decided to stick it out and go to both, simply because we could.  Before both “throwings” they provided entertainment. Classical Indian dancers from Boise, Idaho who were just so beautiful and graceful that I almost melted. I also firmly decided while watching the little 5 year olds dance Kuchipudithat somehow, someway, I shall be having beautiful, half-brown babies. The end. Non-negotiable. Fact.

For the first throwing I lead Katie into the center of the action. “You must experience this” I said, “but you won’t be able to see or breathe for 3 minutes. But I don’t care, you’re doing this”. After a countdown, and a torching of Holikathe throwing began. True to my words we were lost in a cloud of orangish dust. All of the powder mixing together, thrown in the air at the same time made for a surreal experience. The sun was blocked out first, next you feel it falling, but for 30 seconds or so you don’t really notice until without warning the cloud falls all around you; the only senses you retain in that moment are taste and hearing. Your mouth and nose are clogged with thick, disgusting tasting chalk, powder turns everything orange seconds before you can’t see more than a few inches in front of you, and then lands by the bucketfuls into your eyes. You scream and yell and get trampled and have people body surf on you and laugh hysterically; all the while choking on more dust, and throwing more of your own in retaliation.

You have to fight your way out of the center, which morphs into a Woodstock class orgy almost as instantly as the colors fly into the air. It’s all cool, under the guise of a painted face you can get away with anything (well, except for groping… but that happened the second time around). On the edge Katie and I danced to the band, threw more colors and laughed at our lightness of heart.

The dear bands that were playing, well… they weren’t terrible, but I could have used more variety than the Maha Mantra as lyrics and a skinny, dopey Jay Sean wannabe; but it worked. The best part was some gori behind me who kept trying to explain to his friend that it was bhangra, and it was so rocking. The music couldn’t even dream of being classified as bhangra! It was acoustic, folksy, sometimes country rockish, but bhangra wasn’t even close. After a while this girl could have used some ghaatiness in the music, but I found much better things to spend my time on.

Like food. Veggy curry, little naans, mango-lemon juice? YES PLEASE! (It was some testement to how caught up in Holi I was that I was able to eat sitting on the ground, covered in dirt and color, consuming food prepared by people covered in colors themselves. The mysophobia was clearly on a vacation!)

The second go-around Katie and I opted to stay towards the back, where we could get more distinct pigmentation and watch the colors go into the air. I want to say it was more fun that way, it was more personal at least. You threw color on someone, they smeared it on your neck and so on and so forth until you were all blue, or all pink, or all green. It can also cause an entire bag of pink to be dumped down the front of your shirt, but it’s best that things like that are forgotten. Up at the top you also start your major throwing about 10 minutes too early (by accident) , so that Katie and I were done and walking towards our car when we heard the countdown for the second one. I tried to get a video of it on my phone, but there are much better ones online and on the temple’s website.

The only thing this is good for is hearing my VERY Valley-Girlesque voice.



Covered in chalk, a little sunburned and a really dirty we climbed in the car and went back to Katie’s house where we promptly showered (very colorfully I might add) and hunkered down with some Bollywood, Holi was over.

When I leave Idaho in a few weeks, this is going to be one of the few things that I really, really miss. I know there are other festivals in other cities, but this is the biggest one in North America, and totally worth the mini-sinus infection I have now.

This stuff is ALL over my car. 
Everywhere you can imagine it, it is.
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HOLI

I’m finally talking about Holi… (I have the time, I am “finishing” a research paper to turn in in 2 hours instead of going to Ear Training…it’s 60% true…but I have to take study breaks…and I’m just editing at this point anyway…geez, I love to justify.)

I went down to Spanish Fork this weekend and had a part mental holiday (my own hotel room for 2 days and 2 nights = heaven) and part Indian cultural experience where I connected to my inner Indian (not so much inner as all encompassing, but still I have to allow that I’m white white white and no fraction of Indian what-so-ever).

Anyway, I went to Krishna’s temple around noon-ish and wandered around for a LONG time (the color throwing didn’t start until 5). I ate copious amounts of Indian food (and paid for it the next day, I might add) and went CRAZY shopping at all the booths and tents set up…I bought TWO saris (one really nice one, one “everyday” type), TWO veils/scarves, TWO shirts a package of bindis and a bed cover. I had to stop myself from buying more…but I am proud of my bounty. I took most of it to my car, except for one of my scarves which I wore and a bindi. I looked miraculously ethnic. Afterwards I explored more, looked at the llama farm, went to a puja at the temple…ate more food.

They had constant music and entertainment in the form of belly dancers and dance troupes. It was so wonderful…granted I was the only whitey in the sea of brown actually watching it, but hey, those are my people, that’s my culture…as much as I want it to be. I can’t explain it, it speaks to me. Anyway, while sitting in the grass watching someone recreate Devdas I was suddenly absorbed by a group of people I worked with this summer! It was spectacular. There were perhaps a million people there and they just happened to sit in front of me! It was a great moment of hugging, catching up and other such nonsense. At the same time my friend JLowe finally arrived and she came to sit with me too.

When the throwing finally started, we (our now large group) were right in the middle of it. Instantly with the start of the throwing it was impossible to see, smell, or hear. I got a mouth and eye full of chalk (green colored) and couldn’t see my hand enough to throw back my colors in retaliation. It was probably the happiest moment of my life. …No, that came later when a group of Desi men caught me outside the big mosh-pit of color throwing and shouted something to the effect of “Hey hottie, we’re going to get you!” (I speak enough Hindi to glom on to most conversations…so I know what you’re saying!) and dumped an ENTIRE BAG of yellow down my shirt and threw a fistful of orange in my face. I choked on that for about 5 minutes and couldn’t see for ten but I was laughing during the whole process.

After about 7:30 I tried to dust off as much as possible and got in my car to head back to my hotel. I was thankful I had gotten there early and parked on the Temple grounds…there were cars parked up to 7 MILES away!

And I’ll just say this…I’m STILL blowing purple out of my nose…!
BeforeJLoweand I Afterwards!