Holi Festival spans over two days, the second being the day that everyone throws coloured water and powder at each other and basically we all end up looking like creatures from a horror movie. That day falls on March 24th this year and being that we are scheduled to travel a whole day (Udaipur to Ahmedabad to Mumbai), our group would most likely not get the chance to celebrate Holi in the traditional way, with locals and public celebrations. Not to mention, it can get pretty dangerous as a lot of people are heavily drunk and high on drugs. Instead, our group celebrated Holi in our own way, a few days early.
Late morning after returning from the desert in Oushkar, we all changed into our least expensive, solid coloured clothing and met at the spot which the hotel had allowed us to use for our Holi.
It started off well enough; splitting the group into teams; Canadians & Germans vs. Brits & Randoms (one Mongolian & one Australian & one Indian). We filled up buckets and balloons with coloured water (blue for us, pink for the other team) and spread ourselves out on the opposite sides of our makeshift Holi pitch (basically a dodgeball court drawn in the dirt).
The first shot was fired by Tom; a small unpoppable ballon aimed directly at my left boob.
Water balloons being fired everywhere, water guns being aimed at anything that moved and buckets of blue or pink water being dumped over heads (and occasionally over our own heads, if the bucket was too heavy).
When the balloons ran out, we started using the crystals that are meant to colour the water, poured them straight into our hands and mashed into each other skin (my hand and fingers looked like something that comes out of a horror movie bathtub).
Stage Two: Powder. Naturally, I chose orange powder as my weapon of choice. There was also pink, yellow, blue, teal, red, green, purple…
We were told to avoid throwing it in each other faces. That bit of advice seemed to be pushed out of our minds as a rainbow of powder made its way into our ears. And mouths. And noses. And eyes. And under our finger nails. And everywhere.
I can only guess at who grabbed my face and smeared a pink beard all the way across both my cheeks and down my neck. Abhi.
Nearing the end, we all joined hands in a circle, ran towards each other and cheered. A group of 18 people can only do this so many times until yours truly slips and falls in the mud created by our own Holi mess.
Yesterday and the day before were actually the real days for Holi and everyone within the borders of India is covered in colour. Happy Holi!!