Monday, March 24, 2008

happy Holi

Saturday I visited a Hindu temple with some Indian friends in order to celebrate Holi with them. I was driving around, trying to find the temple when I saw a long line of dark-skinned people in brightly-colored clothing trekking down the sidewalk. So I parked and followed the people who led me to the celebration.

It looked like a cross between a church picnic and a night club. Lots of families with young children, but mostly packed into a huge mob and dancing to the music, driven by good old-fashioned American amps and speakers (probably manufactured in China, though).

Everyone had bags of colored talcum powder that they would throw at others. My hosts were kind enough to warn me to wear old clothing, but they didn't tell me that I was allowed to try to avoid the powder. I thought I had to be a good sport and take it. It turns out that it's actually thought of as something of a prank, and you are supposed to try to avoid it. But there was so much of the powder around, that everyone was well-marked. I made the mistake of sitting down in a group of young children (3 to 5 years) and I was better-marked than most.

The powder washed off easily but I'm told that in India, the kids tend to graduate from easy-to-wash colored powders to dies and ink as the day wears on --especially after everyone have gone home and changed their clothes. They had a green drink called thandai that is often made with marijuana in India, but not here. Apparently, no one wants to try for a religious exception.

Afterwards, we had take-out Indian food, all vegetarian, but I have to admit that I liked it anyway.