Holi is a huge holiday. It is a Hindu festival, but it appears that many people other than Hindus celebrate. It is a festival of color. Powdered paint, in a half dozen BRIGHT colors is sold by the truckload, as are squirt guns of all shapes and sizes. People “play Holi” by smearing each other with the powdered paint. Then after a few hours, the squirt guns and water balloons and buckets come out and wet colors start. All the layers of powdered paint become rivers of color, plus a lot of what is squirted and thrown is water with more color in it.
We were invited to a neighborhood Holi party by Dr. Pawan Malohtra, a microbiologist we had met seven years ago, through a mutual friend from Buffalo. He and his wife and two daughters live in West Delhi in Kirti Nagar. “Nagar” means community, and this nagar was a great layout: twenty houses built in a ring around a sizeable park. No space between the houses and no individual yards, but every two or three-story house had front balconies and roof top space that look out on the park. There is only one entrance, and that is gated and guarded, so the kids can play in the park, watched over by all 40 families.
We had a GREAT TIME! The Malohtras are wonderful people, and all of their neighbors welcomed us grandly, especially after they saw that we wanted to paint and be painted with all the rest of them. The throwing of the colors went on from 10 AM til 2 PM (although the grade school aged kids had started around 8 AM). During this time they were also serving snacks and drinks in abundance. Between 2 and 3 PM most people went and had a bath, then reassembled for a buffet dinner.
The top photo is our hostess, Anita, being drowned in pink water by her daughter’s friends. Anita herself was one of the real ringleaders, sneaking up on people and smearing them with paint or dousing them with water. Second picture is of us saying, “You look mahvelous!”
Great day, and a great end to our stay here. There is a symmetry in having come just before Divali and leaving just after Holi, the two biggest Hindu festivals. We are now packing and repacking and tonight (17 March) we get on a plane and fly to Amsterdam. In the morning, we fly to Manchester to visit our great old friends, the Deloughrys. We will be there a week, then back to Amsterdam to resume the flight home on 26 March. So there will still be a few more blogs, but they will be posted from other locations in cyberspace.