Friday, March 25, 2011

Holi - it isn't so bad...

I understand why some people don’t like Holi, there is always some jerk who takes things too far. Drunken idiots on bikes, people throwing dirty water and eggs, I saw one guy pull out a huge kukri when his wife got hit by a water balloon. It’s really shit to deliberately harm others.

 I was lucky I had three protectors on Holi: Mero Budda, Baabu and the barber from our street.  I tried to get some good pictures but it was impossible to take my big DS-90 out without it getting wet. These photos are from my Olympus Tough. It takes terrible photos but it will not break!

Saturday morning some friends joined us and we formed a defensive gang to take on the kids in our street. We armed ourselves with bottles of water, a few water balloons, and color. We wandered up Puknajol, chatting with our neighbors and teasing their kids. 

People started to get a bit rough so we advanced into Thamel where things were friendlier. Goras and Nepalis danced and sang in the street. Everyone exchanged colors. We were crazed, painted, wet and covered in eggs. It was a beautiful morning and we were the kings of Thamel… until the Cops turned up and shut the whole glorious thing down.  With a waving of sticks and some pushing they sent us back to our hotels and homes.

We stopped for a drink (tinta pepsi,yota Miranda) and everyone lost their enthusiasm. Our wet clothes were cold, the egg in our hair started to smell and I realized I looked like I had a beard with black paint covering half my face.  It was time for a shower so we headed back.

By the afternoon Pucknajowl had changed from a fun community festial to a feirce gauntlet. Tall buildings line both sides of the street and kids and old ladies were perched on roofs and balconies with buckets of water. Young boys on bikes in the main chowk bristled with hostility and brandished eggs. We were reduced to a scrambling pack and made a sprint for home. Six grown adults against children, old women and some teenagers… I am not sure who won but there were casualties on both sides.

It was time and we broke up the crew, Baabu went home to his mum, the Barber headed off in search of more colors and kids to cover and we lazily climbed into bed and shared some ice-cream.

1 comment:

  1. Hi love the blog, really enjoy living vicariously through your beautiful photos. Funnily enough paknajol is where I call home when Im in nepal, the year I was there during holi it seemed as though ALL of paknajol had come to our house to smear red powder on my face, in the photos I look so uterly miserable. Not my favourite time of year, it if was just one day it would be okay but the week leading up to it I seemed to be constantly dodgeing water bombs and horror of all horrors plastic bags filled with motor oil. The last time I went to nepal in march I made sure I left well before Holi started.