Day 2: Delhi — Holi

Holi (i.e. “Festival of Colors”) was today. I had no expectations; however, I expected that I would no longer be brown but a mix of a dozen different colors. The premise of Holi is to throw colors (i.e. different color powder) on everyone you are celebrating with — young or old it makes no difference.
We traveled to a farm in Delhi to celebrate Holi with Dinkar’s family friends. On the way to the farm, I saw that  no one or thing — children, adults, elderly, cats/dogs, cars — is safe and no one can hide from the wrath of Holi. We arrived at the farm around 2 hours late: perfect timing, the party was just getting started. Family friends came to great us — surprisingly, they put color on us quite gently. The first couple introductions, I put my hand out to shake hands with Dinkar’s family friends, but I was received with a moment of slight awkwardness until we hugged.

The war began soon thereafter, little children were thew colored powder — deep greens, bright yellows, royal reds — and then ran away. In similar fashion, I found whatever colors were laying around and began the attack. Within 15 minutes, My pants and shirt looked like a tie-die shirt and my face looked similar.

Soon the real violent Holi began, a group of Green Monsters joined the party. But, they did not come in peace. Within minutes they had knocked off person-by-person, rubbing industrial-strength and semi-permanent (more likely permanent) green powder on to non-Green faces and arms. Within minutes the gang of Green Monsters had doubled, and I had streered clear and safe by standing by old Aunties. Unfortunately, word had spread through the grape vine that there was a newbie — me, an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) or more appropriately, a Canadian-Born- and American-Raised- Confused-Desi — that had never celebrated Holi. I was surrounded and minutes later, I became one of them carrying out similar terror.

After the fights were over, we had some chaat and played some cricket. After a couple overs, I was up at bat — I am not too sure if that is the right way to say it, but thats how I thought of it. I stepped in front of the wickets, and held the bat like a baseball bat. I soon realized, that I understood the rules, but didn’t pay attention to how the bat was held. Clearly, I made somewhat of a fool of myself but after a couple runs, I  got the hang of it.


In the evening, I spent time with best-friends sister, an Editor of The Mint, her husband, an artist, and their three-year old daughter, the cutest kid ever (she just would not stop laughing) — they had just moved to India a year ago. I arrived at their apartment, that looked like a swanky New York apartment: marble floors, marble counter-tops, and contemporary furniture.

We went to Cahn Market, the most-expensive commercial real-estate in Delhi, for dinner. We had our dinners at two restaurants (we were hungry?): The Kitchen, a Thai Restaurant; and the Big Chill, an American restaurant, started by an American couple. Rather than feeling like I was in India, I felt like I was out on a Saturday evening in NYC…

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