Happy Holi

Looking around me, I see that all of India moved to Northern California, specifically Cardoza Park in Milpitas. I don’t know how they did it, but Indians are enterprising that way. They figure it out and get it done.

It’s Saturday; and today is Holi, a festival that typically ushers in the beginning of spring. It is also known as the Festival of Colours or the Festival of Love.  This is a celebration I could really get into. Depending upon what part of India or Nepal the celebration took place, it took various forms. There’s colour. There’s music. There’s dancing. There’s water guns. There’s eating. There’s fun. It’s like a rainbow of colours and sound.

I was meeting my cousin and her family; and I was very happy to see all of them: her, her hubby, her two kiddies and her dad, my dad’s eldest brother.  And so there I was getting doused in powdered colour, with cries of “happy Holi” and Bhangra beats accompanying the crowd full of dancing.

After being doused with colour, I was hungry, and left my group to find food. I waited in line for thirty minutes lost in my world of selfies and writing this very post. I didn’t notice the drama unfolding ahead and beside me.

“It’s not fair!”
“They are not in line!”
“Take control of the line, man!”fair!”
Again… “They are not in line!”

Indians can go from thrill to kill in less than five seconds flat. Sometimes I think they love the joy of yelling. If I had spent the majority of my life in a country of one billion people, I guess I wouldn’t blame them. My feeling is that there exists this fear that there won’t be enough and that the stranger next to them in line will always get the last bit of what they were in line for in the first place. And so they resort to methods that ensure they’ll get theirs. I didn’t notice till later that several people had skirted the line to order food. In fact the woman who had told me the vegetable biriyani was over immediately thereafter cut in front of everyone, in her mind ensuring that if she was wrong, she’d get the last bit of biriyani left before she turned out to be right. And so she did; she got her biriyani. That’s the Indian way. You’ve got to fend for yourself and get what’s yours. No one is going to get it for you. But this was a group of respectable families with nice children. And they indeed were that; yet, get the masses together in one place, tempers are bound to flare. Despite all the tension, I had to give it to those who did not wait in line and got theirs. “I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.” I just smiled (hoping there was still some chicken biriyani left… and of course there was), thinking back to last summer (and other times when I had visited India) when this very thing would have pissed me off, but now it only reminded me of an amazing three weeks in India last summer.

And so I walked over to a park bench and ate my chicken biriyani. It was amazing. I love the food trucks in the Bay Area! Behind me, kids were playing. They were so darn cute, caked in colour and so very happy, they all jubilantly screamed “More colour! More colour!” in their tight Indian accents.

It was not long before I rejoined my family and their friends again. We made our way down into the pit, where everyone was dancing. (I had flashbacks popping into my head of a night at the 930 Club in DC when I joined my closest friend from high school in a mosh pit at a Rage Against the Machine concert. I almost didn’t survive that weekend, but that’s a story for another time. I was fairly confident this wouldn’t turn into that.) I was in the middle of everyone dancing. They were so happy, rainbows all around us. I was so happy.

For a few hours this afternoon, I felt that I was in India again; and in my mind, I relived last summer. That’s just the way Holi is, a celebration of light, of good triumphing over evil, all in the name of a good time.

And so I bid you, “Happy Holi from me to you… I’ll be back again next year.”

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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