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Published: March 6th 2010
(Also March 1st -- in Delhi and other places there were big parties, missed that, saw it on TV)
We set out today driving to Naggar for a nice view and maybe on to a Tibetan monastery. Along the way we saw many children with color on their faces, all very excited, running in the streets, spraying color on each other, often just dumping the whole packet of color over the "victim's" head. Of course our driver had explained everything to us ... ha, ha, ha. As we drove along the car was hit by barrages of color fired by small groups of children that would leap out from behind buildings and ambush the car. The kids were having the best time, laughing and giggling, free to spray colors everywhere and on everybody.
At first we saw mainly small children, later there were big groups of older boys and teenagers and then things got a little out of hand. After we had gone about 15 kms we came to a roadblock of stones manned by a group of angry young men. They wouldn't let us pass. They started banging on the car and rocking it back and forth. They
were banging so hard on the windows, I thought they might break them. It was pretty scary. The driver ended up reversing and turning around and we never did reach our destination that day.
I wonder, though, if our driver was just extremely timid -- I bet none of the other cars turned back. It was pretty nasty though, and they seemed to have a lot of anger -- they didn't stop the Indian bus and I think they let the cars with only Indians pass too. Over the course of that day and the next, we were stopped many times by "roadblocks" of young men and boys but nothing like that happened again. We gave them some money or they dabbed some color on our faces and they let us pass. Mostly, they were just a bit rowdy and having a good time. Later we stopped to take a photo and when we got back we found the driver cleaning the car. It didn't do him any good though -- we were bombed with colors all the way back.
He doesn't even understand the word "stop" -- it has to be said loudly two or three times
and be accompanied by vigorous shoulder tapping ... and then, maybe, after half a kilometer or more, he stops. (I had a word with the agency about this when we returned to Delhi and he pointed out that I had said that I wanted a driver that didn't speak English so he wouldn't drive us nuts by talking the whole trip. I seem to remember that I asked for a driver that spoke some English -- not much -- I didn't want a driver that would talk all the time. Well, I don't remember exactly what I did say but you certainly have to be careful about what you say and how you say it.)
So we returned to Manali and went back to Vashisht for some lunch. There they were also celebrating Holi -- but this time only women and girls who were going in and out of the temple, singing, playing drums. We watched them from the balcony of a cafe, overlooking the hot springs and temple, eating chicken momo. While we were walking up a group of girls surrounded us and rubbed many colors on our faces, amid cries of "Happy Holi".
It said in
the newspaper that Holi is March 1. It's February 28 today. So maybe they were just warming up. I get a complimentary newspaper under the door every morning -- so compulsive newspaper reader that I used to be (before the computer took over) -- and being fairly cut off from the computer, I have been reading them from cover to cover. You may be interested to know that on March 1 Venus will be entering Pisces -- as was written in a side panel on the front page of my newspaper. This is actually very good news for Pisces. I read somewhere else that Venus entering Pisces will herald the end of 27 YEARS of bad stars for romance. Well, I have been married for a little over 27 years and I guess that explains everything. BTW, things are going to be a lot better for Pisces now. 27 years? I am glad I only found out at the end!
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