Sunday, March 7, 2010

Holi and Dhuleti festival

In the week leading up to March 1, the Pushpavan apartment complex where we live started revving up Holi fever.  Holi (pronounced just like our work “holy” as in the Holy Ghost) is the celebration of the end of winter and start of spring.  Even though, it has felt more like spring ever since we arrived in January, for the locals here, any temperature under 90 degrees is cause to wear a sweater and ear muffs.  Not kidding.  I’ve been wanting to capture a photo of our boys in shorts next to someone covered up in several layers, but never had the chance yet.

Anyway, here at Pushpavan apartments, the kids have been having water fights every evening for a week.  We missed many days of this due to our vacation in Goa (Goa post coming soon).  The security in the complex didn’t allow the water fights to start until 6pm, probably to keep the rucus down to a low roar out of respect for other residents…probably a good thing, since the neighbor kids can get a little out of control and aggressive.  Everyone participating gets completely soaked.

Sunday was the 1st day of Holi.  This was the day we returned from Goa.  On the way from the airport, we noticed many piles of wood in the middle of the streets for bonfires later that night.  The simplified meaning of the bonfires is to drive away evil spirits and overcome obstacles.

So, Monday, if you read my previous post, was an example of missed opportunity and miscommunication.  That post came from not being able to fall asleep and needing to write out my frustrations.

Sunday, when we returned from Goa, there was a posting on the apartment bulletin board, stating that there were Dhuleti festivities in the complex starting at 9:15 am continuing until lunch to be served at 1:30pm.  I assumed, wrongly, that the festivities would be all morning, then.  We were called by the airline to tell us that Ian had left one of his books on the airplane.  The driver was available to take us in the morning at 10am.  I thought that this would be OK to do and we would only miss part of the festivities.  Well, we actually missed everything accept for 10 minutes.  How was I to know?  Holi was on March 1st…I thought that it was an all day event, and, in addition, Pushpavan was celebrating in the morning.  When I asked neighbor women in the complex here, they confirmed, “Yes, Holi is all day on Monday.”  Their meaning and my meaning was obviously different.  Well, when we returned from the airport at 11am, the garage area was completely deserted.  All festivities were over.  The boys were completely broken-hearted.  They had been looking forward to participating in the fun all week.  I felt very responsible.

I managed to salvage a little bit of fun with a family water balloon fight in the courtyard.  We lugged about 40 filled balloons down to the courtyard in the evening…it lasted about 5 minutes, but we had fun.


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