Friday, March 05, 2004


Today Bindi and I went to the pool at the posh Southern Star Hotel -- my first time there, ever -- and, surprisingly, it wasn't at all like junior high . The Real Hanuman was there to greet us and it was shady and tre laid back (no one stared or clicked their tongues; not sure about wagging) and we didn't have to pay the Rs 150 or whatever the cover is, because we didn't actually swim. We met Jammu & Kasmir (both have black bikinis, the first choice among the tre discerning students of Pattabhi Jois) because the latter graciously volunteered to teach us how to crochet (quick -- phone my stepmother). We're working on winter caps.

Tomorrow is Holi, a spring full (or do you say fool) moon festival in which young people throw colored powder and water on each other - and the colors here are bright. Very, very bright -- and often toxic (according to the paper, people have actually been blinded by the brights). I 've done research and I'm still not sure what it's all about but it's kind of like Hindu Easter or whatever -- an end-of-winter spring solstice fertility letting-off-steam kind of thing that may or may not have something to do with some gods; last time around I was told several different stories about its origin and none made much sense (see below). I remember that my Catholic Indian Man friend from up north (who's AWOL) wouldn't take out his white car on Holi, for fear it'd be splattered by young goondas.....What it all means to us as cats is that we are supposed to wear yucky clothes so it doesn't matter if we get colors thrown on us (men here also use the game as a gateway to Eve-teasing, or groping). I have some outfits from my last trip that I wore every other day -- no wonder I made so few friends! -- and wouldn't mind releasing from my grasp forever (purple top w/ the mirrors, anyone?); Bindi plans on wearing white, to enhance what she already has. Chances are good we'll be ignored but it's India isn't it and you just never know, do you.


SOME AMUSING BACKGROUND INFO ON HOLI (italics and boldface are mine) from the web site

(BTW, I am thinking of legally changing my name to Holi Putana -- not only because it sounds Indian AND like a Russ Meyer antihero, but it has some nasty connotations en espanol as well).

Legends of Holi [the third one is positively pricele$$]:

Holika was an aunt of a boy named Prahlad , who died in the fire arguing against her king brother Hiranyakashipu who had declared himself as God. In her honor, an effigy of Holika is burnt in a bonfire in some parts of India.

Holi was also the day when Kama , the God of Love disturbed Lord Shiva's meditation and was burnt down by Shiva. An effigy of Kama is burnt in some parts of India on the day of the Holi festival.

Holi was also the name of a female demon Putana who tried to kill boy Krishna, by giving him her poisoned nipples to suckle. The miracle boy Krishna is said to have sucked so intensely that he drained the demon of her life. Hence the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura.


On the day of the Holi, people (men and women) irrespective of caste and creed mingle together and exchange colors. The celebrations can get wild and rowdy -- it is one of the few occasions of the year that the sexes are allowed to mix freely. People use tools and tricks to spray, paint and drown friends and relatives in color.....

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