Valerie Hohman
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Revenge on Holi

February 28, 2010 @ 3:51 AM | Permalink


"Hee, hee, hee....I'll show them," I chuckle to myself as I sit on my porch this morning, pumping balloons full of water.

Tis the day before Holi, the spring festival of colors in India, and I have become a target for every zealous Indian child with access to a hand pump and water balloons, or simply a bucket of water.

On the days leading up to Holi, unsuspecting pedestrians are in danger of being pelted with water balloons launched from several stories above.

Naturally, children love nothing more than to nail a foreigner. 

On my way to Hindi class on Wednesday, already in a foul mood, I was startled when a bucket of water landed on my head.  The homework I had hastily finished in the Rickshaw on my way to class was soaked through, the ink running on the page.  My neatly straightened hair was a straggly mess.  When I looked up, the perpetrators were nowhere in sight.

On the day of Holi itself, people celebrate by violently slathering your face with brightly colored powders, often inadvertently sticking their fingers up your nose.

I experienced my first Holi in Kathmadu, Nepal, where I was a assaulted by a pack of Nepali boys as I was walking home.  I remember with a shiver the first inky-blue water balloon cracking against my back, ruining forever the one nice shirt I had brought with me on the trip.

This year, I am resolved to defend myself and am stockpiling an arsenal.

I am discovering the joy, from my the security of my third floor balcony, of reverting to childhood and casting grenades at unsuspecting targets on the street.

I don't think the kids have realized yet that the white girl upstairs is responsible for the assault.

Heaven help me when they do!


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