Monday, March 20, 2006

phagwah chowtal

A chowtal group from Montrose performs at the Phagwah celebrations at Aranjuez Savannah, Sunday 19 March, 2006

Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Aranjuez with Georgia and Jonathan to join in the Phagwah (or Holi, as it's known elsewhere) celebrations there. I'd like to write a short, ruminative essay about the experience: our arrival, dressed in pristine white; our discovery that we'd missed a bee attack; the nice man who gave us our first dousing with abeer, then handed us bottles of the purple liquid and bags of powdered dye so we could join in the fun; the nice woman who in a matter-of-fact, motherly way smeared my face with green; the young scallywags who took every opportunity to soak us long after we were purple from head to foot; the small chowtal groups who performed, followed by a dance troupe who did a couple of Bollywood numbers (I kept hoping they'd play Babla and Kanchan's Hindi version of "Hot Hot Hot", just to close the circle and complete the New World experience); the friendly special attention everyone seemed to pay us, as though they didn't want us "strangers" to feel left out in any way; the young man who was sprinkling everyone with talcum powder, just like a Carnival fancy sailor; my longing for a pichakaree, the tubular device you use to squirt abeer on people; and ending with our departure, brightly stained and all but indistinguishable from everyone else in the crowd, a nice little allegory of--something or other.

But offline deadlines and distractions continue to mount, so the above summary will have to suffice, plus a small selection of photos here (I had my camera in a Ziploc bag most of the time, for the obvious reason). Attillah's also posted some photos, from the celebrations at the Nagar site in central Trinidad (start here and move backwards), and Georgia's posted photos of her dye-stained fingers after the event.

Say what:

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