Being denied transportation to our wanted destination by autos (rickshaws) to a holiday celebration of huge burning evil spirit replicas… (Yes, fire does fascinate us) we were instead consumed by a parade that flooded past our hotel.
They came just in time, as most of us were ready to go back into the hotel and call our plan a failure. We were welcomed first with bananas and flower leis. As we traveled further into the streets of New Friends Colony (our sector of New Delhi) we were bombarded with the question, “One, please?” as new strange faces stared and pointed at their phone and cameras. Posing for pictures with slightly painted smiles on, chaos quickly broke out.
Red powder started flying everywhere and at everyone. Passerbys snuck red powder into our hands as they slid through the crowd. Not exactly sure what began to happen, red powder stung our eyes as we slapped hand prints on each other’s cheeks. Laughter cascaded into the once quiet neighborhood as drums, trucks, and people danced through the cleared road. More pictures were taken, more red powder was thrown, and more bananas were handed out. We were lost in our own thoughts and carefree movements as we began to be summoned onto the trucks; climbing up with police officers as our spotters.
Then the chaos stopped. Shouts for us, Americans, to jump off the trucks and stop in our track were scattered over the sea of noise. As soon as the message was heard and understood, two feet at a time landed on the concrete below. We were left in the dust of the drums, trucks, and people who danced. Unsure what had just happened, we snuck in our own pictures of the aftermath before heading home. Even though we all looked like psychopaths, who were covered in bloody red smears with bright smiles pasted to our faces we walked away with just receiving our own personal “Welcome to India” celebration.
Post by: Group Leaders: Michelle C., Dana, and Justin