Biryani. Taj Mahal. 5-6. Mahatma Gandhi. Roti Prata. Vishnu. Ranbir Kapoor. Curry. 3 Idiots. Samosa. Raj Koothrappali. And probably your IT manager.
Now tell me what came into your mind. India? Of course, India! What else could it be?
Another thing that came from the land of the infinite variety is Holi. It is a Hindu festival celebrated all through India and in some parts of Nepal for the coming of spring and the ending of winter; for the victory of good over evil. For non-Hindus, it is a holiday treated like Christmas or Thanksgiving sprinkled with colorful powders and danced with groovy dhol beats.
All thanks to the cultural diffusion that the Holi Festival has spread out across the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. It even inspired some modern event like those famous color runs.
See how happy these people are? That is how blissful I am, too, when I attended the festival a few weeks ago. I am supposed to blog this right after the event but I am quite busy at work…and…ahhh…hehehehe…my pamily…and….the backend of this blog. Just so you know, I migrated this to a new platform…did the coding and stuff, I had a limited time to write. *Reasons!!!*
Anyway, let me tell you more about my first Holi experience.
It was around noon on March 12, 2017, when a friend invited me to an event that will be happening within 3 hours at SM by the Bay, Pasay City. Usually, my Sundays are treated as the holy lazy day/family day so normally the answer would be a ‘no,’ but when she mentioned that it is something about ‘India,’ I offered myself with all its entirety. Hello, Spontaneous Sunday.
My fascination with Indian culture has started during my early college days, the time where I thought I do not have enough time to study but surprisingly finished a lavish amount of torrent-downloaded films, of all kinds and origins -one of which are from Hindi cinema (e.g. Bollywood).
I believe that one of the most convenient representations of a culture is through a film. Within 180 minutes (the average duration of an Indian movie) of pure entertainment, plus those song-and-dance portions of the movie will give you a distinct taste of India’s rich civilization.
Obviously, my right hand with the event wristband. I have no idea what the setup would look like since I am an ultimate Holi noob. Upon arriving at the venue, I looked for my friend, bought the ticket, and together we went past through the metal barriers guarded by Sanjay Singhania-built bouncers.
I felt like I was transported to a temple in Jaipur as we entered the place. There was a stage with a DJ playing remixed Indian songs (though I heard Psy’s Gangnam Style a couple of times, weird). On the ground, the crowd was dancing and throwing colorful powder in the air; some were smearing it to the people next to them -be it a friend or a stranger.
The 250 pesos entrance fee came with a pack of Holi powder, a traditional henna tattoo, photo booth, and 5 hours of fun-filled Holi experience. We weren’t able to get a henna tattoo due to a long queue, though. So we’ve just decided to join the flock of people to party. (You would rarely see me dance because I am shy AF). But that time, I let loose of my social anxiety and together with my two left feet, showcased a Kareena Kapoor’s Zoobi Doobi dance moves.
This is a picture of me and my new Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese friends! (Except for the one in the middle, she’s the one who invited me to the event). But still… a yey! Virtual self-five, my introvert self! This is an achievement, really.
The other lovely girls, by the way, were introduced to me by this old friend whom she met through a CouchSurfing event in Makati. They were expats working here in the Philippines, fighting homesickness by immersing themselves into our culture and taking part in events as such.
The photo was taken by Pan Pan Li of 2panpan.com whom I met at the event as well.
Past 7 PM when we’ve decided to leave the place. It was indeed, a great Indian fix. And I hope one day, I’d be able to experience this with full authenticity…at a temple in Mathura & Vrindavan or in Udaipur. Well, let’s see.
Down below is a short video snippet I took from the event just so you could picture out how fun it was.
Holi Manila 2017 is an annual event organized and sponsored by the Asia Society Philippines, Embassy of India, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, SingIndia Music of the Soul, Indian Ladies Club, and SM By the Bay.