3/10/2009 to 3/13/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Holi in Varanasi

I found myself in Varanasi for Holi the North Indian festival celebrated by the throwing dye and colored water.  It is also an excuse for young sexually repressed Indian males to drink and walk the streets in marauding mobs fueled by alcohol and armed with colored water creating a high instance of sexual attacks during the holiday.  As a result, many of the guesthouses in Varanasi, including mine, locked their doors during Holi to “protect” their guests.  Not being a female and certain I could take care of myself, I wanted to go out and witness the carnage so I put on my most worn cloths (yes, that means they were very worn), placed my camera in my waterproof backpack, and climbed over the wall to escape into the madness that is Holi. A foreigner walking the streets is everyone’s favorite target so it didn’t take long before I was covered in dye.  It also didn’t take long before a mischievous kid seeing a small hole in the rear of my pants ripped it larger.  A drunken youth then further ripped it exposing my left ass cheek.  Locked out of my guesthouse of another 5 hours I decided it was better to shirtless rather than “chap less” like I had just been marching in a certain San Francisco parade.  I tied my t-shirt around my waste and continued my exploration.  By noon the dye throwing stops as everyone congregates along the ghats to scrub themselves clean in the Ganges, I waited for the shower in the guesthouse.  An hour of scrubbing in the shower and I was mostly color free though my hair would have a pinkish tint for a few more weeks.

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