Sunday, February 28, 2010

Coloring Faces

Hi there...bilis talaga ng araw...Marso na agad...once again the heat of summer in the Philippines is starting to toast everyone's skin my wife complains. Meanwhile here in Malaysia the weather has its daily mood swings instead. The rain is like a fireman stepping into the action every time the heat of the day scales up to an annoying level. It's not like the Philippines where we have extreme spells of heat and rain in seasons. Kumbaga when you sweat it rains and when it rains it floods. Hahaha!

March and April in India are months when they celebrate Holi the Festival of Colors. I just want to share my personal anecdote when I worked there two years back. So perhaps you can go over the wikipedia site and check out the cultural background of this festive annual occasion: HOLI

There was this big national festival they call Holi or “Festival of Colors” which they celebrated on the same date as our Black Saturday last March (year 2008). A week before that, one of my colleagues warned me to keep out of the streets that day because children will be all over the place making fun and spraying some sort of liquid using toy pumps on unwary victims. I didn’t pay much attention to that warning. Besides, I thought where’s the harm in getting wet with that liquid anyway when we also have a similar dousing “San Juan” festival. When that day came, I just got back from biking around what used to be a chaotic downtown-turned-ghost-town that morning when one of our IT guys came up to me and said “Loy, why don’t you join the party we’re getting started at the garden?” So I said, “Why not?” when I actually meant to say was “Ok now this is another beginning of the assimilation process!” I then excused myself for awhile to leave my shopping bag in the house and soon we went to the garden together. The moment I stepped on the lawn, everybody welcomed me, our President included, each queuing up and greeting me Happy Holi. It was reminiscent of those fraternity inductions so similarly that I thought I was passing through the ritual gauntlet but of course minus the paddles and crowbars. Instead each one was carrying a bag of stuff which at first I had no idea whatsoever until I felt that my face and hair were being showered and smudged with this powder in various neon colors. The next thing was they also gave me a bag of that colorful stuff, yellow this time, insinuating me “to get even”. A mischief I also did to the others with style. After that, we gathered around in a circle seated in lotus position, laughed and sang kindergarten Hindi songs (not me), smudged color at each other’s faces, exchanged “Happy Holi” greetings, behaved like children, etc etc. In parting, we took pictures of our group for posterity and for my part in Indian culture. That colored powder was really good for undercover makeup. My wife was forced to use a magnifying glass to identify me in those photos. And I was forced to do multiple washings to remove them off my clothes and skin.

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