What a luxury, today we slept in until 12.30p.m.!!! I didn’t even think it was humanly possible to sleep so late in the day. Even more exciting, today was Holi, the festival of colours. Holi is a popular Indian festival that signifies the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil and is celebrated on a different date each year dependant on the Hindu calendar and the full moon. It is a lot more popular in the north of India, hence why we had left the South to come up to Delhi to celebrate. Eshaan had invited us to a party with one of his friends, but once we realised they weren’t actually playing Holi, we got in touch with Nick and Meetu, Indian experts and all round lifesavers. Within 20 minutes of messaging we were in an uber to a nearby party, for a proper Holi celebration.
Having spent quite some time in India, the two festivals I most wanted to attend were Diwali and Holi. Festival time is a time for friends and family and while there are many Holi celebrations taking place on the streets, I wanted the chance to spend it with close friends, my Indian family. We arrived at the party, dressed all in white and with all of our bags, ready to have a great time. Immediately on arrival, after dropping our bags in the safety of Nick and Meetu’s car, we had our first piece of coloured powder thrown. We were at the house of Nick and Meetu’s good friends, who welcomed us with open arms, not once questioning who the unknown foreigners were. They had a dry colour section, for the dry powdered colours and then some coloured water in buckets with a bunch of water guns, which the kids had a lot of fun with. It was a great family party, with lots of colour, music, dancing and food, but more importantly the chance to catch up with some amazing friends and meet the most beautiful addition to their family – baby Amaya. We also got the chance to meet a lot of other party goers, some of which like us had travelled from around the world to celebrate the festival. After a few hours of lots of fun, and a tiny bit of Bhang, purely for tradition, we made our way to the next party stop.
On the way to the next party we did a little tour of the government section of New Delhi, around India Gate, my old home Connaught Place, and of course the Presidents house. The next party was a lot less family friendly and everyone had clearly been fully embracing the party spirit with a bit too much Bhang. Bhang, is a hash substance that is mixed through lassi (yoghurt drink) or through Indian sweets and during Holi is sold freely everywhere (although, you can get it the rest of the time if you are so inclined so I am told). The idea is that it makes you let go completely and fully embrace the craziness of the festival. The people at this party had clearly taken this to the next level and were stumbling around happily while trying to spit tequila into each other’s mouth… It was fun to see, especially the fancy diplomat house alive with red and orange and pink and every other colour. The cleaning up job the next day would not be fun!
Nick and Meetu invited Halle and I back to theirs to chill for a few hours before we headed to the train station for our overnight train. It was great to shower and drink the best chai I have ever tasted in the comfort of their house, they are such welcoming, lovely people. After showering for quite some time it became apparent that the red colour had stained my skin and so I had to have a warm corn scrub applied to my back to try and get some of the colour of by Amaya’s nanny. This was an interesting experience sitting naked on a stool as the Indian lady who didn’t speak any English laughed at how the red colour was almost impossible to budge. After 30 minutes of scrubbing it was definitely diminished and we called it a day, it eventually came out about 5 days later.
We left our main bags and packed small rucksacks for our short vacation trip to Varanasi. After saying goodbye to Nick, Meetu and Amaya we headed in an uber over to the train station. We got their early, but luckily so did our train so we were able to get our beds made up and everything sorted before any of the other passengers arrived. We travelled in 2AC, which wasn’t really much different from 3AC which I had travelled in before. After the crazy day I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, night trains are the best thing ever!