One Awkward Holi

I was wondering if you might indulge me for a few moments while I share some photos from my weekend. I mean, honestly, you kind of have to indulge me, this is my party and I’ll take weird colorful bathroom selfies if I want to!

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The thing is, when blogging, I tend to worry alot about what category of the ol’ blogosphere I fall into, what that I don’t cook or craft or parent or do anything of value in any way, and therefore I’m not sure what sorts of content to share. Just funny stories? Lists? Normal day-to-day stuff with a hilarious tone? Nothing at all – um, lately hat does seem the case, whoopsies! So does a somewhat straightforward weekend recap fall into whatever niche I’ve carved out for myself? Not funny enough? Too standard? AH!

I always think the best blogs are where people write 750 word essays about their identity struggles. Ha, jokes. The best blogs, to me, are where writers share a glimpse into their life, whether that life involve baking, child rearing, outfit putting togethering or just stupid story telling with warmth, humor and a great sense of authenticity. So that’s what I’ll do.

Ol’ Ho Bags, reaching new levels of self involvement and neurosis every damn minute.

But you know what? I just really want to tell everyone about this party I went to, because it was the coolest! As I mentioned on Friday, a high school friend of Brian’s, who is Indian (India Indian, not like, Pocahontas Indian) (first vaguely racist comment in the bag, cha-ching!) invited us to join his family for a party in honor of this holiday called Holi which is a Hindu celebration of spring and color.If you want to know more about the historical and cultural significance of this holiday, you can read this Wikipedia page. If you want to know more about ME and how I celebrated this holiday, and why wouldn’t you, juuuust keep scrolling down.

Brian’s mom dropped us off at his friend Saurabh’s parents’ house, like a couplea middle schoolers, and it turned out we were totally early, which was semi-awkward BUT meant we got the freshest color. We took our shoes off at the door and were greeted by our friend Saurabh’s mother, a woman I had never met, rubbing our cheeks with colored powder. They had pushed back their furniture and covered all of the surfaces with plastic, like they were in the midst of a home renovation and in the back yard set up a tent and big tables covered in catered Indian food and tons of booze. Needless to say, I did not stick to my cleanse and I know you don’t want to know but beer + Indian food were maaaaybe not the best things to be pouring down my gullet. IF you know what I mean.

This powder I’m talking about, I still don’t quite know what it was, it was just a beautifully dyed pigment that came in bags simply labeled “Holi Powder.” We were assured it wasn’t poisonous. It tasted icky, like dirt, but not repulsive. They had out huge trays, like this:

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Ignore my socked feet in this professionally staged photograph.

You would just dip your hands and fingers in the powder and rub it all over your pals. Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were looking like this:

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Also, you can’t see it, but we were wearing 100 % matching outfits: white t’s and greyish jeans that were the very exact same shade. This marks like the 4th time in about 2 weeks that we’ve left the house in basically identical ensembles because everyone loves a couple that dresses alike.

Barf.

Other guests started arriving and it became quickly apparent that in addition to being way early, we were also the only non-Indians in attendance and ALSO the only asshats who arrived empty handed. I could die. I asked Saurabh what we should bring his parents and he assured ‘nothing, nothing, just yourself!” and like a fool, I listened, and then stood there, mortified, my pale white skin noticeably reddening as guests poured into the house bearing bottles of wine, wrapped gifts, plates of food and other beautiful hostess gifts. AS THEY SHOULD. This is the second time in under a week I caught myself in this situation. I hope my mom’s not reading this, she’ll be SO ashamed. The weekend prior we had gone to Easter brunch with Brian’s parents and I kept saying I needed to get his mother flowers and Brian kept reassuring me not to worry about it, so I arrived empty handed. His sister’s boyfriend joined us, and he also appeared to arrive giftless, so I thought all was well, but then, a TWIST in the story, as we’re said goodbye after the meal, he dashed to his car and returned with a gigantic fucking PLANT for their mom. Well played, young man, well played.

I could not have this college boy showing me up, so this week I snagged his mom a copy of a book she’d mentioned wanting to read. Point for Liz.

Point quickly lost when I arrived at the Holi party completely empty handed. Let these mistakes be lessons to you all: always bring a hostess gift and never ever listen to boys about gift giving etiquette because they are stupid. Fact.

Another important lesson: never assume that I won’t go off onto one million dumb tangents in the middle of every story because you will be burned.

Where was I?

Oh yes, at the very beginning of the party. How long will this post be?! Let’s fast forward. Blah blah people arrived, food was served, it was delicious, and with each arriving guest, we greeted each other with hellos and swipes of colored powder. For a while, everyone just kind of stood around, catching up, chowing down, like any old family picnic, except they were covered head-to toe in neon powder.

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I found this so endlessly hilarious. Just chatting it up. “How’s the family?” “Catching Mad Men this weekend?” “How bout them Mets?” And they have stuff all over their faces! AAAAH. Ok so it’s hard to fully articulate the humor in this here situation but trust me, it was a side splitter.

As the mood got livelier, the colors started flowing faster and faster, with people just smearing all over each other, sneak attacking from behind, pouring piles of powder on others heads or backs or shoving it in each other’s faces. Important Lesson: when face powdering, go in a downward motion, not upward or you WILL shove purple powder up your friend’s nose and nearly kill him. Just FYI.

Here are a few snaps:

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Me and my twin after a color fight.

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A sneak attack!

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Some gentlemen

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Playing drinking games

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Our host, Saurabh, looking purpley.

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Our writer, looking cheesy.

PS recognize my holey red sweater?

Now it is my HOLI red sweater!! Just thought of that. God I’m good.

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My guy, looking like an extra from Hook.

Also, you can sort of see it in this photo – the colors looked super vibrant on darker skin, but on Brian’s and my pale, milky skin, it sort of dried into a blackish-grey, that mostly made us look like chimney sweeps. A good look.

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An Orange Attack.

20130406_141352A closeup of my crotch because sure, why not.

As you can see, when the color mixed it turned into this sort of poop brown color which is maybe not the cutest. There was this hilarious young girl at the party, maybe 6 years old, and she kept grabbing all of the colors in her hand and mushing them up together to make a “rainbow” which actually looked more like vomit. She’d throw “rainbows” at everyone she met, which was especially and since she was barely waist high, everyone’s midsection was covered in brownish smudges. At one point she grabbed a handful of solid turquoise, reached her arm up and fully went to second base on my left boob, just cupping that color alllll over my ta-ta.

It was both adorable and highly inappropriate.

We played drinking games – I set personal records in both flip cup AND beer pong, a game which I despise for many reasons including the fact that it is gross, boring, shuts down a party because not everyone can play, GROSS, stupid, childish, gross, lame and also: I’m terrible. But not this weekend. I sunk three shots in a row, like a complete pro before bowing out, lest I ruin anything. I need to go back to college, where everyone made fun of me for throwing underhand (float it, Rowengartner) and show them how far I’ve come. I still stand by my flawless opinion that beer pong is the absolute worst, but at least I can now definitively say it is because the game sucks, not me. Because I’m AWESOME.

A stereo system was set up playing traditional Indian music (and several rounds of Gagnam Style, of course!) and everyone danced on the patio, some women in incredibly gorgeous saris, everyone covered in colored powder before the end of the first song. We ate SO much incredible food, at one point I tried to get a fifth helping of paneer and I literally could not fit anything more down my throat: there was no room. Then they brought out a cake, to celebrate Saurabh’s acceptance into grad school, and in the Holi spirit, the cake ended up all  over his already paint streaked face.

20130406_172252That Uncle was the sneakiest. He’d seek out innocent victims when they least expected it and empty bags of Holi color all over their heads. His shirt was white when he arrived.

Juuust kidding.

But mine was and now it is in the garbagio. After the party, Brian’s mom came back and picked us up, and has us wrap in old bath towels before we got in the car. Everyone at the party warned us NOT to wet the powder – water would only make it seep into our skin (“especially your pale skin,” they kept saying), and suggested we use cream or makeup remover. We covered ourselves in cold cream, not before taking one last photo:

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And destroyed half a dozen washcloths wiping ourselves down. All of our clothes were covered in powder, even my bra was streaked purple, pink and blue – Brian’s mom offered to wash throw our things in the laundry and I was like “here’s my bra!” and thaaaat was weird – but for the most part, the colors came right out. These colors do run! My white t shirt was unsalvageable, the bra is still semi-colored (it was one of these, so it really couldn’t get worse) and I accidentally put my holey Holi 100% wool sweater in the dryer so that puppy is officially dead, but otherwise everything was fine! Which means my pants and socks. So actually only 20% of my outfit was fine, the rest was destroyed. But it was worth it!

The bottoms of my feet are black with streaks of pink and blue, from walking around in powder covered socks, and I can NOT for the life of me get the pigment out from under my finger nails. It’s the hot manicure look for spring.

And that, my friends, was my very first Holi. It was amazing. I’m already inviting myself back next year, I hope these people are ready. I”ll bring a gift this time!!

What I would suggest to all of you readers, is to find an Indian person and become their friend. If they don’t like you at first, just wear them down relentlessly until they give in, and be sure they invite you to their Holi party. I don’t normally advocate for racially profiling but in this case, I think it is totally OK to seek out people based entirely on their ethnicity just for the parties. And I am a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize,* so you can trust me.

The end! Thanks for reading this long and rambling post and I hope you learned something about Hinduism and if you did, can you tell me what it is? Because mostly all I took away from this party is that I love pani puri, look good with pink hair and rule at flip cup. AKA: even when experiencing other cultures it really is all about me. Whoops!

Happy Holi & Happy Monday, loves.

xx Liz Ho(li) (Liz Holi!) (!!!!)

* this is a lie. 

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