Full Moon Hash and HOLI!

Trip Start May 11, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  , Andhra Pradesh,
Friday, March 6, 2009

I came back to Hyderabad because Aditi told me it was best to celebrate the Hindu festival Holi with friends.  Since this is the only place in India where I know people I thought this was a good idea.   I arrived a week before Holi because I wanted to hit up the night-life because last time was so much fun. 

      Since I had a lot of time I was able to run with the Hyderabad Hash Hash Harriers. Once again I made a couple of calls and BLAM!  I had a ride to the hash...   This was a good thing because the start was in the middle of nowhere!  The trail went through the desert/shiggy and at one point we had a couple of bored security guards running with us while other security guards showed us the way.... Weird... but then again the trails here are not live...  During circle we had herds of goats running past us with confused Indian herders wondering why the hell we would choose to run there.    The full moon was in 2 days and  the hash decided to have a full moon run.   It just so happened that they needed hares and the location was close to where I was staying.....  so I volunteered!
       Long story short, after 2 days of extensive scouting ( I had to work harder at scouting since I didn't know the area) I settled on a route with runner a walker split.  There was a bit more pressure since I was the new guy and I would be laying it live.  I layed the trail through a slum and then through a Hindu grave yard (during a full moon) I thought that was nice touch (I'm still patting myself on the back for that one)   I ended up running my trail 8 times before it was all said and done!  The trail was a success and I ended being the GM/RA for the circle.  Since the next day was Holi we had a bon-fire and a nice civilized color fight.
     Now to finally explain what Holi is.....Wikipedia style.....
Holi, also called the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal, and countries with large Hindu populations. The main day, Holi  is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (death of Holika) The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad had when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion.   Now you are educated!   The night of the full moon hash there were bonfires burning all over the city....I would have loved to take photos but I was being chased!  

    The next day was Holi.  I had been told that whatever I wore would be stained forever so I chose my outfit accordingly.  The moment I stepped out of Aditi's house we encountered roaming bands of color smeared youths.  Of course I expected to get nailed because I was clean and wearing white. The mob locked onto us like heat seeking missiles.... After getting a light smattering of color we caught an auto-rickshaw to an actual Holi venue.

     As always, Aditi knew where the best party was.  She took me to a  place where everything was free!  Free beer, free red bull, free food, free bhang (cannabis and milk which is legal because its part of the Hindu culture) and of course free colored powered.  Once again the moment we walked through the entry we were decimated!  This outside venue had huge bowls of color that were continuously refilled, a thumping dance floor with red water raining down (kinda like Blade 2 ) and did I mention open bar?   The rest of the day is blur of color fights, water fights and good of fashioned debauchery
      A long time ago the colored powder use to be made of natural vegetable dyes that would wash out.  Now (to save money) the powders are made with cheap chemicals that are known to be toxic! Renal failure, contact dermatitis, eye allergy, temporary blindness, asthma, skin diseases, and asbestos poisoning are all possible side effects.  The only effect that I noticed was the staining!  My hair has been hot pink ever since and my face and legs still have traces of pink on them.  At least I'm not alone....as I caught the train the next day to Chennai I noticed many people with the same condition!
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