Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cairo Celebrates holi

Written by my friend Anju and pictures by her husband Anil (we were too scared to take our cameras) :)

Marking the beginning of a warm spring, the Indian community in Cairo celebrated the festival of colors on an exceptionally merry note, on Friday 21st March. Colors, music and spirits.. created enough mayhem to attract quite a crowd to the venue, by the Nile. In spite of the long weekend coinciding with a public holiday, the Chancery gardens in Zamalek, saw quite a bit of action.

Stomping to a Himesh Reshamiya was a young and not-so-young crowd, drenched in colored water. Chasing one another with splashes of color were the youngest of the lot. There may have been no ‘tandaai’ to pep up the spirit of the festivity but going by the crowds that sang along to the “rang barase..” track from Silsila, there was no reason for tandaai. A few Egyptians attempted to shake a leg or two, but finally gave up in pursuit of the food counter.

As the afternoon wore on things had gotten so warmed up, people resorted to dousing each other with bottles of cold water. Might not be such a bad idea to offer ‘chaas’ and ‘lassi’ on the drinks menu. Hot parathas and biriyani stalls courtesy Kaval’s Masala proved a great attraction for the visitors, both Indians and other expats. A very green looking couple was spotted under the tree relishing the juicy jalebis.

“What kind of a festival gets people to drink from mid morning ..?” one very bewildered Egyptian was heard enquiring. Casualties were reported later, when one of the revelers with purple face and pink hair, while taking the stairs to his flat startled a woman causing a security alert. Another bunch of Jamaicans heard of the party and turned up at the gates at 11 pm, instead of 11 am !

As the party wound to late afternoon, Harish, selling the entry tickets was beaming with success, “we got more than 250 people in today.. !” Coming to think of it.. it was not the numbers that mattered. Every one had a blast, including one of the oldest members of the community Jan. Isnt that what Holi is all about.. ??

By Anjana Das

Photos by Anil Jayachandran

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