Last night Aaron and I showed the larger community of Pune that, though we may have yet to perfect our Bollywood dance moves, we can sure still have a grand old time.
We were hanging out in our flat, eating jars of nutella and musing over the fact that we have 54 mysterious electrical switches to our names. Then, we heard a commotion outside. This isn’t something out of the ordinary (all night long one can hear a chorus of dog fights, musical bus horns and screeching tires on the streets), but it was the music that was blaring that caught our attention. Last night marked the final night of the Ganesh Festival and, as we looked from our terrace to the street below, we realized that celebrations were about to kick up in full swing. We could see kids, their limbs glowing with florescent pink pigment, dancing in front of a truck that was carrying a giant Ganesh statue. The group started migrating down the road.
Hmm… This seemed too good to pass up.
Aaron! Grab your house chappals! LET’S GOOO!
We ran back through the flat, grabbed our cameras, threw on our shoes and flew down all 136 stairs to the ground floor. The parade was just waltzing by.
I figured if I could just get one good photo…
I weasled my way into the midst of the crowd which consisted of a bunch of boys no older than 14. At the sight of my wrist wrapped around my camera they started hamming it up. Let me tell you…the Jersey Shore isn’t the only place in this big wide world where they booty shake and fist pump. One of them grabbed my hand and pulled me in.
(And this is the part where remind you that my dance skills peak with the worm, the occasional robot, and maybe even the Macarena if you find me on a good day.) Ehh… I hesitated for a sec. It’s taboo for women here to dance with men, so who I am to go and —
Then I got sneaked attacked with three fistfuls of pigment. Pink clouds burst off of my head and torso. Like a gymnasts hands clapped in chalk, powdery palms ran across my cheeks. I could taste the talc on my tongue and feel the grit between my teeth. Well, I can play this game too.
So we danced.
For the next few hours Aaron and I sashayed and boogied our way down the road in the rain, learning tricks from old Indian aunties and locking arms children half our size. They twirled us, they cheered and definitely laughed at our awkward limbs that couldn’t quite catch the rhythm of the beat.
It was dark by the time the procession ended in the slum. Here, on the banks of the river, the painted Ganesh was blessed with fire and marched down to the water where it was sunk. Indian sweets were passed out by the fistful which I then broke apart and gave to the kids who had come out to play.
We walked home in the rain, technicolored and happy.
Of course we’d end up in a partying our night away in a pink parade! Stuff like this just seems to happen here in India. 🙂