Leaving the school for the last time this trip was tough. I found myself crying at my last assembly watching the faces laughing, singing, smiling, dancing.
But new adventures await. Not least getting public transport again. The worst kind of adventure. Stress heaped upon stress. But I got through it and found myself in Ahmedabad – a city not renowned for its tourism or fun loving nature.
I was meeting up with a fire fairy, the French Connection and friends at the National institute for Design where they all study.
The first night I wanted to see the town for myself, before I was cooked delicious French Cuisine, and headed to the old part. In typical Indian style there was a festival going on. A Muslim one this time. People were drumming and dancing themselves into a frenzy and when I joined in with both it got totally out of control. I was being grabbed by everyone and pulled in a million directions. I could feel my clothes tearing and my joints loosening.
This was fun to begin with but as more and more people got involved and breathing became a struggle I started to get scared, my smile fell away and I started to fight. Pushing, shoving, pulling, tugging myself free of their grasp. I saw a window and moved swiftly up a street. The carnival was heading in the opposite direction so I felt I was safe – but no…. the carnival split in two. The people in front of me headed in the direction they originally planned and the half behind me changed and followed the white guy who plays drums like Phil Collins and dances like an angel. Right?
It was like a movie chase scene but at walking pace. I took a few lefts and rights down side street wide enough for just 2 or 3 people and eventually found myself lost but free from the crowd.
The day after I took the toys Angela designs to the slum for a photo shoot. Welcomed into houses for tea, and milking the goat had to be done first but then the shoot began. Awesome!! Check them out!!
That night we danced round a fire with the slum children then students – I, dressed in my white Lungi and Kurta that I’d bought Dad for a pressie, played with the Fire Sticks. I managed within the space of about 3 seconds to set myself alight without noticing!! Angela came running with fear on her face, I had no idea why, and ran into one of the sticks setting her jumper alight. I then realised my naughty bits were getting warm and saw that my lungi was alight!! Rolling in sand and patting helped immensely.
Finally at the end of a chaotic day, that’s quite normal for India one of the boys who’d been drumming came and rubbed a few handfuls on coloured powder onto my head and beard. Holi had begun!!
Sorry Dad – the white Lungi is smoke black with mud on the bum, and the Kurta is pink. Still want it??