Holi, the very popular annual Hindu Spring festival was celebrated at Manzanita Park this last Saturday with lots of colors, water and some mud as well! Holi marks the onset of spring in India. So why is Holi celebrated?? Well there are various stories in ancient Hindu texts but the three most important reasons can be found here.
But on campus the Hindu Students Council had really done a good job of guaranteeing a good party sans alcohol! People smeared each other with colored powders (gulal) and threw water on each other. Of course as the party progressed, puddles formed on the ground, much to the enjoyment of everyone. In fact the moment I entered the park, a gang of 5 caught hold of me and dragged me into the mud and smeared it all over me! That was my initiation into the Holi celebrations. People then started sliding in the mud which by then had become so slippery - it was difficult to even walk without slipping. The desi music was loud and the DJ was good, people danced to popular Holi numbers like "O Rang Barse" and various others. It was nice to see people from various countries and faiths participate with equal zest. But one thing that was missing was Bhaang (Cannabis sativa)! This is a herb which causes people to laugh a lot! Believe me, drink a litre of it and you wont stop laughing till the evening. In India, Bhaag is mixed with milk and served as something called 'thandai'. Last year on Holi (I was in India then), i just couldnt stop consuming it and I was out for 2 days, in fact I went beyond laughing, I was so high - I couldnt come down for the next two days. And unlike, alcohol, the high of bhaang is sticky, no coffee, no cold shower will ever help you!
Back to the Holi on campus - so after people were done with the Holi on Manzanita Park, it was time to wash themselves - and Stanford with its many fountains provided the perfect second round. A few good men (and women) who remained after the official party, then walked over to the Red Hoop fountain! Everyone jumped in and tried to create a whirlpool inside it. Next on the cards was the Claw Fountain - again - whirlpool. After this we all walked down to the Tanner Fountain in front of the Hoover Tower. On the way, we met a bunch of tourists looking at us semi-clad, almost cavemen like people strutting down white plaza. To one of the bewildered souls I said - "Welcome to Stanford!".
So, colors, water, mud, fountain hopping were what Holi 2007 was all about at Stanford. If you think you missed one helluva party, there is another Holi going to take place on the 25th here on campus. That is going to be a bigger party!