Happy Birthday, Holi and the Holy Man: Tala, Madya Pradesh, India

3 Apr

I’ll keep this post mercifully short to make up for the long windedness of my previous ‘tigers of Bandhavgarh’ blog. Other highlights of the week in Tala included celebrating my birthday with cake and candles and Indian dancing after dinner. I’d asked Mun Mun and Mahi to teach me some Bollywood choreography and they obliged. Mun Mun knows all the lyrics to the songs.   


And as luck would have it our stay at Skay’s Camp fell during Holi Festival so we were able to participate in this most playful of Indian full moon festivals. Kay warned us not to go on the main street on Holi day itself as we’d be colour bombed and there’d be a lot of drunkenness so I played Holi with Sonu and her daughters in the garden quite sedately, but it was still fun. Mahi and Mun Mun giggled as they coloured my face, arms and feet. Even the girls’ puppy, Julie, got pinked. The interpretation of Holi changes wherever you are in India but the common thread is to cut loose and transgress by making a mess. It’s especially satisfying if you can colour someone you usually have to be respectful of, such as an elder (like me ;-)). 


I did peek beyond the compound’s gate when I heard drumming. The boys playing Holi in the house next door were very keen for me to take their photos so I obliged. 


On the day the park was closed for Holi (a day later than actually celebrated, such is Indian bureucracy) we drove with the Spanish group to a temple 10k from Tala. Arriving at 7:30am we happened on the main priest still preparing to face the day. He blessed those who wished to participate and knotted a saffron-coloured thread around their wrist. I had the impression he is a contented, chilled out dude. Certainly he’s not stepping down from the top job in a hurry. The lovely young priests-in-waiting who were doing the other temple tasks will be waiting a long while before one of them fills his flip flops.
The priest let us take photos and was happy to chant a Durga mantra for the video cameras. Altogether a profitable morning for him (10 to 20 rupees per person) and instructive for us. 

 That’s a mobile phone he’s using as a mirror to apply his maquillage. 


As we returned, driving by the farming families we got lots of genuine greetings and waves. Rural India at its best. 


5 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Holi and the Holy Man: Tala, Madya Pradesh, India”

  1. Heather April 3, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    Happy belated birthday Sharon. You seem to have enjoyed yourself very much. Welcome to the sixties club and be careful with your neck muscles with all that Induan dancing.

    • Sharon Tickle April 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

      Pleased to report neck doing well Heather, after the airport massage this afternoon. Sxx

  2. mukul chand April 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    wonderful post

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