Holi mubarak!

Color to the face

Best. Holiday Ever. No celebrating this year (Holi officially was Wednesday). Above shot comes from 2011, the last time I played holi, pakka pakka. Next year, however, I expect to be in full color beast mode with family.

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Colors of diwali

Painting with flowers

A day after diwali, friends and I got together to make rangoli. Well, technically, they made rangoli while I read. And then took pictures of the process.

The girls created a design with flower petals, flour and colored talcum — all part of the diwali tradition. And they lit the final product with diyas — small tea lights in clay holder. See below.

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Diwali aftermath: swastik of diyas

Leftovers... at 4 a.m.

On my 3:30 a.m. stumble home, I found this partially destroyed swastik of candles. The leftovers of the festival of lights.

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Bhangra!

That's my dupatta!

Diwali dance party. Above, Dave stole my stole and partied with it. Below, well, it’s the festival of lights, so clap your hands, everybody.

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Make rocket go now

Stand back

Every Diwali season, Delhi goes up in smoke. For days leading up to the festival of lights, kids and not-quite-kids “burst crackers” and light all manner of fireworks. It culminates in a hazy, loud, explosive night on Diwali itself.

Above and below are scenes from my neighborhood at about 10:30 p.m. They had been going at it for hours before. You can tell from the haze in the air.

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Diwali lights

Art

A few months behind, but we’ll get diwali festive now. This diya and rangoli art comes from the patio of my landlord.

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Fashion from the streets of Agra

Hot pink shoes are all the rage

Photo taken in mid-March. Almost two weeks after Holi, fashion trends on Indian streets were still affected. This autowallah’s “Holi ka jute” went from white to bright pink. Permanently.

Sorry for being so late on the photo. Time passes quickly.

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The art of impermanence

Beauty that is skin deep

I’m traveling at the moment in Rajasthan with Joel and Kate. I won’t be near the Internet much for several days. Enjoy preset blog posts.

Mehndi, or henna tattooing, is a common ritual for women in a variety of celebrations in India and, most frequently, is a part of wedding traditions for the bride and often the bride’s friends.

Hands and feet are the primary canvasses for the artist, who paints slowly and meticulously. Though many intricate designs today are applied with a stamp, the best artists still work freehand. It’s fascinating to watch the skilled practitioner; I sat for more than an hour watching the woman I photographed above in 2004 in Jaipur.

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Elephants on parade

Now that's some face paint

This comes from the Jaipur Elephant Festival in 2004. I got caught in the traffic of the beasts as they paraded into the city.

I’m traveling at the moment in Rajasthan with Joel and Kate. I won’t be near the Internet much for several days. Enjoy preset blog posts.

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Holi cow! Well, not really…

The streets will run with color

Holi is my favorite of the Indian holidays. Everyone celebrating gets good and messy and good and messy — throwing “color” (powdered paint or dyed water balloons or oily goo or normal paint or mud or ash) at each other. I’ve been in India twice for the festival, held in the spring to, among other things, herald the coming of the warm season.

This year, I rocked through Pune briefly to “play Holi” (read: get messy and take photos) with my cousin. We covered a lot of ground around the city, but it was a rather sleepy, subdued day. We got a late start, and Pune is a bit tame when it comes to Holi. (A recent bombing at a high-profile tourist hangout that also killed some local college students didn’t help the mood.)

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