With only three days remaining before my flight back to the UK, my odyssey was drawing to a close. There still remained time, however, to spend a few more days in Delhi and to take advantage of it being Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. (Yes, the one where everyone throws coloured powder at each other.)
I had arranged to stay with Colonel Surindar Singh (retired) via Airbnb, a charming man with lots of interesting stories from his travels. To my great credit, I avoided making a pun about his first name in relation to the army for the duration of my stay.
On my first evening I headed out to Haus Khas Village, a very trendy area of Delhi with a plethora of bars and restaurants all built, I was told, entirely illegally!
There I had arranged to meet with Akash, a friend of my friend in Chennai. He was there with a friend of his, Parul, who had brought her Airbnb guests Khoi and Cory (who happened to be Airbnb employees from the U.S.) along with her.
We all quickly made friends and, between beers, I was invited to join a Holi party the following day in Gurgaon, a suburb of south-west Delhi where Parul lives. Determined not to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I readily accepted the invitation.
When I arrived in Gurgaon in shorts and t-shirt, I realised that Khoi and Cory were considerably more prepared than I.
We were heading to a street party a few blocks away but, even as we left the apartment building we were assailed with water pistols and daubed in colourful powder. I was starting to realise what to expect; and it was great fun!
When we arrived at the street party it was more of the same. Buckets of water were being emptied over new arrivals by our host and powder was literally everywhere.
The beer did flow, as did the bhang – a traditional milk-based Holi drink infused with Marijuana. As it was a family affair, our bhang was very dilute and I felt no effects, however, given it was free, I got plenty of bhang for my buck!
From this family-friendly party we later graduated to a huge jamboree on a farm slightly further afield. There was a band, a stage for dancing, a bubble pit, plenty of drinks and a host of the Delhi glitterati. Parul was well connected! Sadly, as we had stowed away phones to avoid water or paint damage, I have no pictures of this latter fiesta. I do have great memories of it, however!
And then, 11 months after it had begun, my trip was complete. 24 different countries, one and a half times around the world, countless flights, a group of awesome new friends and horizons expanded beyond what I thought possible. I shall not stop making new memories but shall carry this particular treasure trove of memories with me forever.
And if I forget?
Well, I might just read my blog again to remind me. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who came along, vicariously, for the ride.