The day I had planned to leave Bodhigaya, India was paralyzed by the most awaited and important celebration of the year: the Holi, three days of street partying.
At the rising of the full moon, a pile of wood stack in the main square market caught fire while the crowd gathered around started shouting, hitting pans and dancing, creating a festive pagan atmosphere. The fire was to reenact that which consumed a demoness named Holika, from whose name derives that of the celebration.
After a while, I headed back to the monastery where I had rented a room, but I found that a small place with Internet access remained open so I entered to check my email. When I was about to leave, I was surprised to notice that the only one in the room (other than me and the owner) was reading the same Spanish newspaper I just had browsed. I could not resist asking, “Español?” “De Madrid,” he answered.
We paid and went outside to chat. He was a steward of Iberian Airlines traveling all over India on a huge motorbike.
“Tomorrow I’m going to visit the cave where the Buddha lived for six years, would you like to come?” he asked, and I answered a loud, “Sure!”
We left the next morning ignoring the very peculiar way Indians celebrate the second day of the Holi. We discovered it out of the blue (well put), as we shall see in the next post.