We left Bodhigaya ignoring the peculiar way Indians celebrate the second day of Holi. We discovered it out of the blue, after receiving the first bucket with dyed water thrown on us from a window.
The Indians spend all that day throwing colored waters at each other, and painting each other. Two white guys on a motorcycle was the dreamed target of anyone equipped with ammunition.
Buckets of water, balls made with mud and/or dung, slaps as we passed through the crowds and all kind of similar samples of “cordiality,” among the local cacophony of screams, incredulous at their luck, formed the motorized rite of passage with which we “got purified” before reaching our destination.
In reward for our sacrifice, we found a brownish pond where we could take a bath and discolor our skins. Before arriving at the cave of the Buddha, we made a detour to visit other caves, named Barabar, the oldest ones in India excavated in rock, and that means reeeally old.
The polished granite reverberation invited introspection. Inside I thought about all those who in the past millennia had entered the huge rock to get away from the visible, the noise and the senses, so as to connect with the darkness, the silence and emptiness.
As in the popular book “A passage to India” by Edward Forster, the Barabar caves served as the perfect prelude to the next chapter.