when a nascent spring walks the cold, dank streets of kathmandu with the promise of impending warmth, there is cause to celebrate.
and celebrate they did, in a big way too – a riot of splashes and colours so obscene that one might be forgiven for forgetting the severe water shortages or the depressing diversity of the country’s problems. for a while at least.
i spent a couple of hours with with the inhabitants of freak street, the famous (or infamous) stretch that is quintessentially more kathmandu than kathmandu, and these are what i saw —
hiding behind little windows set in old stone and brick houses, the inhabitants throw buckets of water on the unsuspecting.
a delicacy associated with the festival, bhang (cannabis) is cooked the way one would prepare milk tea. spices and other ingredients are added to the mix. depending on his physiology, the gentleman taking a swig below would have been stoned for 2-3 hours after.
coloured powders are an indispensable part of the festival – they are thrown at people, rubbed into their faces, mixed with water in ‘water bombs’ and squirt guns.
yusuf enjoying his shower.
foreigners are especially targeted during this festival, caucasians to be exact. few of them are willing to brave the chaos though.
newari rice wine is passed around outside ‘santa pub’, which is an establishment among the long-timers of freak street.
arun manandhar, tungna-player extraordinaire in kutumba (famous nepalese folk band) and a great guy all around.
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