The Babes got stuck in at a Holi party in Shoreditch on Sunday.
When I told them we were going to a festival where everyone would throw coloured paint at each other, my fussy lads wrinkled their noses in disgust. ‘I don’t want to get messy,’ Jed said.
Hard luck, mate.
The mini Holi festival was held by popular Indian restaurant Dishoom at Shoreditch’s Village Underground. As we arrived at the gate, we were given pieces of straw to cast into the fire — a sort of ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ gesture.
Inside, the walls were decked with colourful banners and there were kids on the floor painting chalk flower rangoli with their hands.
Early on, we met the Dishoom duo responsible for the event.
I asked what we could expect and Brian (pictured left) told me they’d spent the day filling balloons up with paint.
‘I think it’s going to be carnage,’ he said, cheerfully.
And carnage it was.
First, storyteller Vayu Naidu got on stage and talked about the meaning of Holi, an Indian festival where revellers shed inhibitions and douse each other in colours (gulal) to welcome spring.
The legend of Holi contains a beautiful message about acceptance and celebration of every colour and shade in nature, including all human skin tones.
There was some call and response singing then, to the shout of ‘Happy Holi’, madness began.
Dishoom staff went around handing out envelopes filled with gulal while the sound of balloons exploding filled the room. Young and old flung paint all over each other. Every where you turned some stranger would shower you with powder, or smear your face and clothes.
Such a blast.
The initial outburst was a bit much for the little ones. Jed complained about getting dust in his eyes, so I took them to the side where it was less hectic and then I jumped back into the fray.
Once the chaos died down a bit, the boys were happy to run around with their friend Phoenix, chucking colours at each other and having their own mini Holi party.
Throughout we were treated to spicy chaat (snacks), samosas, mithai (sweets), hot chai and gola (iced drinks). And we danced to a soundtrack including Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha and MIA’s Paper Planes.
After 2 hours of mayhem, our crew made vague attempts to clean up before heading home by train. Sure, people stared but we didn’t care.
As they say in Hindi: bura na mano holi hai (don’t be offended, it’s Holi!)
Let’s hope they do it again next year. Happy Holi!
Dishoom is putting on a special Holi menu in its restaurant this week to celebrate. Visit www.dishoom.com for details.
Find more Holi photos from the event at Village Underground
Photo credit (middle picture, 4th one down): Holi Festival at Village Underground, thanks to Minal at the London Brick Lane and Shoreditch Meetups group