Kiss My Holi Ass You Punks!

7:30PM Sunday March 19, 2000

So Klaus and me were sitin' on the roof of the guesthaus smokin a dirt an I says to him, "How long that shit been goin' on?" I was referring to the "Sita Ram Sitahah Ram Sita Rahahaham Sita Ram" endless chanting coming from the ashram 2 ghats down. "Oh that? Yeah, about a month. At first it was 24 hours a day but now they break late at night." Mystery woman and me were up at 4:30 when they started this morning. It was kinda funny 'cause you could tell that the singer had just woken up from his two-hour acetic nap. It's a constant din to replace the car horns of Bombay. A squeezebox and cheap cymbals accompany the mantra. (Ram = hero of the epic Ramanaya, Sita = wife, thus we get....)

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Guest House on the Ganges Details: two geckos run the walls in my room and eat mosquitos. I call the one with the broken tail "Butch" and the one who chases him, "Sundance". Klaus says he has about 9 geckoes. My legs and shorts have blue paint splashed all over them. Mahesh says it will come out in 3 to 4 washings. I just took MW to the airport. She's going back because she has to work. I travel alone now.

On the way to the airport I got hit in the back with a water balloon and squirted with a squirt gun filled with paint about 5 times. MW's neck was purple. Holi Shit. It's the festering festival of Holi. Hoodlums roam the streets throwing paint on each other, there is complete lawlessness as Ronald predicted but it's only the day before. This one's for the kids folks, come on! It's especially menacing here in Varanasi, where bhang lassi runs in the veins of every young man and the color of my skin guarantees that if I go out tomorrow, I'll probably be stripped naked, painted and tortured by oversexed teenagers.

We had to change MW's plane ticked from tomorrow to today 'cause you can't get to the airport tomorrow. Even today at 3pm it was pretty scary. Every male under 40 puts on this insane face and bugs their eyes out and stands staring in bloodlust. I thought you were supposed to happily squirt-bless each other but what it looks like they've done is poured a bucket of pink over their shoulders, smeared blue on their face and dumped green in their hair. I'm pretty malevolent toward the hippie travelers that stink up this place but I don't think I'd wish any of them were out in that mess tomorrow.

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In case you're wondering, "Sita Ram" is still being howled from up river and it will continue long after I put down this journal.

Rickshaw gouging is at an all time high and we feel like we're in an American Express travel disaster commercial. I think we might have panicked. It was 1976 and the last 'copter was leaving the roof of the embassy in Saigon. My rick was almost hijacked twice on the way back from the airport. I'm glad my rick driver felt like defending me. When the mobs were demanding my hide he mentioned something about the Mystery Woman I'd just dropped off and said something like, "Don't mess with this one, he's rockin' a Hindu."

I walked back to the guesthouse with more fear than I've felt in the worst parts of Bombay and quickly found refuge in the Rational Americanism of Klaus. The Grammy's are on at 8, We'll eat Thali's and then watch "The Big Lebowski". This is Holi Hibernation mode. The Mystery Woman is gone. I can't seem to write any more about that. I tapped my pen on the page for about 50 SitaRam's thinking it over. What can I say? Do you think I'm going to parade her beauty before all the swine that could potentially read this? Do you wish me to dishonor her so? I will never do it. You'll get only simple flourishes to embellish the narrative. You don't want to mess with this Kali-girl: she creates and destroys worlds with a flick of her Indian classical dancing hands.