Ambushed by friendly strangers smearing magenta, yellow, and blue powder over the skin of my face. They gently wipe my forehead with red, my chin with aquamarine.
The unrecognizably colorful villagers grace my cheeks with violet and green. I am a canvas continuously repainted by joyous celebrators. Everyone is art and an artist. Boys politely approach with bags of colors, their eyes asking if I will participate in the play, but having already decided they will follow through with their intention of adding to this human palette. In return I spread my sea blue on their noses, complimenting their mess of red and orange. They sprinkle powder on my head, which quickly becomes the release of an entire handful of Holi dye into my hair.
"May I snatch a photo?"
Everyone wants to color the Americans. I smile for their cameras as a relatively aggressive bloak wipes color across my mouth, the pink coating my teeth, the grit only slightly unpleasant to taste. I inhale the floury sand as we toss handfuls into the air in elation, the magic raining back down on our bodies as we dance. Spreading the joy of colors is entirely irresistable. Children, adults, and cows are gorgeous fauvist masterpieces, unique creations of public art, walking easels. Our faces grin as we collect the prints of hundreds of playful hands, our cheeks aching more from smiling than from the repeated assaults, the paint unable to mask our delight.