today is the 10th and final day of a major hindu festival. it's been even more confusing than most of them. one reason is that it has a bunch of different names. the 3 most popular seem to be NAVARATRI, VIJAYA-DASHAMI, and DASARA.
"This festival is celebrated for nine nights. Nine days are divided and devoted to the Trinity of God worshipped in a female form - three days for DURGA (Goddess of Valor) three days for LAKSHMI (Goddess of Wealth) and three days for SARASWATI (Goddess of Knowledge and Art) and finally on the tenth day (culminating day) of commemorating victory, the valedictory worship is done, an effigy of RAVANA (the demon king of Lanka) is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (RAMA) over evil."
The 9th day is "durga puja". or maybe it's the 8th. here's a picture of durga smiting RAVANA, I think.
certain groups celebrate with an all-night dance (dandia). i went on tuesday night with a bunch of guys in the office. we watched several traditional dances done in full regalia, then danced ourselves until 2am. there were at least a few thousand people on and surrounding the massive dirt floor dance floor (looked more like a rodeo venue), but i was the only whitey, as this was not on the tourist map. it was my nightmare come true... a few thousand people watching me dance, and not a drop of booze to wash away the inhibitions. oh well. we mostly did the garba dance, i think, as sticks were integral. i wore a colorful kurta, but i should have worn something more like this. yes, the men looked like clowns but the women were quite stunning.
apparently these dances are big pick up spots. the pick up happens though suggestive eye contact, as there is no physical contact. one of the guys told me that there is a huge uptick in abortions after this event, though it's difficult to imagine how this would happen in indian society. i flashed my big blue eyes at a few of the ladies. unfortunately swooning and nausea look about the same, so i can't say for certain what effect i had.
on the way home, at around 3am, from the back of my friends motorcycle, i noticed two women dressed in white by the side of the road. a very strange sight on these deserted streets. were they ghosts?
no, apparently they weren't even women. they were eunuch prostitutes.