This is Sanju, who's worked at the hotel for 12 years. When I left last year just before Holi, he was so sad he was pouting. "I want to make colors with you," he said. When I told him I was sorry that I had to go, he said, "Sometimes for the heart, sorry is not enough." How could you not love a place where men talk like that?
That isn't a mask - it's a thick layer of the likely-toxic silver paint.
Bustin' a serious move on the dance floor.
Torsten from Switzerland, who I know from a trip to France some years back, gets pummeled by Whitney from the Bay Area.
This little boy, a son of one of the staff at the hotel, just broke into dance periodically.
I've been coming to this hotel in Varanasi since 1995, and there are always lots of Japanese and Korean travelers staying here.
Sanju, in his element.
Francois, the crazy Frenchman, and principle provocateur.
A�successful green powder attack, and the infrequently-use "bucket defense."�
The "bucket defense" in its full glory.�
The photographer and his expensive camera were largely spared. But that silver paint smelled nasty - like gasoline fumes!
Sabina, another crazy trouble-maker - in the best way. "Watch out for my camera!" I said as she's aimed a bucket of water at someone. She said, "Zen don't take peek-tures!!"
The place is destroyed. Sanju declares it a complete success!
This is Madanji, the hotel manager since I came the first time. When I called last year after a three-year absence I said, "This is Mr. David from the U.S.," and he says, "Yes, yes." I said "I've been there lots of times," and he says, "Yes, yes, I know." Either he really did know or he faked it well! This, by the way, is his only facial expression:
I love this kid.
This reminds me of that famous American soldier photo from Iraq. Taking a little break after the battle...
This plastic chair was white when the party started.
These 45 images, plus a few more, are here in larger sizes: