The older students serve food to the youngest children first, and at the same time the teachers prepare the Holi celebrations for the children. The teachers wish for the children to receive Sai Maa’s darshan during the celebrations, so Maa’s photo is set up in the school yard. Then the Just One team and each of the teachers offer Holi to Sai Maa and afterwards share Holi with each other – a smear on the third eye and lavish amounts of color on the cheeks. Even in the children’s excitement to play with the colored powders the older children still serve many of the children 3 or 4 times. This happens each time we serve a meal at this school, as we serve each child only a small amount of curry at a time and only 2-3 poori depending on their age, but the children are offered as many servings as they need. Serving this way rather than larger servings we ensure that minimal food is wasted
After the youngest children complete their meals, place their plates in the trach cans and wash their hands, it is time to turn their full attention and energy to playing with the colors of Holi. There is an ever-growing group of joyous children laughing, and completely losing themselves in their absolute delight of the colors and the festival. Progressively each classroom completes their meal and spills out into the friendly melee now covering the school yard. Color is sprinkled across the school yard and everything else within this area – but not in any classrooms. The school yard is just one big colorful carnival, filled with puffs of multi-colored powder and the innocent delight of fluorescent red, yellow, pink, green blue and purple children reveling in it.
Even in their pure joy, they are respectful of the teachers and their guests. However, teachers and guests are not ignored. Students respectfully dab color on the third eye of the teachers and also on the Just One team. Some of the bolder students also color the cheeks of the Just One team, and soon almost all the 300 students present today are taking turns to grin in our faces and share their Holi celebration with us. Each is eager for their turn and they seem to appear almost spontaneously in front of us, their eyes twinkling and mouths breaking into huge grins at the chance to apply color to us.
It is the perfect end to a joyous and festive Just One program.