I’d already finished a full cupful of chilled tandai—and was heading for a second—when my brother-in-law approached me with words of caution. “Don’t drink the green stuff,” he advised. “It’s laced.”

Too late.

Unknowing of what most things are in India, I’d grabbed the green cup. I was thirsty because I’d been dancing all morning with a pack of women I didn’t know in a local park. It was the annual Holi festival and things had already gotten wild. They were about to get even wilder as the “green” started to take its effect.

Famed the “festival of colors,” Holi occurs on the brilliant full Moon in the Vedic "month of flowers.” It’s signaled by bonfires burning up collective animosity in the streets. In our English idiom, we “bury the hatchet.” On Holi, these

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