Sunday, 9 December, 2007

Happy Birthday Jim: Indian Ishtyle


Today (8th Dec) is Jim Morrison's birthday. You may ask why a headbanging teenager instead of being at Souls paying tribute to "the poet" is seated among fossils. It is a small price to pay for hearing Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Vijay Ghate  live on a cold December night. Savai Gandharva is a good place to do some people watching. I keep my eyes open for the pony tail , khadi-kurta  types, the cute light eyed Maharashtrian Brahmans and the generous scattering of firangs.

But I am by and large surrounded by a sea of white. White hair,white sarees, white kurtas and shirts sitting on white chairs with white plastic bags full of white tupperware boxes of white puffed rice. So many things about old people are white. A stage of peace and serenity or just a drab colourless existence? A little bit of both I guess.

One would think that my black tee and jeans, metal bangles, bright orange sneakers and messy hair with shakily applied kajal would stick out like a sore thumb. Not. That's the great thing about this festival, actually about this city as well. They give a lot of space to all kinds. Under the frosty night sky are seated a multitude of colourful, warmly- wrapped people. It looks like a refugee camp or a gathering of starry eyed music lovers, depending on your mood. Some have been here since 12 in the afternoon to bag a place for a show that starts at 4 p.m to listen to a musician who will arrive anytime between 7 p.m to 12 a.m !

Then suddenly the maestro arrives and I stop flipping through Theroux, looking at people and flicking spicy chana into my mouth .

The melody escapes out of the flute much like smoke and curls around your head, pulling you closer and closer. You close your eyes, drugged, spinning softly , each new note bursting on the blank screen in your mind.

Ghate's tabla keeps up a heady tempo and I am reminded of the Shamans that inspired Morrison.

To trip without intoxicants,
a fitting tribute I think.

Better than hanging with a bunch of idealistic wannabes in the dark, pretending to be lost in some local band's sad covers of The Doors. Once the trance was over I walked out silently, awaiting the next night to relive it again with Rahul Sharma's santoor!

Realms of bliss

Realms of light

Some are born to sweet delight

Some are born to sweet delight

Some are born to the endless night

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