Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ecstatic chant 

Labor Day Saturday at the ashram. Hanging out after the end of the show, Garage Sale of the Mindstuff by Dr. Jayanti Patel who is in his 70s, from Bombay, and exceedingly funny. Just-made kir (not the kind you have with your aunt at brunch that can be a roayle, but the kind that’s sweet and made with rice and milk and cardamom and saffron and almonds and sometimes rosewater) has been doled out.

We are laughing and shooting breezes and I am threatening to make good on my chorus of a threat to have an impromptu dance party. It materializes that some of the posse is away this weekend. An hour away, at a nearby holistic center/new age summer camp, where some of the biggest names in western kirtan (devotional song) are gathered for the weekend. Said weekend is completely sold out. There is an all-night thing going, starting with Krishna Das at midnight, then Wah!, then Shyam Das into the dawn, then sweet morning ragas. We call a friend who is there with Shyam-ji’s posse who says we should try to come, anyway. So we do.

We dress up in our sparkliest Indianized regalia and head out into the howling winds and rains of hurricane Ernesto, two gopis and three boys, singing and laughing all the way, determined to make it all about the journey- and if we get in, it’s all bonus, baby.

And we do. Join the several-hundred people still dancing and singing and sleeping to the beat of Wah’s bass and ethereal voice in the great hall at 2:30 in the a.m. Very cool. Hook up with the handful of other Ananda-ites already there and dance and laugh and sing until Shyam goes on at 4:30, when we take our spots in the front. And laugh and chant and sit until the sky lights the grey skies. Most fun brahmamuhurta I’ve had in a while.

We sing and laugh and snuggle all the way home. Ashram version of the walk of shame, coming back at 10 in last night’s outfits, sneaking back to bed. Except we told everyone how naughty we were. How worth it it was. How we want to go back for the whole thing, maybe next year. How we supported the artists with our ardent enthusiasm and glee-filled presence. How we do not condone trying to ever sneak your way into anything that you have not paid for.

Unless maybe it’s a hurricane Saturday night and all your friends are there already and you just have to do something spur-of-the-moment impulsive and risky and your intentions are good and it’s spawned by love and you do not plan to lie or cheat or take more than you need. And it’s more sharing than stealing, in the end, anyway.

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