Made the India Times today, front page of every paper distributed in Gujarat. The article: http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JQS8yMDEzLzExLzAzI0FyMDAxMDM=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom Phoebe Little took the photo in Padra Gujarat.
Donkey with spots-We came upon this free range donkey, dressed up for Diwali, on our morning walk. He was grazing in a small village attached to a temple zone across the river from us.
It’s true. He can’t play the instrument beyond low powered fart sounds. And appropriately, he’s not in focus. Probably looks like that on the street walking around. Still, he’s the non-player filling out the ranks of the of the wedding band, and he’s at least a functional part of the spectacle, if not important to the sound. Great hair.
We’ve been taking auto rickshaws to parts of town we aren’t familiar with, paying the driver, and walking. Lee and I went to old Baroda using this method, and walked. Passing through some blocks with temporary police stations (tents and portables) we heard music and went towards it. We found an early season wedding. The groom rode a horse, and was covered from head to toe with flowers, totally obscuring his face. I pulled this image from a video shot a half block away.
A New Room
Last night, our friend Gaffar invited us to what he described as a religious drumming event. It turned out to be a Sufi piercing, sword and fire play ceremony. Yes, we were the only foreigners in attendance. Gaffar had asked permission for us to shoot video, and we were welcomed beyond simple hospitality. Their photographer and videographer took lots of shots of us, as we were the novelty on that street. Toward the end of the ceremony, ecstatics dipped their hands in vegetable oil and ran them along a heavy, white hot chain suspended from a metal frame. Flames shot up the chain into the air. A watcher always hovered close by the participants, grabbing them if they slipped too far into a trance or risked hurting themselves or others.
They held back the start of the hot chain ritual in order to seat me in a good position for shooting video. I ended up on the raised platform with the holy men, which induced strong self-consciousness and much gratitude.
One measure of the quality of my life has been the immediate appreciation of finding myself in a place I couldn’t have imagined or wouldn’t have known to seek out. “What a life, that I find myself in this room.” Again, a new room.
It’s a mosquito fogger! With kids at play behind it in the fog! I took this shot from our apartment. Then I closed the window and shut all the doors to stop cross ventilation. Then I slipped out onto one of the balconies to take more photos. The fog towered up four stories.
The tools: Super Deluxe Boss (The Music Power) Skytone Echo Chamber and the 12 volt trolley with amplifier, horns, and plastic wrapped Casio.
I got to my hotel in Mumbai at 2:30 this morning. Since then I have slept for five hours and eaten two great meals in the hotel restaurant. I visited a branch of a Catholic social club for people from Goa, up four flights of ancient stairs, and in my neighborhood. My host, Cruz, works in the hotel restaurant and is justifiably proud of his club. Each member has a trunk- sized, vintage packing crate to store personal possessions. The crates line the walls of a large room. Photos will follow. He gave me a taste of a distilled beverage, native to Goa. Interesting.
I recorded a processional band complete with mad, red-dusted dancers, paving the way for a truck carrying a Ganesh statue which will be immersed in the sea to dissolve in the next 10 days.
After that I went to the Taj hotel coffee shop with Arindam. I met Arindam in my hotel restaurant, too, though he just came there to eat. He went to school in Bloomington Indiana, and works closely with the head of Reliance. While we were in the coffee shop, the pianist played a selection from Jesus Christ Superstar. I enjoyed this because three women wearing silk abayas and niquabs, one with a gold face mask, were snacking a few tables away.