Tuesday, November 4th….EVENING OUT
Going back a couple of days, Dyanne had seen a poster advertising a classical Indian music concert and we decided to go check it out. It was also free so we could just leave if it was no good. We headed off for Ram Jhula around 5 PM, and as we were crossing the bridge we noticed a puja, just women, at the ghat right below the bridge.
This was not a regular site. There are always people there bathing and giving offerings, but there were lots of women there, poor ones from the look of them, with enormous baskets of offerings. These baskets could never float so I didn’t quite know what they were planning to do with them. You can see some pictures I tried to capture in the last post with pictures. Click on the ones to see closer up. Something tried to explain, I think, with few words and hand gestures, that this was a special puja at the crescent moon (which I photographed)…maybe similar to our Rosh Hodesh (New Month) special prayers. Eventually I saw what the women do. They take the enormous basket down to the water’s edge (they were all sitting in a circle near the water chanting) and move “as if” to place the basket in the water, but don’t actually do it, and then they give it to someone who collects it (perhaps for the temple, or for poor people…really don’t know) and the then the woman herself goes and bathes in the Ganga.
We watched this for awhile and then went to see what was happening at the concert, but it didn’t really start until 7 so we decided to go over and catch the end of the Shiva Aarti (which you can also see pics of in the same post). I am always moved and inspired by this puja, and the new way the Shiva sits ABOVE the puja adds to the impact. There were more people there than I had seen in the past, but the chanting and singing and clapping and exuberance were the same as I remember, reminding me of a gospel church with choir (the boys who are priestly students dressed in yellow in the pics) sings and the congregation follows suit. It was really nice and I could have stayed longer, but Dyanne was ready to leave and I can come back when ever I want to.
Since it was still early, we stopped to eat before going to the Concert, and arrived just in time to get a good seat (on the floor with cushions provided) along a wall to rest on. The concert (you can also see pics), was extremely good at the beginning when there was a swami playing a flute and another guy playing tabla. The sound system was extremely good and I felt, with my eyes closed, that the sounds were coming from all directions and penetrating deep into my body…moving through my chakras….bringing in energy and putting me into a trancelike state. It was wonderful. I’d like to go again and Einat is arriving in a couple of days, so perhaps we will go together. I don’t like being out at night all alone. After that, another guy got on stage with an instrument called a harmonium which has a keyboard and another hand function which pumps air…it resembles most closely I guess an accordion. But then the guy began chanting, which was OK the first chant, but after the second it was really getting difficult, and we waited through one more (Dyanne by now laying down on the floor half asleep as a way of distracting herself from what was going on up on stage…we hoped the flute guy would play some more. He might have, but when the chanting guy began again, we got up and left. Many others had already left or were on their way out as well. Too bad.
All in all it was a perfect evening and we both came home pleased with our outing and content. The weather is absolutely perfect as well.
And that’s that for now.