Jerry Would Love It!

Why India??

Surely there are other, gentler, locales in which one could do, well, whatever it is I'm doing.

The best way to explain the power of Mother India's allure is through the medium of music. No. I'm not gong to sing. And it isn't the mixing of keys and strings I'm referring to either. I suppose the easiest way to know this experience is if you've been to a Grateful Dead show (Phish would also do). But it's not the concert itself that lends to the depth of this realization. It's the pre-show unfoldment that takes place in the parking lot. Yes. The parking lot.

In the moments following the breaking of dawn, hours before the band takes the stage, an empty slab of dirt silently hums with the first signs of life. Drops of morning dew slowly slide down arching blades of grass — and the daydream begins.

Pilgrimaging devotees, arriving by whatever viable means possible filter in with the rays of the rising sun. Seeking mystical affirmation, a sign, a vision, message from beyond. Nothing fancy — just an otherworldly indication that the journey was not all for naught.

Early morning zeal is handsomely rewarded with front row seats to the pre-show acts I, II & III. Hatches lift, lawn chairs unfold, canopies are pitched & the coolers come a-rollin' out. VW Buses transform: glitzy marketplace shops, make-shift kitchens, DJ booth, massage studio & spacious sky-decks. Extraordinary vantage points for examining the swirling microcosm precariously preparing to burst.

Intricately bound together by the forces of space & time, the vision unfolds in expanding moments of swift succession. An existential bizarre for the senses pops open with boxes, bins, blankets & booths, begging one-and-all: Come out to play! FRESH Vegan Muffins (no meat added), bRight sqUisHy toys, gReAt BiG fiLLeD BallooooonS, bouncy sticks & pixie sticks, bubbles & YoYos & soooo many Striped Tall Hats. Dr. Seuss would be proud — As is so very much of the crowd, Many fans are dressed like Who’s, Their only job to leave musical Clues…A road to follow, A sign to behold, Magic to know, or so we’ve been told, Just open your ears, There’s nothing to fear, the message is ready, If you’re game to hear.

Swirling heights of mayhem peak at a palpable pace.  Nothing ascertainable, abstract glimpses of the menagerie pouncing and leaping by:  a pogo stick riding dog, banana tossing jugglers, volume cranking at volatile decibels; all of Canada invited to stand next to Jimi's fire, tie-die banners maniacally waving hello, trails of streamers leading to a party everyone is invited to. A crazed continuum of rapid-fire enquiry — huh? how? what the hell was that?

There's the muffin guy sir...hoola hoops! Eight of them swirling and swirling; round and round. Are those superballs? Pingng off the roofs of cars? YES they ARE!!! Do they glow in the dark?

WARNING: Serious Seekers: Don't get lost in the labyrinth. Step smartly. This way please…

Kaleidoscopic sprays assault every mental faculty. Just when one more ambush cannot possibly be dissolved and then the mooing begins. The show's about to start.

Ah yes, my point — India's kinda like that.

~ by Christine Fowle