As I continued to walk, the paved road became a dusty, dirt road. I followed the sound of music to a large tent across from a temple. I stood to the side peering into the tent and listened. I take a short video of the music. From within the tent, one of the musicians waves me over. I think he must be waving at someone else. No, he is waving at me. A group of older women start waving me in. I go into the tent and forget to take my shoes off. I created an instant scandal. This is a holy celebration for one of the Hindu gods. No shoes in the temple. I quickly remove my shoes and place them outside of the tent.
I sit. I listen.
I get a light whack to my shoulder.
One of the older women points to my hands and signals me to clap to the music. I clap. I stop clapping, I get another whack. I don’t like to clap because I have no rhythm…. I didn’t want the entire tent to see I had no rhythm but I kept clapping. I didn’t want another whack.
I get another whack. She points to my eyeglass case in my backpack and motions for me to put on my glasses. She wants me to see everything.
Then a beautiful woman, not just physically, but the intense beauty that fills a room from being grounded in strength and confidence. She commanded the stage. I have seen many Indian singers and musicians but I have never heard anything like her. I was stunned. I kept saying wow over and over under my breath. I felt another whack. I turn around and the older woman is nodding and smiling, very happy I was connecting with the music. I even think my clapping was getting better.
I would have loved to video it, but I didn’t want to be distracted by capturing the moment, I just wanted to be in the moment.
When I said goodbye to the older woman behind me, she grabbed both of my hands and smiled. Namaskar.