In Harmony

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Entry into Delhi and reaching the hotel has been way less complicated than last year’s Mumbai odyssey. Immediately as I de-plane, I become aware of the faint hint of incense that seems to permeate the atmosphere and it hits me that I am here. Incredible India. The Mother Country.
The hotel Dee Marks is near the airport, not in the heart of the hectic huge filthy city, but convenient for the trickling in of adventurers arriving for the first leg of the trip. Dee Marks is a huge wedding resort. From afar it looks like Las Vegas with zillions of lights strung up everywhere. Traditionally a Vedic astrologer is consulted on all phases of marriage from assisting the arrangement of partners to reading birth charts to determine the exact day and time the sacred ceremony should take place. This possibly explains why there was a wedding happening on the terrace at 2am, the first of three ceremonies I’ve seen in less than 24 hours. It totally feels like Mardi Gras around here! Once the sacred fire and chanting ritual is complete, something in the way of a second-line happens. Women decked out in jaw-droppingly ornate saris and suit clad men make their way in procession with ecstatic drums and music to a resplendent Indian buffet steaming hot waiting in the wings. This is a major party! All that’s missing are the white hankies! Apparently if a foreigner ‘crashes’ a wedding it is looked upon as auspicious and very good luck for the couple. I am so tempted.
My main mission on this trip is to purchase a harmonium and receive some lessons to learn and start to practice playing it. Bahkti yoga, devotional singing and chanting like what we do in Kirtan or even in church is so fun and interests me greatly. I often read that every great yoga shala (or studio as we say in the West) must have a ‘house harmonium.’
I am happy to report that I am in possession of Yoga Birds’ harmonium! After months of research I found DMS a music store in Delhi that makes and sells Indian instruments as well as guitars. Burke, whose fave store is naturally Guitar Center asked me recently if DMS is like the ‘Sitar Center’ of India. Hilarious, right? Anyway I met the owner of the shop, Inni Singh, whom I am friends with on Facebook and also to whom I emailed a few weeks back telling him of my forthcoming visit. He has made custom instruments for Krishna Das and other notable musicians. He is the 2nd generation owner of DMS. His mother who opened the shop in 1970 was there and made steaming chai tea for us to enjoy which made the whole experience superexcellent. Inni hooked me up with a small sized portable harmonium handmade by craftsmen in his workshop right here in Delhi. The sound is rich and full and heavenly. I have absolutely NO IDEA how to play it. In fact I can barely open and close the thing! I am just staring at it thinking a lifetime of potential beauty sits in that box. My heart’s intention of learning how to unleash it, channel it, and harmonize with that SHRI is what this trip is all about. Mother India will let it unfold in her mysterious ways.
Today Holbrook our Redback Travels guide arrived. We have the detailed trip itinerary that tells me when and where I will be teaching yoga for the next two weeks as well as the schedule of harmonium lessons Redback has arranged per my special request. I smile inside and out with great gratitude for my life. Really, I am pinching myself constantly.
Love Music and Shri to All! JAI

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