Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This Is My Request! [Day 2.4]

When we dash out of the apartment and jump into our cars, our whirlwind game of keeping-up-with-the-former-NYC-taxi-driver continues, nevermind we just scolded such-named taxi driver. And when we finally pull into the street where the evening program will be, we’re all breathless from laughing and screaming (mainly at Rupa). I hop out of the car, ready for either a 3-mile jog or a 3-hour-long kirtan. Who knows when the latter is going to start, so even if this means hiking up my sari, I have GOT to get my energy out! (All due respects Maharaj, but I’ll get your class on mp3 or something.)

I get neither dancing nor a jog… but I get something better.

I set my mind to one intention: setting my purse down inside the house, offering my respects to Maharaj, and sprinting right back out. About three dozen people are all getting settled around Maharaj. I put my purse down… linger… just a little longer… okay, I’m leaving, now… Maharaj is getting ready to sing Jaya Radha Madhava. He instructs Chintamoni to play the mridanga. He looks to the kartal player and frowns.

“Who was playing kartals this morning?” He asks the crowd. Some people murmur and turn to me. My face flushes bright red. “Aha, give the kartals to Bhakti, please.” He commands. Someone hands me the kartals as I’m standing up in the back of the room, flabbergasted. But… my jog! “Come sit up here,” he beckons to a spot right up front. The crowd on the floor parts and makes room for me, The Kartal Player That Maharaj Has Requested. Someone even hands me their special pair of kartals that were encased in a silken bag. What is going ON?? This is crazy. My kartal-playing kinda blows, anyway.

But there’s no time to think, because Maharaj begins to sing.

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