Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dance on the Edge of Life

(© all photos by Adideva das)

My story begins several months ago, when Malati devi asked me to organize the entertainment for the Festival of Inspiration. With caution (and naivete), I agreed.

At last, in the culmination of months of work, I traveled up to New Vrindavan for the final showdown.

Saturday morning dawned very cold and very, very windy. So windy, in fact, that the gigantic rented tent was on the verge of blowing to the sky and a crew of men dismantled it mid-morning.

There went the prasadam and entertainment facility.

A crew of us regrouped in Malati's office and mapped out Plan B - we decided to move the entertainment to the templeroom.

Little did I know that we'd get to Plan-freakin'-Z by the end of the night.

A little while later, I was absorbed in bhajans in the templeroom when every single light flickered off and died. Pujaris brought out hurricane lamps to light the altars, and seminars made do with lamps and flashlights. The entire temple complex had not a drop of electricity.

We would have to run the entire evening program off of a generator.

A very dinky generator.

I began to feel anxious. Two hours before showtime, the hired sound people told us that we couldn't plug in our mics and speakers to their sound board. The generator could surge and blow the whole, expensive thing.

Translation: "Go find your own sound system."

A half an hour later, because of some 'family emergency', the light and sound people vanished without a goodbye. I never saw them again.

A cold sweat began to form on my brow. Mic channels? Wireless and cordless mics? Sound boards? Generators? Surges?

Oh God, help me!

Ha! And God helped me! He sent Govinda Ghosh and Krishna Balaram, two talented gurukulis. They smattered together a sound system of several sound boards, CD players, and wireless and handheld mics, all connected to our one power source - the generator.

By the time the first act began, we were running an hour late... but we had full light and full sound.

Performance after performance we danced on the edge, playing everything by ear in the dark. At one point, I moved out from behind our side wing curtain and looked out onto a sea of people. A SEA. People stood up two or three deep on all edges of the templeroom. The crowd roared and watched spellbound every moment.

At the conclusion of the final act, a wave of relief and triumph crashed over me. My friend Jvala and I hugged each other. "We DID it!" I cried. "And we did it with bliss."

"Girl, you just got a degree in Crisis Management," she laughed.

At 2am, I finally laid my head to my pillow in the women's asram on the third floor of the temple. I wondered to myself: "Bhakti, would you do this again? No, seriously?"

Suddenly, I heard shrieks of glee from down the hall. I blearily opened my eyes. And there - from the hallway, a bright stripe of light shone through the bottom of the door.

I closed my eyes and grinned. 

I would live it all over again, every single insane moment. 

Life is nothing if not an adventure, a risk, a dance on the edge of life for Krishna.



The beautiful Gopal Nathaji deity in New Vrindavan - the King of crisis management.


Campaka said...

Wow, what a story, what an adventure. I love it. It's always great to know the story behind the photos. I adore your ending caption. Nathaji is Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill! He truly is the King of Crisis Management. Here in Govardhana, we just had a wild storm. It's a great time to look out at Govardhana Hill and remember the Supreme Crisis Manager. :o)

Bhakti lata said...

Ha! Thank you Campaka! And what a relief to know that Nathaji's got everything under control. :)

Poxinfinite said...

:) proud of you Bhakti. What I love about doing events is that they never work out how you plan, and yet as long as you can keep your focus on the direction, Krsna just keeps manifesting solutions. So you get four great lessons. The first is to plan as well as you can with backup plans. The second is that the general flow of an event is more crucial than the specific detail (and this general is more important that a single detail works all the way down the chain). Third is to surround yourself with talent who can keep things going. And finally, Krsna is in control of everything and we are just instruments.

Bhakti lata said...

Wow, Poxinfinite, what an incredible comment! Thank you!

To write is to dare the soul. So write.