Delhi Street Jams, Vol. 2

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Two weeks ago I came home from a bike ride to watch crews set up what could have been mistaken for an Indian carnival tent on a sidestreet near my apartment: four walls of purple and orange curtains, without a roof and lit by generator-powered flood lights.

At first, I assumed it was a wedding and got excited to gate crash. Then, after speaking to our block’s chowkidar (watchman), I learned it was a pooja (prayer service), though for what I couldn’t quite understand. Decorum won out, and I respectfully decided not to interlope.I should note that while India is considered a very spiritual country, worship here often has little of the dour quiet and stiff, formal reverence of many Western services. Some of that, I imagine, is owing to the diversity of beliefs as well as the country’s more casual nature. Also, from conversation and observation, I get a sense that for most of the Indian faithful, religion is far more routine, habitual, everyday and even commonplace than it is in the U.S.

As the evening played out, I realized there was no need for me to crash anyway. The music echoed for blocks and I could see down into the “tent” from my terrace. That’s also where I recorded the above clip.

Throughout the night, people came and went and the music eventually was loud enough to force me and my roommate inside. Fearing this to be a typical Indian affair that goes forever, we made bets as to when they would actually wind down. I put money on 2 a.m.

In the end, it was a rather tame; everything went quiet by 11 p.m. Though my ears were still ringing for a good while longer.

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One Response to “Delhi Street Jams, Vol. 2”

  1. Royal Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Gettin’ me pumped.

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