| 1 MINUTE READ | Drumstruck @ Temple
As I bend through the doorway to enter the temple compound, a punching staccato drumbeat collapses onto me. I approach the shrine. On the far side are drummers. Behind them men dancing amidst the clash of cymbals. Beside me three men with blaring horns that punctuate the percussion.
Above the shrine is a neon sign that says ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. It means ‘that is you’.
The idol in the inner sanctum. The pulsating sound thudding into the air. The people swaying and soaking it in. The impervious night sky and all the trees in the city.
Beneath the veil of appearances, all of it is you.
From a place of conservative ritual, the temple transforms into an arena of transcendence. The sober folk pray and move away as usual. A few of us remain with the raw vulnerability of the rhythm. I close my eyes. The music overtakes me. Obliterates both the distractions of hope and illusions of order.
I have heard the tabla maestro Zakir enthrall a full house at the NCPA. And now I have heard this. An unheralded artist. A humbler setting. An equal music.
These men are neither famous nor wealthy. They probably earn just enough to get by. My thoughts betray a devalued era where money is the measure of most things. And the idea of enough is archaic.
But what is it that makes them such a joy to behold? This uplifting music performed as a submission towards all that is sacred.
The body seeks comfort
the heart hunts for meaning
the spirit lives in freedom
Only one of them
to calmly endure
the absence of the others
and dissolve into a drumbeat