It has outgrown itself. The Festival of India following the chariot parade on Yonge St. had drawn such big crowds this year that the final venue, the Toronto Islands, is too small.
This happy problem is not to do with the capacity of the vehicle-free islands but more so with the limited ferry services going back and forth. Organizers say 25,000 flocked just for the festival.
Some friends I knew that were intending to come just could not make it over the harbour. The line-ups were too discouraging. And trying to return back to the mainland after the sun’s setting, people in queue remarkably held their patience in what would otherwise be mayhem. I guess it’s the green surroundings and the water’s serenity that cools passions.
Put the madness to the side and you will have seen nothing but a bright light of Jaganath (the prime deity) in the form of joy during the procession under a blistering sun, the ride over water and the calming of the green. Come to think of it, the event is really an elemental experience. From a Vedic perspective there is earth, water, fire, air and ether. All five come in full force for this two day phantasmagoria.
My day ended up the next morning. At 12:30 AM I took to a peach juice at the convenience store near the ashram before resting. As I walked in to purchase the refresher a young guy, about age 25, asked the classic question, “Are you a monk?”
“What does that involve?”
By this time his two buddies joined him at the counter to make their purchases. Before I could respond he said, “I guess you probably avoid looking at this kind of stuff…” as he pointed at the woman’s revealing magazine that he was about to pay for.
“It’s true. We avoid that stuff.” In short I explained to these thoroughly inquisitive fellows that we just have a good time burning off karma.