Never before had such loud thunderclaps fallen on these ears.
5 AM was our agreed-upon time for a trek through and beyond the town Rodas, a place we visited last year. Friends from Matanzas had taken what seemed like the day-long bus ride to this place and had now converged for a walk. Cuba and Canadian contingents unit, I guess you could say. In the early wake of dawn Indra, the god of rain, had shown his generous side.
Quick! We moved to the nearest shelter and spent a good 2½ hours there in a meaningful chatter of things that were devotional. The young Cuban devotees were eager to hear from Hayagriva and I. At that time we shared what we could as stormy dynamics occupied the space beyond the old Spanish-flavoured edifice we took protection within.
Once heavy rains cleared replaced by sprinkle, we headed for the home of our host, Mercedes and her husband who is a Steve Martin look-alike. After a smoothie (Cubans had never heard the term before) we went into further bhakti discussions. (By the way, the smoothie, my concoction, consisted of yogurt, fresh guavas, bananas and a tomato.)
The afternoon engagement was held at a local Culture House, a decent facility with an art gallery and a hall equipped with a stage. Electricity wasn’t up to par, it was just not working, period. I spoke more or less in a half-lit/half-dark situation about Vaisnava art culture which was followed by participants chanting. As the term was used before, we are fun addicts, and hopefully not perceived as fanatics.
A second public venue for the day was the movie house, a cozy place really, where the spiritually inclined gravitated; about thirty in number. The task at hand was to keep the very young who were present, seniors and all in between, perked-up, so we implemented some improvisation and enactment of the philosophy of the Gita. Volunteers came forward to portray images from the text. To give an example, “Be a lotus” for instance, the message being, “Remain dry in the midst of water or be unaffected by material entanglement”.
The meal at the end was novel-spaghetti and sweet potato halava.
All is good with our stay in Cuba. Not only did Steve Martin appear to be with us, but a Ray Charles look-alike also participated. No he didn’t play music but he sang with us with Krishna on his mind.
May the Source be with you!