Culture of Confusion?
I decided to trek to City Hall for the New Year’s countdown while other enthusiasts from our community took the subway transit. To gain access to the town’s city hall, you more or less have to walk several city blocks, as police have cordoned off areas to address the converging crowds. No cars allowed. I like that.
I arrived, before the rest of the crew, at the front of the Old City Hall, the usual rendezvous location for our kirtan. Walking often gets you to places more directly and speedily in urban areas.
Now, it was five minutes to midnight, and all the kirtan chanters, our crew, showed up with marching-band drums, kartals (hand symbols) and harmonium. Immediately, the head mic was handed to me. I was to lead the chant. And it was just before countdown.
At the New City Hall, right next door to us, the rock band playing completed their number. There was a big surge of “Happy New Year” frenzy, and then the crowd dispersed, most of it ending up at our chanting spot. It seems we’ve outgrown our ‘event within the event’. Our speaker system, mics and so forth, don’t provide the “boom” there should be to throw out a broad net of happiness to the masses. But police are usually content with our presence, and the chanting offers a peaceful moderating effect to the New Year’s hype.
One thing present is the overwhelming scent of marijuana in the air. I find it interesting that so much research has been put into the successful campaign to discourage tobacco smoking. Now, we are at the dawn of legalizing pot, and it seems odd that a new, and harmful-enough version of smoking will be lit up.
“A culture of confusion,” I would say.
May the Source be with you!