Author Archives: johnny b

About johnny b

dj, writer, yoga instructor, traveler, moonwalker, headbanger, mind expander.

Asian Dubbed

Back in 2010, when they announced the first NH7 Weekender in Pune, none could’ve been as excited as me. Cos [A] – it was less than 10 mins from my house in Pune, so woooo afterpartieeees and [B] – they announced Asian Dub Foundation as the headliners.

Now this was going to be the first real Music Festival many in India would experience, and 8 years down, it’s still pretty much the biggest festival.

My own history with NH7 goes back to 2001-02 when Vijay, the founder started managing bands as a 17 year old college dropout, and my brother’s band Acquired Funk Syndrome was his first ever signing (and i may have rolled him his first ever joint); Later in 2008-09, through some strange stroke of luck and utter boredom with the radio job, I took up the tour manager role on weekends for one of NH7’s in-house artists and probably India’s greatest act – Pentagram. The rock n roll life, I don’t think i can ever get bored of.

I also spent a lot of time in cars with big amplifiers and bass tubes deafening oncoming traffic with RATM and Asian Dub F and Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy and the likes back in the day. Loud, very loud. The ex drummer of Prodigy now plays for Asian Dub Foundation.

‘A good song should make you wanna tap your foot and get with your girl. A great song should destroy cop cars and set fire to the suburbs’, Tom Morello said. I never got around to burning a cop car cos Indian cop cars are pretty much the worst cars on the road, you kinda feel bad for them.

Much has changed now but those bands and their tunes still give me goosebumps on the rare occasion that i listen to them.

But that day in December 2010 I had got to Pune for this from the Press job in Delhi. On the way i made a pit-stop at Pushkar with a friend and scored some of the best hashish for my homies, many of whom would gather in Pune for the festival. Two amazing days have passed by with some amazing bands and acts so far including my old boys (and early band mates) Scribe, Bhayanak Maut, Blackstratblues, Faridkot, Indian Ocean, Susheela Raman, Zero (of course) and even The Magic Numbers, and everyone, EVERYONE is excited about the final day. I don’t think anyone’s ever dreamed they’d catch Asian Dub Foundation live. Everyone’s waiting for the moment, headrush, alcohol, dancing, singing, jumping.

We were in the parking lot, a small group of us testing the new stuff I bought with me, not disturbing anyone at all just having our own sweet little calm before the storm, when a festival security dude came up, grabbed Zico’s hand (which had the joint) and dragged him to the head of security. Festival security in India is very strict about drugs.

As a good friend would do, you know, i went up to where the security was gathered, and told them – let him be guys, it’s a music festival, relax, what’s the big deal?

The head of security goes ‘Usko chhod, isko search kar’ (leave him, search this guy). And damn, they found everything in my pockets. Zico just coolly walked away. I stare at him like ‘FUCK YOU ZICO’.

Wow. What luck. Fuck me.

In 2 minutes, there’s 5 huge guys surrounding me, they’ve cut my festival wristband, torn up my ticket, they’ve taken all the stash, and they’re threatening to send me to the cops.

I can hear the speakers blaring, the second last band (the same band i used to manage) is about to wrap up. The vocalist announces that there’s 15 minutes until Asian Dub Foundation starts. There’s loud screaming and howling from the fans. This is a strange miserable way to not catch a childhood favourite band.. i’m just about to feel like absolute shit and then.

I take a deep breath, I smile.

‘See man, I’m going in to the festival with or without my wristband, one way or another. And after I’m done, i’ll be back here for my stash. You can keep it till then. You can smoke some if you want. But I AM going in, brother. Legally, you have no right to take away what we were smoking in the parking lot – it’s not within the festival premises, but i have no time to argue with you right now. Asian Dub starts in 10 minutes.’

The head of security, he actually walked with me to the gates to let me in cos i didn’t have a wristband and ticket anymore.

Then i caught them live. Something just like this.

And after the festival, he came to me in the parking lot and gave me back my stash. All of it.

Every year at the fest since that opening NH7 Weekender, he and i have shared a hug. It’s always nice to be in the good books of the Head of Security. Three years later I made my own festival debut at NH7 Weekender.

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Buddy..

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This is a piece by reddit user Euthenios that i felt the urge to put on my blog so i can come back to it whenever i want. Thank you Euthenios.


The last thing I remember is My Person bringing me to the Sharp Place.

I never understood why My Person would bring me to the Sharp Place. The smells were sharp, and they poked me with sharp things. That’s why I called it the Sharp Place. It was a bad place. I didn’t like it.

I don’t know why My Person brought me there, that day of all days. I already hadn’t been feeling good. I’d been throwing up, and my hips hurt and my paws hurt. Even eating grass didn’t help. And then My Person brought me to the Sharp Place. I tried to be mad at him, but he seemed so sad about something, so I tried to wag my tail to cheer him up. I didn’t even really notice when the Sharp Place poked me.

Then my eyes got heavy and that was the last thing I remember.

“Buddy,” a voice said. “Buddy, wake up.”

I opened my eyes and got to my feet, and I realized my paws didn’t hurt anymore. I tried a wag, and that was fine, too. I sniffed the air. It smelled like the Play Park and like Our Home and the Car Window. I liked it a lot.

“Welcome, Buddy,” came the voice again, from behind me.

I turned around, and there was a person there. He wasn’t My Person, but he was all safe and good smells, so I trusted him.

“Where am I?” I said.

“You’re in the place that Good Boys go” the person said.

“I was a Good Boy?” I said.

“You were a Very Good Boy,” he told me.

That was good. I always tried to be a Good Boy. “Where’s My Person?” I asked.

“He’s still down there,” the person said. And he waved his arm and all of a sudden we were in Our Home, and My Person was sitting on the Forbidden Chair and looking sad. Every so often, he’d look over at the Okay Couch, where I was allowed so sit, and his breath would catch because he was very sad. I tried to nuzzle him, but my nose just passed through his hand.

“What’s happening? I don’t understand,” I said.

The person sighed. “You can’t be with him right now, Buddy. I’m sorry. It’s the way of things.”

I thought about this. “So it’s like My Person is on the Person Bed, and I’m not allowed there?” I said.

“Exactly like that,” the person said. “But he can be with you someday. If you choose to wait for him.”

“Of course I want to wait for him!” I said. Not wait for My Person? Who did this person think he was talking to?

“Hold on, Buddy,” the person said. He seemed sad about this for some reason. “It’s not that simple. You have a choice.” He got down on one knee and he looked into my eyes. “There are bad things in this world, Buddy. Very bad things.”

“Like Neighbor Cat?”

“So much worse than her, Buddy.” He waved his hand, and I saw what he was talking about. He showed me dark things, that were like snakes and rats, only worse. Worse than the Sucking Machine. Worse than the Sharp Place. They smelled evil.

“These are the things that want to hurt him, Buddy. They want to hurt everybody. So you can wait for him, or you can keep him safe. But if you choose to keep him safe, then you can’t see him again.”

“What, never?” I said.

The person nodded. “Never, Buddy. I’m sorry. Those are the Rules. It’s a terrible choice.”

I looked at my paws. I didn’t want to not see My Person ever again. But I wanted to keep him safe even more.

“I know what I have to do,” I said, and the person waved his hand, and all of a sudden we were in a place with there were as many dogs as I have every seen before. More, even.

“These are all the Good Boys who chose to keep Their People safe,” the person said.

I looked at them all. I couldn’t believe it, still. “But there’s so many of us!” I said. “How many Good Boys are here?”

The person looked down at me. He smiled, but I could tell he was also partly very sad.

“All of you, Buddy. Every single one.”

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Downward Dogs

bikram

https://thewalrus.ca/yogas-culture-of-sexual-abuse-nine-women-tell-their-stories/

The above link tells the story of 9 women who spent time with Pattabhi Jois, the father of Ashtanga Yoga.

‘Whether they spent days, months, or years with Jois, all of the women describe an environment in which the guru was permitted to freely assault his female students.’

Sorry if you thought i was going to share how holy and spiritual Ashtanga yoga is.

In their own words, ‘It’s okay’ was the common response they got when they shared their unfortunate incidents with the yoga community.

Fact is Pattabhi Jois was a fucking asshole that displayed a holier-than-thou appearance of saviour on the outside, while violating women who came to seek him to learn something, like most ‘Godmen’ or cult gurus.

Then there’s the other famous asshole – Bikram Yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, who actually tried to copyright yoga. Of course his copyright claim got shut down, deservedly, by a federal court.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/18/bikram-hot-yoga-scandal-choudhury-what-he-wanted

‘Born in Kolkata in 1946, he claimed to have been invited to America by Richard Nixon, and to have taught yoga to the Beatles and Nasa astronauts. He once told a class that he invented the disco ball.’ He also claimed to have launched Michael Jackson’s career.

I don’t want to smack this guy against a wall, i want to smack people who believe impostors like him against a wall.

When confronted by a journalist on camera about the rape allegations, he went on to say ‘Why do I have to harass women? People spend $1m for one drop of my sperm.’

Don’t even get me started on Baba Ramdev.

The scene isn’t very different today. Now there’s a million yogis and hence a billion scary stories. All you have to do is spend a few weeks talking to the naive young girls who’ve landed in Rishikesh ‘The Yoga Capital of The World’ from all around the world for their teacher’s certificates, to heal their broken hearts, to escape an abusive husband, etc.

Sometimes they leave with no certificate, but a full blown case of herpes.

The last time I was there for barely 8 days, a counsellor i met had spoken to 12 women that contracted STDs. Two holy yogis were counting bars in prison, when the number should ideally be a few dozens. Most women who’ve gone through a terrible episode are either ashamed to talk about it, or threatened into silence, so a lot of the scumbags roam free feeling invincible. Toxic masculinity and bro-culture thrives like virus.

Is it that men can’t resist abusing a small amount of power they may have over meek subjects?

Yes, absolutely.

Forgive me for the generalization, but good yogis do exist. And all one has to do is some research about their yoga school of choice, or ask people. I’m all ears if you want to know where to learn yoga and get your certification. But it’s most certainly not Rishikesh, unless you get into 5 or 6 of the good ones where there aren’t any vampire flesh lusting garbage men. Some of them are on hoardings bigger than the hoardings for the latest iPhone.

Most yoga schools there, and around India, don’t even give you a recognized certificate cos they go to the local printer and get some sheet of paper laminated and handed to you for your $3000. That’s not a fair deal, if you ask me. And if you just google rishikesh yoga, you’ll get over 350 results for ‘yoga retreats’. If that doesn’t smell fishy to you, I’m concerned about your mental state.

Of course, they might teach you how to do the headstand and the downward dog, but really, that alone doesn’t contribute to yoga. There’s much more than some physical twisting and bending and showing off. There’s much more to yoga than your yoga mat and your yoga pants. I could write a book about this subject but for now i’ll leave it at that and request you to do your research. There’s a handful of good schools around India that make your time, energy, and hard-earned money worth it. There are teachers who’ve made it their life purpose to TRY to awaken you beyond your fractal geometry neon designer yoga pants.

And while you’re at it, also do some research about where your money goes. There are ample yoga schools sending your money to religious fanatic outfits, in return for promotion and ‘legal certification’ and good terms. Like how the Mafia collected money ‘for protection’.

Yoga is a beautiful and unbelievably humbling art form (unless one is like Bikram who has a Hollywood mansion and 50 cars). Yoga has, and will continue to help a lot of people on their paths, including me and many I know. But the world we’re living in today, like I said, is infested by a lot of vampires. So be careful of the messenger. I wish you all the best and nothing but love and light on your yogic endeavours.

I’m off to teach my next class, ciao.

*** people perverting the journey is not just an observation in yoga, it also exists in any form of art or spirituality or science – it’s a disease called ‘man’, leaving his stink on anything serene ***


Good Doggie

Mickey was our dog at my grandma’s house when we were kids. My brother and I, the whole family – we loved him. We got to see that handsome son of a bitch only once a year, for a few weeks during our summer holidays. He would jump with joy when we came on holidays and howl in angst on the last day when he saw our suitcases packed for the flight back to Oman.

But this story isn’t about Oman or Mickey or my brother or the extended family of 10 during those holidays. It’s about the unsuspecting postman and untied chains.

You see, those holidays, I always slept in one of the rooms on the ground floor. Mickey was tied at night to the window in that room. So I went to sleep petting him through the window, and he slept after he’d licked my face a couple of times through the grills. Some mornings he’d be fast asleep when I woke up, and on some he’d be a restless little fucker moving around a hundred times to find his comfy spot. One such morning, when he’d rattled the grills with his belt a dozen times and disturbed my sleep, I thought it’d be better to just untie him. I love my sleep too much.

Now he had the habit of barking at the guy who brought fish around to the house, the newspaper guy, postman, etc. like most dogs. But since he was always tied, they’d snigger at him and get on with their jobs and move to the next house. On this day though, the postman wasn’t so lucky.

Mickey was untied and nobody had a clue.

I woke up with a start when I heard the guy scream. Mickey made a run for him. As I looked out the window, the hundred different letters from his bag were still hovering over the ground, still landing on earth in slow motion, like a paper-storm. Mickey of course, only ran until the point where he was stood. By then the postman had dropped everything in his hands, sprinted like speedy Gonzales, and fallen into a ditch many yards away. When Mickey saw that, he stopped running and barking, calmly turned around and came back to his spot like his job had been done. The intruder had been scared away. Good doggie.

I was 8 years old but even then I knew I had to lie to save myself some spanking from mum, so I told everyone I had NO IDEA how Mickey was freed. It was some spirit dog at night that untied him. Either that or Mickey was the smartest chain-untying dog in the world.


Demons

I lost a gem of a friend and brother last week. Some say it was suicide, depression. After five days of hurting, I wanted to write. And when I opened my laptop, this popped up, an old piece i wrote while fighting demons myself a while ago.

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I met my shaman early 2015, and from then up for the next six to seven months, I was living a life of bliss. When i got back to India, people usually walked by me without recognizing me – cos i’d lost over 25 kilos living in the amazon. And then they pulled a shocked face and silence when they realised it was me. Many thought I’d gone through some near-death illness. Or drowned in an ocean of drugs. My own folks thought my abused liver had finally given up on me. On the contrary, i’d never felt healthier. And happier. Of course, happiness is relative and all that, but i was beyond happiness.

For more than a year, i went through this state of bliss. Almost a feeling of invincibility. Walking on clouds. There was no shortage of anything. Love, friends, joy, laughter, I thought i couldn’t be any happier. And i thought it was how it’d be forever. Riding the wave of absolute ecstasy.

One thing i forgot during this phase, was nothing really lasts. Impermanence – that old Buddhist term.

Fast forward to April 2016. Something changes. Before that change, I feel different. Like a warning signal in the pit of my stomach. Something bad is around the corner. Dark clouds on the horizon. I love dark clouds, but these were going to last way longer than i thought, and they weren’t the dark clouds you see above the ocean.

In the few months since, everything in my life has come crashing down around me. The love, the warmth, the laughter and joy. I tried looking for answers, but that search drove me deeper and deeper into isolation, depression, and a never ending tunnel with no light in sight. Things slipped away from me and i could do nothing about it. A big fat FUCK YOU from bliss itself.

Every thing i touch turns to dust. Every move i make is jinxed. I’ve gone from self-loving to self-doubting, self-admonishing, maybe even self-loathing.

Once that self-love turns into loathing, things get very dark. Both outside, and inside your head. A cold wave creeps into your otherwise warm senses. Compassion gets drained out. Confidence gets deflated. Groove gets killed.

That pit in your stomach is now a black hole. Sucking you from the inside. Leeching on life force. Seeking to destroy. My own mind has turned into my greatest enemy.

At this period in time, the only resort in my isolation and loneliness has been yoga, meditation, and books. On the rare occasion i push myself to write, like now.

Just like enlightenment can hit anyone without warning, so can depression. Because I forgot equanimity. I held on to the bliss without respect, i took it for granted. Like a child with the cotton candy, i greedily chomped on, till it ran out.

Suddenly there was no ground beneath my feet.

I couldn’t be happy for myself. There was nothing to be happy about. I couldn’t meet people for fear of showing my dark unhappy side. I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t share love and joy with anyone. The moodiness was clamouring over me. I started to sleep longer hours, telling myself that the numbness of sleep was better than the dark of the waking hours. Better than all the thoughts running through my conscious mind. The dreams I saw were sometimes better than what real life had for me when i woke up, which was – absolutely nothing. I was never one for making plans, but now i couldn’t cook a dish without fucking it up. Hopeless. Powerless.

Soon I was in a corner, hiding from friends and family. Hiding the truth. Telling myself this was going to end in the worst way possible. Get a grip get a grip. This is going to end in the most peaceful way possible. Kill yourself. Get a grip.

‘How are you Bijou?’

‘i’m good!’

I lied.

Here’s the thing though. There is no cure. There is no drug. There is no short cut. I have to fight it.

The only healing, is acceptance. Time only heals if you accept you need healing.

Ride the wave, fall down. Climb up, try again, ride again. Sometimes it’s a long ride. Sometimes it’s a quick crash.

I’ve got nothing to prove. I’ve got nowhere to run.

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I survived that ordeal, for now. Things get better. Then things turn to shit. The wave will continue to make you, or break you. Accept whatever the outcome, but don’t give up on it. But really, despite how many times you tell people to ‘talk to someone, get help’, most don’t. It’s just how this works. It’s the greatest battle we fight, the one with our own mind – our best friend, and our greatest enemy.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we jump.

Next time you come across someone ‘not being themselves’, talk to them. Be proactive. Cos they will not talk about it. They will not open out to you, cos they’re scared of being vulnerable. They’re scared of being seen as weak and feeble. They’re terrified you will turn your back on them cos you only love them when they’re happy. I know cos i was there. I have family and friends who’d have cursed me if i did some terrible shit. A lot, a lot. I’m grateful for them, and that gratitude alone helped me fight harder.

The opposite of depression is not euphoria, it’s connection. Connect with those who need it.


Birds

At Auroville, about 3 times a week I’d visit the center of the community – the beautiful golden dome called Matri Mandir. More than the dome, it was the meditation chambers around the dome, or petals as they call it, that i wanted to isolate myself in. They’re a marvel of art and tech. Unfortunately you won’t know anything about it until you actually visit it. I’m glad they keep it that way. I spent anything between 45 minutes to 2 hours in there every few days, and it was always the best start to my days.

My last day there, while I was walking out, I saw this guy talking to my friend Jonas i wanted to say goodbye to. I couldn’t help but ask this new guy his name – Yoann. His warmth i could feel from a few yards out. I told him i was heading for brunch to one of my favourite joints ‘Bread & Chocolate’, and he said he had some work, but he would drop in after.

This lovely girl Lea, who wanted me to teach a yoga lesson to her batch of yoga students from Paris had promised me lunch at B&C before i left Auro. So i get there with Jonas, who i love but he never stops talking. After he’s gone, Lea and i catch up on her India trip. In walks Yoann. He goes to the counter to place his lunch order and sits, politely, at a different table cos Lea is still talking to me. I’ve got this really strong urge to just hug the guy and I don’t even know why. So I ask Lea if it’s ok i invite my new friend to our table, and she’s totally fine with it.

They start chatting, and me, as always – playing the role of listener/observer/whatever while i shove my majestic banana-date-walnut smoothie down my throat, and then order another one. It’s during the course of their conversation that i get to know more about Yoann. He looked Spanish, he knew great French, but he was from Israel.

‘Don’t see too many Israelis hanging out alone.’

‘Me, i’m just traveling with my girlfriend and 2 guitars. In fact till i met my girlfriend, I’ve always traveled alone.’ Totally my kinda guy.

We talked about music, we connected too much over funk. About his time in Australia and the Philippines, where he gave me directions to the most amazing people living on a remote island fishing and farming and playing ukulele. And of course, we spoke about war.

Born in Paris, he spent 20 years there till he felt a strong urge to go to his homeland. And as is routine there, soon as he got to Israel, he was enrolled in the army.

I noticed the tattoo on his arm.

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I have yet to see a more balanced-in-the-head Israeli. If you heard him talk about the war, it was like he spoke about ice cream flavours. Calm, composed, and his contagious straight-from-the-heart smile never left his face.

‘I have friends who are Arab. When i meet them, there is no hostility or danger, i don’t even feel a little bit threatened. We smoke together, we eat together. I know I’m safe with them. Except on the battlefield. Then there’s no identity except for politician or corporation you’re representing. Nobody realizes it’s the same corporations delivering guns to both sides.’

You can’t expect them to have a bus full of school children shot up, and not react. We’re humans, that kind of ugliness has repercussions’, still smiling.

‘So why did you enroll?’, i enquired.

‘I was naive. I thought it was my purpose. I know better now, much better. No regrets though, none at all cos i made some amazing friends in the army.’

‘What’s the song on your tattoo?’

His smile got twice as beautiful, ‘knockin on heaven’s door’.

My heart sank a bit. I was conflicted between what a clichéd song it was and whether it was the Dylan version he liked or the GnR version. Either way, i did not really like that song too much.

Even if it was the first song I ever learnt on the guitar.

‘What’s the birds for?’

‘Oh these are for my two friends. Same team during war. Such good guys, hearts of gold. I remember this bonfire we had once, a few of us around the fire, and these two sang the most amazing version of the knocking on heaven’s door. And we promised that night right next to the fire that after the war, we’d take a looong holiday, go to India, and smoke a BIIIG FAAAT CHILLUM with the babas, the three of us.’

Just for a second, and only for a second, his smile disappeared, when he said ‘they both died two days later.’

It came right back with ‘so i came to India, and i smoked a massive chillum, and i know they know i kept that promise!’

And i hugged him.

Over the course of the next 24 hours, we were literally inseparable. He bought his guitars and came over to where i lived. I cooked while Maya & Jay from the same guesthouse brought a ukulele and then it never stopped.

Some connections lay perspective to the little issues and worries in our heads that we turn into gigantic blackholes.

Connections are important. Perspective is importanter.


Auroville’d

Last night’s red earth ‘dance floor’ in the midst of this little forest in Auroville was packed by happy sweaty kids in the 15-80 age group, kicking up a dust storm. Glorious sight. They don’t know Johnny B, but DJ Bijou is a pretty sick DJ i tell ya.

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It was hot, but nobody wanted the music to stop. ONE MORE! They kept screaming at midnight. Then again a few minutes later. Then they convinced the 70 yr old owner of the place to let me play 10 more minutes. Never thought I’d go beyond Pune/Bangalore deadlines here. What was familiar was a query I’ve barely heard recently but keeps reminding me of 1:15 am in Bombay ‘Where’s the afterparty??? Where are you playing now? Can you bring your music to my party instead?’

I gratefully declined all offers to play any afterparty, and went home exhausted to my bed for a full 9 hours of sleep. I’d started the day at 7 am to teach yoga, and ended at 1:30 am as a DJ in a pirate costume. Subconsciously, maybe that was my tribute to the piratebay. Last week I was at Solitude Farms, harvesting tomatoes, papaya, eggplant, basil, radish, bananas and a hundred other kitchen ingredients between 8 am and noon, but fucking hell it’s hot, I cant do that anymore.

I have no idea how time just flew this last month, but 6 gigs, one rescued puppy, yoga lessons, and a few steak visits to Pondicherry later, I think it’s time to head to the hills a little west. If its not cold enough, maybe ill head North.

Before I got here, the memories I had of Auroville are visions of a dry and arid desert terrain, scorched red earth, and plants fighting for water and survival. I was still in school when my dad dragged my ass to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and then for a day visit to Auroville, and it’s a far cry from those days now. Now there are forests, gardens, treehouses, huts, eateries, swimming pools, pizza, and snakes too. So far, they’ve kept their distance from me, and the one I found in my shoe, popped out before I slipped my foot in.

For those living under a rug, Auroville’s an international city. More like a village for me, given the 10 pm deadline, but it’s just what I needed. There’s more than 50 nationalities living here, and the population is around 2500 aurovilleans, and a few thousand other visitors, guests and newcomers applying to be Aurovillean. You have to live here for 2 years to be considered an aurovillean, which then comes with privileges like food and shelter, and basic living costs. But that’s way too long term. If you’re coming in for a visit, its possible your weekend plans get extended to a few weeks or months, if you’ve got nothing better to do.

For the budget traveller, there’s permaculture farms you can live in for about 150 a day (Buddha Garden) provided you put in a few hours of work every day on the fields. There are regular backpacker guesthouses like Reve for 300-400 a day. Then there’s the top end place like Afsaneh, at around 3000 a night, you have homes that looks straight out of a new-age home design magazine, and a pool that looks so exquisite, I felt bad to dip my dirty foot into it. And there’s something for every budget in between.

Food joints range from 30 bucks for 2 kerala porotas and chicken curry at Dinesh, to Rs.800 a meal steak-houses. Italian omelette and coffee at Marc’s is addictive, the pizza at Tanto is beautiful. Considering the wide range of nationalities living here, there’s every kind of food available too. Sort of like Goa, but a little more authentic in its hippie-ness. Alcohol is frowned upon, though a visit to Pondicherry will help you bag alcohol at Goa rates. Pondicherry is just about 10 km away, and boasts some of the finest steak joints I’ve ever been to.

There’s gigs every week, Solitude Farms’ Krishna MacKenzie has the title of being the king of gigs in this little town, promising a gig every Thursday night at his farm. Krishna himself is the singer-guitarist of Emergence, having toured US and UK in the last decade. You can volunteer at his farm for a couple of weeks and come out feeling pretty enlightened about growing your own food. Sve-Dame, Well Café, Youth Centre and Yatra are other popular gig venues. Once you get in the know, there’s everything from Salsa nights to Jazz concerts. You can forget about drum n bass and techno though. None of that noisy shit works here. A- there’s no drugs and alcohol, B- there’s not many angry people, C- I already told you about the 10 pm deadline.

In the last month the only downer was an hour of Hibiscus Art Festival during my first week here, when 2 dudes played under the name Midizen, and played the kind of shit techno-indian-fusion that gets those Kasol chillum lovers on their feet, but for the rest it sounds like someone threw us back to 1993, when the flute theme techno remix of Jackie Shroff’s Hero was a hit. That music died in the 90s and should stay dead for everybody’s sake. The rest of that festival was amazing, with crepes, acoustic performances, drum circle, handmade jewellery, and mint juice. I cant believe I said mint juice.

Destiny – last night it was me replacing that bunch of boring DJs, for a set that Auroville won’t be forgetting any time soon. I should come a little closer to the earth now.

 

AAAAAOOOOOMMMMMMMM…