The mood is set, tickets are book and bags are packed. Its time to unwind, unravel and unfold an experience that never was. The excitement and exuberance in my mind was a never before experience. The adrenaline rush is making me go berserk. I am loving this.
Everyone is asking where in UK are you going. Is it Yorkshire, Newcastle, London (which part), Manchester (?) I have no clue what they were talking about. All I know that this weekend I am out of this morass and out there in the green lap of mother nature along with its beautiful children music and peace. UK for me, as on today, is Uttarakhand. The destination is Lake resort, Naukuchiataal in Uttarakhand.
As we rolled down through the circles and hills, the sunrise set the mood as the orange sky welcomed us to this beautiful festival with a gush of cool breeze. We realised that we have moved north and a few inch closer to the grand Himalayas. Yes, we have escaped from the dust and heat of the Delhi summers and we felt better.
This beautiful festival, Escape Festival as it is called, was started in 2009 to give the urban india a chance to escape their daily lives into the passionate lives of theirs. The routes were serene natural beauty with an equally pure and unadulterated music performed by both known and unknown musicians of the world.
As I strolled down the lazy lawn holding a beer in my hand, I found the stage where its all set to go. It was set in the huge backdrop of the Naukuchiataal lake. With every gentle stroke of that cool breeze from the colossal lake hitting on my face, I hanged my head in the air and looked straight in to that beautiful blue sky. It was one of the bluest skies I have ever seen and I murmured “Blues is my soulmate.” I felt as if the entire world has fallen at my feet.
“Mama,” I shouted. And, she turned around smiling. She was smiling as we towards each other and finally we met after a long one year. Her grey hairs remind me of how many thoughts they, as a band, have covered over her lifetime. And, I wonder how it is still giving us some wonderful musical pieces along with some powerful lyrics. I shook her hand and I said, “Mama, we meet again.” I was also sorry at the same time since I have missed their performance the previous night.
I hate to miss any Skinny Alley show and she told me that the show was good. While we got clicked for a picture, she promised to meet me again in the evening. Jay Singh, the leading lady of the Progressive Jazz Blues band, Skinny Alley, is a pleasure to meet anytime and all the time. Sigh! I miss their performance.
We ate. We slept under the blue sky by the side of the lake as we inhaled some fresh air. And, someone smoked but I got high with the pristine and fresh mountain air. It was enough to give me a kick. I took out my camera and decided to take a walk. Just strolling without any agenda, anything in my mind. I took a few shots, enjoyed many more shots that are saved in my biological hard disc. Sometimes, I feel, one has to drink, eat and breath beauty so that one remains beautiful in his or her mind.
As the sun started to settle down behind those green and blue hills, the lights above the stage lit up. So, did the moon which glowed and showed us sparkling yet priceless pearls and diamonds just behind the stage. I wish I could froze that moment. The guitar strumming and rolling of those drumsticks made me realised that Mother nature’s destiny child, music has just arrived.
The scene got better and better as each band played their typical style of music but I really enjoyed the Menwhopause, and Nyasa. The high from music was ecstatic. The beauty of the place was only enhanced when we saw some seasoned painters and artists doing their own paintings. The colours of those canvases just made the event even more colourful. As the night got older, the music become younger. At the brink of the midnight, some DJs started playing those psychedelic trance that made the entire crowd go crooning and swooning to their tunes. High was a understatement as the people danced to the trance and everyone found themselves in peace with their souls. That night was a night never dreamt before.
Morning was clear, peaceful and bliss. As we woke up to a nice and beautiful morning, we remained constant in that mode of laziness personified until it was afternoon. We did nothing but loiter around in the room and at the balcony, getting lost in the tranquility all over, rolling over and finding ourselves in the midst of dreams yet again. We decided to get out when the show was about to start.
This was a penultimate experience. It was classic, jazzy and memorable. The artists dolled out nice little music with lots of powerful lyrical songs from yesteryears. Lou Majaw was a league apart when it comes to interacting with people and singing Zimmerman’s songs. I yelled, “Play a song for us, Mr. Tambourine Man.”
Valentine Sippley was also good as he sustained the mood.
But, if the foreplay of the escape festival was Skinny Alley, the orgasm of the event was going to even better, I guessed and hoped. I was not wrong. There came a band with four talented musicians from Bombay and they sang. The Interplay was a brilliant exhibition of stage music and confluence of jazz and rock, much to a delight of a die hard skinny alley fan, as they dedicated one of their songs to their inspirational band from India, Skinny Alley. I love her when she sung and yelled about relationships, be it of love, hate or life. It was beautiful.
As the night unfolded and grew old, we realised that the escape from the humdrum life is coming to an end. It was time that we move back to where we live. But never the less the escape was worth an escape as I wait for another year to pass by before I escape again.