You go all that way,
Weary from the subcontinent’s humid heat
Crammed into lop-sided buses,
With just enough space to breathe.
Still more hours travelling to the next depot
__And then further,
____Deeper into the country,
Leaving the safe tropical shore behind,
Into the hot, silent and dusty expanse.
Then as the darkness drops you enter the ancient walled city with a temple.
A holy place, on the direct opposite side of the world to Machu Pichu.
Almost a million people turned up for the full moon;
To walk around the mountain.
A mountain linked with her Peruvian sister.
A perfect white circle shining on a psychadellic madness below,
A million people on the road, barefoot.
__Noise, music, flood lights and dust.
Millions of dark faces with moon-white teeth, walking, grinning:
The brain still unevolved enough to process so many faces;
Situations unseen before.
Gurus in orange giving blessings at intervals.
Shops selling sugar beet juice out of reused paper cups
A maddening river-stampede of people and anything could happen
So you could die and perhaps many people want to
In a holy ecstasy circling a mountain at full moon
__To reincarnate higher
____And closer to God.
So you feel alive.
And you go all that way for what?
You see a parked bus playing loud, shrill music,
The back door swings open
And just before it closes again
Inside that dark bus,
Amongst the dark faces playing music,
You see someone that looks just like you.
__And he glances up at you.
And the door closes. Gone.
The people river drags you further and you cannot stop.
The loud music continues and won’t stop.
And back there someone like you was playing that mad music …
All that way so that you can look at the high moon and laugh loudly.
Your voice nothing more than part of the loud noise and wild music.
Inspired by the Full Moon Walk in Tiruvannamalai
Every month at full moon, around one million Indians turn up to walk around the holy mountain. Tiruvannamalai is situated in the South of India, in the state of Tamil Nadu and has an elaborate system of temples. The temple towers are engraved with layer upon layer of colourful animals, gods and beings and are lit up and reach high into the dark sky. Due the location’s religious and spiritual significance, many ashrams are located there – one of the most coveted being the Ramana Maharishi Ashram. We stayed close to this ashram and the following day after full moon, walked around its peaceful gardens. The sanctitude of such ashrams is heightened by the never-ending noise of the Indian streets.