This is a three part series on Into The Void
The first part was about the general event which you can find here
The second part was about the Artist line up which you can find here
The third part (This one) will be about the various people I met and my experiences with them.
Because this one was special.
So this has been a long article, again if I was writing this commercially this would have been 500 words long and would have been completed in a day. So Why I write 5000 word treatise on a music festival requires some background. I have been always been a person who found it harder to make connections. Mostly because the people I have been around aren’t people I wanted to be around. But like millions of other Indians I did the “what is expected of you” package. That did not work out for me at all. But around last year I realized that happiness and having a sense of belonging is something you have to fight for and achieve.
I believe everyone has a tribe they belong to, even if you don’t find them in your life time, there is a soul tribe waiting for you. Everyone wants a sense of belonging. To belong to an ideal, whether that ideal is political, religious or the color of their skin.
But where do people like me go to find a sense of belonging?
That is people who have never fit in anywhere?
Everyone has their own method. I go to music festivals because I believe people are at their most raw over there. When you meet them as a stranger there is nothing expected of you and they do not want anything to be expected of them as well. Probably the only time other than one’s birth when a person’s soul is exposed in such a way you can actually see the person inside without hidden by the masks of civilization. They exist within this void if you will.
Into the Void the music festival was populated by many people like that, there was also enough drama there to fill a soap opera. But still met some beautiful human beings there. My belief in serendipity did not fail me.
One of this was Puneet Arora, I met him while hitching a ride in a tractor and Puneet was sitting on the other side. We did not get a chance to talk much at that time. But we had a talk after the event coming back via the official shuttle. Apparently he travels to music festivals as well, also he takes amazing photographs. So finally I had some validation, apparently I am not alone in my madness.
Also my tent neighbor Ali, I don’t even know what his second name is, but he invited me to this amazing restaurant in the middle of the desert called Shaam E Sarhad. Just like me wanted his tribe to stay together. Couldn’t even say goodbye to the guy as he left quickly. Brother, if you ever read this, your kindness to a stranger is appreciated. Sometimes it’s the little kindness which makes our day.
But my gateway drug to this event was one crazy bastard called Daniel Braganza. We met while waiting for the official shuttle from Ahmedabad to the venue. So after reaching the venue we became tent mates since I was given a bigger tent than expected. I am not a person who barges into other people’s life or tent without asking, but with Daniel that wasn’t even an option. Without him this event wouldn’t have been even half as fun. Also he has a custom vape flavour which was apparently created with “Unicorn milk” and he can give you instruction in excruciating detail how you milk a unicorn.
Another valuable life advice from Daniel was how you do business in Gujarat.
So here are the steps for that.
- First approach the Gujarathi businessman in a restaurant
- Tell him “I have a business plan”
- While he sits confused about this interruption of his lunch go ahead with the game changer
- Now the readers wonder what the game changer is.
- In a loud voice yell while pointing at the businessman “LET’S DO THE GARBA”
- Now do the Garba like your life depends upon it.
- Forward and back now point at the bunch of people on the table next to him and shout “LET’S DO THE GARBA”
- Now all of you do the Garba together in a whirlwind of legs and hands
- Do this for a while.
- How we proceed from this to business talks is complicated and unknown, only Daniel knows.
Also be informed that Daniel instructed these steps while doing the Garba.
All the jokes aside Daniel was a good friend to have around and I wouldn’t have met the rest of the people if not for him. Also while we are very different in our approach to things, I do get where he is coming from and let’s just say that we have mutual experiences to relate to.
Then there was the six people I met at a random tent I walked into with Daniel. Lenin (who Daniel kept calling Vladimir) Malv, Kinjal, Dikshant, Raj and Arjun. We did have a very awkward conversation there at the beginning as I am not that comfortable barging into other people’s tents or lives. But after that I met Lenin again at the food stall and had a conversation about my indie music obsession and what I do, when we went back to the show again I had more conversations with the rest of the gang. This was followed by an unexpected trip to the proper salt plains of the Rann of Kutch at two in the night. Which itself is special because people are not admitted in after 6 in the evening. Hilariously it came to light that we have to walk a total of around 10 kilometres to and fro as our bus isn’t allowed in. Also just for adventures sake we (the seven of us) decided to walk through the salt for half a kilometre, which given how much I weigh might not have been the wisest course of action. But my life choices have never been dictated by wisdom in the conventional sense, so it’s OK.
So this walk was the most amazing thing in the trip. It didn’t matter that we knew each other only for a few hours. Those hours in the vastness of the salt desert felt like a void, a void outside space and time. Also ironically I finally felt real to myself and felt like I did matter, in the grander scheme of the cosmos. But everything ends, even a void. After the time we took to get there we had to leave quite soon as the bus would have to leave soon. But as the cliched line goes, this truly was about the journey than about the destination. The destination was amazing too. We did think about staying for the sunset. But ultimately decided against it, as that means we have to walk back a couple of extra kilometers as well. So we went back, but after walking back for a few minutes we did look back at that vastness and empty void at that viewpoint and sigh. I believe I left a little bit of my soul in that desert. And I don’t think I will ever see those friends of mine again and that is fine too. Because in that void we were a soul tribe. And however short that time was, didn’t matter, because time after all is an illusion and because for that brief moment we were there, we were real, we mattered and we connected. Sometimes all we can be thankful for are these moments.
That special moment cannot be captured again, but that’s ok.
It was special because it was finite.
Just like everything else.
Of course, everyone has regrets. But for me the biggest regret was that we did not stay for that sunrise. I would liked to have seen the sun come up with those people. If I could redo my life that would be the first thing I would change.
But I do make a promise, I do plan on going back to Rann of Kutch on February 12 2027, (if I am alive).I want to see if I can find myself again. Also to see if anything remains of my friends as well. Because I don’t think the people who came out of that desert are not the people who went in. We all left something of us behind. After all we are all creatures who leave, sometimes places, sometimes people.