Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the simple truth

Have you ever been to Bengal?

The countryside?

Dry in summer. The earth, still green but beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Little cracks on the ground.

Ponds on the side of little village roads that run for miles. Through dry patches with shrubs and lone trees.

The smell. Heavy in the air. Mangoes mixed with cowdung with smoke with open sky.

Far away, a young boy walking a cow.

Small clusters of village houses. Hibiscus growing wild. Wet earth mixed with cowdung mixed with fish mixed with yesterday’s fermented rice.

Last night, five bauls, or wandering minstrels came to our house. All of them were wonderful.

One was the famous Paban Das Baul. Who made me want to weep with joy when he sang Tomar Dil Ki Doya.

But two, they touched my heart in a way nothing has in years.

One was blind, the other was the someone I saw, and felt I had loved all my love. Kanahi Khepa and Deb Das Baul.

When they sang, I felt like someone had put me on a conference call to god. Their voices were pure, unspoilt, innocent and so beautiful.

They call themselves Khepa, as in mad. Beautifully, happily mad. To wander around singing. About god, nature, the universe.

And the thing is, I never had a role model. Or someone I wanted to be like. But at this ripe old age, it dawns on me. Kanahi Khepa and Deb Das Baul. They are what I want to be all my life.

Khepa. Akdom khepa.

(that's kanahi khepa in front and deb das baul behind him) And here's a video of deb das baul singing last night)


Corinne Rodrigues said...

Never been to Bengal - though I've admired its people for their passion for literature and the arts. To watch your video was a reaffirmation of what I think of when I think Bengal. Thank you for sharing this. How wonderful to go about doing the 'work' you love and care two hoots for what everyone else thinks!

Grayquill said...

Here I sit in my home in the US and you took me into your home with your video. WOW! pretty amazing time we live in!
The music was interesting - I of course could not understand the language - my loss. Your dog seemed to like it and understand it all:) Thank you for sharing.
Start playing and singing.
Thank you!

Pinku said...


U are so did you find these guys..and how did u get them to come to your place??


would love to be khepa too....and I think in someways u and me already are...thats the reason these guys touch us so much.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm...................................................

Spaz Kumari said...

This is probably asking too much, but can you post the video in a non youtube, easy loading format, preferably vimeo? My college blocks youtube, and I've never heard baul music though I'd love to.

Dr. Rupa Shah said...

Hi...anyone who sings with their soul fully woven in it....reaches our soul straight no matter what is the language and what are the words! It is the universal language!