Tuesday, December 11, 2007

San Francisco Psychedelia

"Lets start with crashing the McKinsey holiday party".
Any evening that begins with this remark has a potential to go in any direction. And needs proper preparations. A suit, for instance. For which i had to bring out an old friend from imminent retirement. I have had this black suit for about 7 years now .. bought it when i moved from development to presales (predicting that i would need some formal clothing). Well, it has seen many a wedding (Including the famous Deepak Arya matrimony) and holiday parties. But, it is in the last stages of its life, with shoulders sagging a little bit .. and it was the only option available at this short notice. Annamootai promised a shirt. I had black shoes. This made up a acceptable combination which would ensure that we would not be thrown out by the security. Annamootai's dwelling was designated as the base for the evening.

And there were the tried and tested natural products for achieving a state of mind elevation which is needed to survive such an evening. Two small ones were rolled (hey .. backup is always good) and duly stashed.
Found cabs pretty easily all evening (which was lucky - this is supposed to be one of most busy nights for cabbies in SF). First stop was the Sacred Heart school in Pac Heights where Anna made an appearance, while I had a drink at the bar. Then we made our way to the Asian Arts Museum.

Met up with some old friends from previous holiday parties (I did crash the same party last year too !). Jack and Sarah were there. Nice food. Free booze. Some good looking women. I was soon making polite (and hopefully logical) conversation with random folks. The DJ started playing some quite lame music. I later found out that he had been instructed to play only "safe" songs. People were dancing. I did manage to take a tour of the museum at one point in time (10 minutes .. thats all i could stand). But somehow the end of the evening found just two enthusiastic people on the floor, requesting some Dr Dre from the DJ. No points for guessing who these were.

This place was closing down. We went outside, and partook the green stuff. On to Bubble Lounge for the afterparty. (Yeah .. i know .. lameass bar, but again, the promise of free booze is a powerful magnet). Met some more old friends. I guess Annamootai did too, because by the time we left, he was getting desperate text messages. Hit the local taco joint to get some food, and ordered a burrito to go. Which was very important for the next stage of the evening. This was about 3:30 AM. This burrito was used to assist in the consumption of a different variety of flora. Yes .. the 'shrooms !! At this point I advised Anna to go and do his thing .. the lady friend was waiting. And i fell asleep, just barely registering the fact that my consciousness was elevating to another level.

Woke up when Annamootai came back at sunrise. Woke up to a beautiful sunrise. I have rarely seen such a clear and bright day in SF. No, this was even true without accounting for my enhanced state of mind. Piled on some clothes and ventured out onto the patio. There could not have been a better time, or a better place, to enjoy the new discoveries I was making about the hidden recesses of my own mind. Explosions of pleasure were bursting out in a spontaneous manner. Colors were vivid and flowing. The sharp chill in the patio was contrasting very nicely with the comfortable warmth of Anna's living room couch. We did talk to each other, but soon realized that words were not the right medium to express thoughts at that point.

I did take some pictures .. although i was restricted by the absence of any decent camera.
Anna should have some better ones in his blackberry, which i will upload later.

Anyway .. today I will not describe what I went through that morning. I will leave that to another time, when I am a little more sure of it. Suffice to say, it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Tried to get some sleep in the afternoon. Read an interesting book, Whatever, by Michel Houellebecq. And spent a relaxing evening at Casanova and Pad Thai.

So some observations on Annamootai. At a time when I was quite drunk (and stoned), and would have just gone to sleep, Anna pushes to consume some 'shrooms, goes to fulfill a duty, and comes back home because he has promised me that he will be back. Ah .. and in the morning, he calls up Gemma, who by chance is going to India at the same time as him. And is showing some signs of finally falling for our boy. As i remarked to Daju, he might be born with a deep connection with the "force", which is usually interpreted as being "lucky". People have been trying to achieve this in various ways - meditation, religion, cults - but I now think that there are folks who are born with it. More on this later :-)

Goa : Up in smoke !

This was quite a spontaneous trip. Navin said that he would be coming to Goa on the weekend of the 1st Dec (Thurs-Sun), and I decided to join him, even though I was planning to go to San Fran on the 3rd. Figured i could enjoy three days of sun and sand. And Navin promised to introduce me to the underground party scene in Goa, because Noura had some contacts there.

Well .. we did stay in North Goa to be near the scene, but never did make it to any gig. Because we spent 3 days stoned to the gills. Eating, drinking and smoking up were the main focus.
Noura managed to procure a starter pack from friend of hers. That was for the Thursday evening. We did meet Colin that night (he was occupying the room above Navin's) who offered some really nice stuff. We sat by the pool listening to the old tried and tested iPod stereo. Noura and I were alternately DJing, so the music was fresh at all times. Colin also enthralled us with some stories from his much-chequered past. Or his fictional much-chequered past !

Next day, I got my rented bike, and we drove for an hour to this isolated beach past Arambol, where Noura proved her resourcefulness by finding more sources. After this, we were set for the weekend. Highlights were some excellent grilled Pomfret, cold beer, and the discovery that being stoned really does not impair your ability to drive (my theory is that it is a very instinctive activity, so dont need the higher faculties of the brain). Of course, trying to find your way is a totally different thing ! But Navin/Noura did manage to guide us home every night.

And we did manage to catch "Goldmember", playing in one of the roadside bars. And the very end of "Pulp Fiction". (Note to self : Watch Pulp Fiction atleast once every 6 months)

I remember sitting on the same chair for six hours one afternoon. Food and drinks were on tap, local women were selling fresh fruits, and we were watching the convoluted attempts of many a goggle-eyed tourist to surreptitiously include the scantily clad sunbathing women in their pictures and videos.

Then there was "Curlees", where there is this small area of moss covered stones on the beach, little kids playing with hippie parents, good electronic music floating out. Life was good