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Fear and Loathing in Karur

natural psychodelia
Ilya Zhuravlev

In the distant already 2001, preparing to my first trip to India, I came across one Russian website aimed to help backpackers. It was Achababa’s site and on its front page there was a quotation of one Russian hippie: "And then the mother-India took me whole".

This short phrase says a lot. India is the country of contrasts; it is deep and funny at the same time as "Kin Dza Dza planet" where metaphysical “insights” happen naturally sometimes, as if influenced by local vibrations, and go together with scenes of everyday’s life which may look absurd for a western eye, with an explosive mixture of the beautiful and the dirty. Once visiting the real India (Goa does not count, as it has no Indian spirit and vibrations, it is more a place for young western hedonists to hangout in winter and for a greedy resort business run by locals and western sub-leaseholders) - a person either gets addicted to it for the rest of his life, or runs away from this "terrible dirt and delusion" with no desire to return.

Once we’ve talked with one of our experienced Russian yogis about why almost all "places of power" in India, where the people with abilities to feel "something subtle" experience an alternate state of mind (in a positive sense and not very), are so crappy and phantasmagoric in terms of casual life. "It’s done on purpose," Dinesh told, "to keep the dupes away." This Video-essay is made of spontaneous video recordings taken five years ago in a small town of Karur located in the central part of Tamil Nadu state. This place is absolutely non-touristic; it lives its usual local life. We were joking with Misha Baranov that for a representative of the "civilized megalopolis" it would become a harsh psychedelic trip to suddenly get into such an atmosphere, hence the name.