13 December 2005

31 years ago

It was a day I shall never forget as long as I live. I had to beg my mom for weeks to let me go. My first concert ever was to be the one and only George Harrison. As I was just twelve years old, I was only recently immersed in the phenomena known as the Beatles. My cousin had just obtained the Let It Be album and when I saw that cover picture of George smiling so brightly I was hooked. Perhaps it was due to the generousity of the season, perhaps it was because an office mate of my mom's was also going to go, but she finally consented to let me and my girlfriend go, chaperoned by her co-worker. (Mom was not the type to attend rock concerts, poor girl.)

I was enthralled with the Ravi Shankar indian music portion (though Ravi was absent due to illness, his Indian orchestra did go on). And I grooved to the Billy Preston funky tunes. But my heart soared at the sight and sounds of George and his guitar. His aura and essence filled the Capital Centre arena in Landover Maryland. And I was never going to be the same after that day.

That same day, George and the band was invited to the White House as a guest of President Ford's son. He was the only Beatle to ever do so. He exchanged an "Om" button for a Ford "WIN" (Whip Inflation Now) button.

In hindsight, I know now that it was clearly fate that brought me there. I had no idea how rare it was to become to have seen a Beatle. And yet he was much more than a Beatle to me. He became a spiritual polestar for me in many ways.

I continued to follow his career, craving every tidbit of news I could find about him. Living in the Material World was fundamental to surviving my adolesence. I was horrifed when he was attacked. And I wept when he finally left this plane. But I still feel his influence, whenever I meditate. He was instrumental is leading me to my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda.

There are few days which really stand out in my life, the birth of my children among them, but 13 Decmber 1974 is a day which I will always remember.

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