My first rave [party] was a spontaneous plan I made with four friends. A Brazilian psychedelic trance project, Baphomet Engine, was playing in Karjat, close to Mumbai. Given the stringent rules against raves, it was a tight-lip event.
When we arrived at 2 am, there were over 450 people there. The energy was good, the music loud, a few people dancing. Everyone seemed to be smiling from ear to ear. Some people were drinking alcohol, others were on chemical drugs. We ourselves were smoking marijuana. Everyone respected each other’s privacy. But not everyone was on drugs, as is widely believed of raves.
When I get a party invite, I get excited, but as the day comes closer, paranoia kicks in. I wonder if the organisers have taken a licence. Else, the police could come and harass everyone. In India, there is also ignorance of emergency medical aid.
Once, when I was at a club called Bombay 72 in Juhu to hear an artist called Technodrome, a man announced that we had been raided. The police locked the exits and started frisking everyone. The phone lines were blocked so no one could call for help. Boys were grabbed by their collars, some were even slapped. Girls were frisked by female cops, who called them names, raised questions on their family values and went as far as to say that they looked like whores.
In batches, we were taken to the police station, where they locked us in a car garage. Later, we were taken to a government hospital. The interns there took our blood and urine samples. For the next 14 months, we went through court appearances, personality tests and detox tests. Finally, to close my case, my lawyer bribed the public prosecutor with Rs 4,000.
Society’s tunnel vision has created this scare of rave parties. They think people at such events have no morals or values. That it’s a platform for kids to engage in sex and drugs.
As told to Sidrah Fatma Ahmed