Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Mysore Christmas

December 24th... Christmas Eve

Mysore practice in the morning. I arrive and it seems busier than ever. More students must have signed up at the shala. The waiting foyer is PACKED. I wait. And wait. And wait. My butt gets sore from sitting on my rolled up mat. After an hour it was my turn to go in to the room. I looked up at the giant clock. 10am. Great, I knew I would have to rush, since technically practice is supposed to be over at 11am, and I had to do the full primary series plus a bunch of postures from intermediate too. Rats. The room was emptying out. People were finishing and leaving. There were a few scattered mats of misfits practicing, including me. It's pretty weird to practice in a near empty shala since it's usually brimming over. I rush through my postures and stand up for backbending. Sharath walks over to me and in a pissed off voice and with a pissed off face he says to me "Your practice is too long", meaning he wants to get the hell outta here, not help me with drop backs at 11:15am.

At that moment a million things nearly blurted out of my face, like "My practice isn't too long, my start time is too late" or "All the new people went ahead of me" or "May I have an earlier start time please?" or "YOU gave me all these damn postures! Of course my practice is long!" or "sob...sob...." or... I think "FU" actually crossed my mind for a moment along with all of the other thoughts. It was not my finest moment. I was upset and angry because I am here to practice, I have paid good money, I am going too fast as it is, and I don't really want to be made to feel like shit for no real reason. I ended up saying absolutely nothing, which was the right choice. I angrily dropped back and walked in to touch my heels. I sat down for my back squish and nearly cried into my shins. But I didn't. I got up and marched into the changeroom. I did my closing postures like a flash of light, still angry and feeling insulted. I left the shala and my poor friends were sitting drinking coconuts and I just let 'er rip. I was a complainy-puss. Another girl heard it and came over and said she got the same line and was also very angry about it. I'm glad I wasn't the only one having un-yogic thoughts. We had a laugh. CHRISTMAS EVE... I had to turn this around!

I chilled out at home for a while and took Raaji for a big long walk, including a stop at a popular yogi breakfast place. Raaji was pleased to be able to say hi to everyone. I went to the tailor and did a few other errands with dog in tow.

Two friends were heading to a movie so I tagged along. We get there and it's sold out. So are all of the later ones. Boo. We buy a ticket for the next day. Then we shop instead.

Line budding/butting is super common here. As if there is no such thing as a queue or fairness. One person went in front of me, who only had one thing. No biggie. Then another lady comes out of nowhere and puts her stuff in front of mine. I put my arm out to block her and say NO. The cashier says "only 3 things ma'am" I roll my eyes in disapproval and she gets that I am in a bad mood and not cool with it so she actually served me first, which surprised me. Of course my friend is also at the check out watching me be an impatient bitch. Also not my finest moment.

We head outside to get a rickshaw and say where we want to go. We say "Gokulum, 50 rupees" (technically, it should be 40, or even less if we used the meter, but we came for 50 so we offered 50. "60" they say. We head to one rickshaw and the other two pile in and I say "For 50 right?" He says, "60". I say "Why? We came for 50 and it's more than fair". "60" Again I roll my eyes at the blatant taking advantage of foreigners (by the way, 10 rupee difference is NOTHING, like maybe .18 cents, but it's the principle and the attitude and I feel like sometimes we need to fight back a little bit before this treatment gets out of hand). In the rickshaw as we are taking off, I say to him "You know, the sign IN YOUR CAR says if you demand more money than the meter, we should contact the police." He mocks me and says "Oh yes, ma'am, please do." What a joke. What a day. I want to hit someone!

Merry Christmas eve to me. I email home to Toronto then I go to sleep.

December 25th ... Christmas Day

Mysore practice in the morning. I no longer care that my start time is 930am. I go to the shala at 830am. I don't want to be rushed and I don't want to get in trouble. I shimmy up and get in to the room by 920am. I set up my mat and feel like a bit of a naughty cheater. I also am happy to enjoy my practice. I go slowly. I get to my first balance and Sharath stands in front of me and says "Your start time 930?" Uh oh, I think I am about to get in trouble for starting to early. He says "OK, 930. The meter is running." and taps his wrist where a watch would go and laughs. Oh, he's making a joke out of yesterday. Of course I fell out of my balance. He laughed and said sorry. I guess that lightened things up. Like yesterday we had a fight and today we made up. The rest of my practice was nice and relaxed and my hating was over. My drop back assistant again tried to pull my hand to grab my leg, but something funny happened. My leg moved away from my hand in resistance. Like some weird muscle memory, my body was saying NO to catching! Like a puppet. I came up and he said "Your body doesn't want". I KNOW! Sharath asked me what my last pose was, I said laghu vajrasana. He said to show him (meaning, if I can do it, I will get the next pose). I said 'tomorrow'. He nodded and said 'tomorrow you show me'. Phew. I did NOT want kapotasana for Christmas! I finished all of my closing poses and rested. I cleaned up in the changeroom and left the shala. I looked up at the clock on my way out and it was 10:50am. SAFE! I turned around and pressed my palms together in thanks to Sharath. He looked over to acknowledge. Then I also pointed up at the clock and gave him the thumbs up, and he laughed out loud. All better.

We had chanting class and I gave Lakshmish a card and a bottle of Canadian maple syrup. He had no idea what it was, but hopefully he figures it out and enjoys it!

I headed off to lunch at the Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel with a bunch of friends. I apologized to the two I was with on xmas eve, for being such a shit head. It was a new day. We all exchanged a few little cute thoughtful gifts which were really special. We all put sparkly blingy bindis on our foreheads. The buffet was fantastic, worth every rupee. We ate slowly and had course after course after course. I had THREE servings of plum pudding and half a bottle of wine. IT'S THE HOLIDAYS!

We were there for 3 hours then we all went in our own directions. I decided to walk downtown to shop a little. I was looking for some gold jewellery and also wanted to visit the cauvery which is an arts and crafts emporium. I only ended up going into one jewellery shop and didn't love anything. I saw a gross motorboke accident involving two girls and one guy. About 50 people crowded into the street in total chaos. I check on the two girls who had cuts and scrapes and bumps only. They were ok. I asked if they called the ambulance. They said "We have to call an ambulance?" "YES! Right away!" They did. I saw the guy being carried off the street buy a bunch of men. He looked either unconscious or semi-conscious, which was obviously not good. They carried him inside to a store and about 20 people followed. Normally I would be all over this, ready to help, splint, immobilize, CPR, whatever was needed. But, it didn't seem right in this instance. I didn't speak their language, I DID consider the health risks if I had to do anything major, and I had also had half a bottle of wine. I walked away feeling shaken up and guilty for not helping, but it just wasn't my place. FIRST thing I never would have let them move him off the street. This wasn't my rodeo. I just hoped that the ambulance would arrive ASAP and handle the situation. I wondered how often this happened here. Must be ALL the time. No helmets. No rules. Dangerous. Yuck. I walked for a bit in a daze. 

I was crossing a busy street a little while later and was looking up and around for flying traffic, and slipped in a big pile of cow shit. I finished crossing the street and looked down. It wasn't good. Up the back of my leg. All over my flip flops. Between my toes. Gross. A guy came over and said "GOOD LUCK!" Uh, I don't really think this is too lucky. I sit down on a step and used tissue in my bag to clean it and I had a wet wipe (THANK GOD!) to do a little poo maintenance. Not bad, mostly clean. The shoes can stay pooey. I went into the cauvery and wondered if I smelled like cowpoo. I bought a few wood OM carvings.

I left and wandered up and around a few streets aimlessly, sort of knowing where I was. I happened upon the dog supply store. They had the crate I needed. I bought it. They had locking food bowls (the other store couldn't get) and I just happened to see absorbant puppy training pads on the shelf, which I was told you couldn't get in India. Head smack. I got everything I needed and hitched a rickshaw back to Gokulum. He said name my price. I did and off we went. Easy peasy. Must be Christmas!

Oh yeah, all day long the locals were saying to me "HAPPY CHRISTMAS" and shaking my hand LOL. 

I got home to a watermelon in a bag, hanging on my door. Santa brought me a watermelon!! Actually! 

I went to the movie later, with my friends. It was pretty good. It was called "DHOOM 3" featuring a popular Hindi actor. It was 25% english and 75% Hindi, no subtitles, but we could figure out what was going on. There were babies in the theater, kids, cell phones, talking, laughing... Haha, that would never fly back home! The movie was a little long (3 hours) but all in all it was fun. I went home, emailed with my mom and hit the hay around 1030pm, a late night for me here! I saw and heard that there was lots of fluffy white snow back home which I haven't seen on Christmas day in YEARS. Of course it happened the year I go away!!! 

Dec 26... Boxing Day

Mysore practice in the morning. I went around 845am and got in at an ok time. I wouldn't have to rush too much. I had a regular practice, starting on the stage and moving to the floor mid-sitting postures. I get to laghu vajrasana and the boss was sitting in his chair. I make eye contact with him and he nods. I do the pose. I am at about breath 4 and he says "Come up". I do. He says "kapotasana". Ok... He goes to help someone bind in another pose but I think he was watching me at the same time. I freaking HOPE so because I did the pose amazingly! Haha... So bad to say so, but it doesn't happen too often, for me. I think because my body has had a break from this pose for about three weeks, the muscle memory is gone, my back is loose(ish) and my body wasn't afraid. I lean back. I look at my toes. I breathe and push hard into the tops of my feet to engage my legs. My fingers reach towards my toes. I stay and breathe letting my chest open and my shoulders stretch. I engage my bandhas. My fingers touch down close to my feet. I start to walk my hands closer, on the outsides of my feet. I feel like I reach my max. I straighten my arms and push my hips forward. I breathe. I walk in more. I feel my ankles. I walked my hands onto my feet and voila, there are my heels. Hallelujah. It's a Boxing Day miracle. I take 5 slow breaths. I straighthen my arms and take 5 slightly faster breaths. I come up. I don't puke. I finished my practice with a little glow and a little bit of a tight back, but not too bad.

I went home and made banana pomegranate pancakes with maple syrup then I headed to the pool with Emily for a day lounging in the sun. It was very relaxing. 

I also diagnosed myself today, via google (haha) with giardia. I have had diarrhea every morning, from mild to medium (except for that one magical explosive morning, see past blog!). I am always fine after that, nothing midday or evening, no sickness or cramps. SO, the internet tells me I most likely have giardia, a pretty common parasite here. My ferrets had it when I first got them LOL. So, I researched on the internet for the best drug and appropriate dose (really safe, right?!)  and I went to the pharmacy and got my drugs. It's that easy. And it was 8 rupees (.14 cents). Total for 21 pills. I have taken one already... Let's see how I feel in a few days! "Flagyl" 200mg, 3 x day, 7 days. If anyone thinks this is a really BAD idea please speak up ;) I'll let you know how it goes!

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