Wednesday, February 04, 2004

HIGHWAY TO HELL

Here in Mysore there are few stop signs, no speed limits and nobody (except other vehicles) to slow us down. Nonetheless I was able to pilot the scooter to the shala and back again w/o apparent mishap (and w/o asphyxiating myself on the way there, when I was following the rickshaw. BTW there are few pollution controls here).

I had a tired, weak practice but that was OK (except for the part where the woman next to me – who apparently thought she was the only person in the room -- repeatedly and unapologetically dragged her very long fingernails across my face, arms etc) . There is a car that plays the theme from “Love Story” every time it backs up and we were treated to more bars of that song today (cars here have backup songs, as do some water filters). Partway through Sharath announced that since Friday is a full moon (no practice), tomorrow (Thurs) would be considered the end of the week, and we could choose to do led primary series at 5:30 or 6:30 AM. We are leaning towards the former as there will probably be fewer people and Bick will still have coconuts when we come out (he ran out today… just between all of you and me they’re not the nicest coconuts I’ve seen and they’ve gone up from Rs 5 in 2002 to Rs 7 [they’re 6 in the city center; before last night’s Scooter Lesson P and I had a couple of really nice ones from the Coconut Family -- they are friends of Suddha’s and delightful]). Guruji again helped me in backbends -- I only did six – and told me “very good” during that and the forward fold that follows. He has a rather nasty cough which is worrisome. After bowing to his feet later (followed by a hug/kiss) I asked about it and he said it’s getting better, not worse. That’s good news as he’s, like, 88 .

Big-time teachers who are here right now include Lino, Eddie Stern, Annie Pace, some British guy named Alex and Nancy Gilgoff, who arrived yesterday and is also a fan of the color purple. Folks I know from the last trip include Randy-from-the-DC-area, who is sporting short hair / beard and lives here nine months out of the year, Jeff-from-NY plus others I can’ t recall right now as I am experiencing a serious coffee buzz-inspired memory lapse (two cups would be too many, I think).

Afterwards we again had the excellent coffee at Tony n Holly’s interactive B&B, sitting next to some cute Finn girls. A friend of T’s came over and did a fashion show and tell for us; he had some cool Hanuman stuff and explained temple etiquette and showed us the clothes that had been designed by him and sewn by Krishna, who costs a bit more but is worth it (the other tailor everyone uses is Manju; both sew their nametags into their clothes). I’m kind of tailored out after yesterday’s run-in w/ the guy who is putting together our custom-made Punjabi dresses http://www.shrishti.net/product1.htm (you choose the unconstructed dress and then they make it to fit you, which is a blessing for overfed Westerners with overdeveloped ashtanga shoulders and ribcage). I found the place on my last day last time around and it is wall-to-ceiling dresses in every color, style and price range – all waiting to be sewn together. I chose a crazy bright blue and green number and a plum-colored cotton one that seemed like a good idea til I went to the tailor (we walked; we were hungry, it was hot and it was far away) and he started telling me it was too thin and would have to be lined. I didn’t like that it’d be 1). Hotter and 2). Three times the quoted price so I got into it w/ him at the same time Miss Y was trying to tell me where the rest of the gang were going to eat (they didn’t want to wait for me; I blame it on low blood sugar) and I snapped a bit. Then I went back to arguing with the tailor. I decided to go w/ the other plum number I’d been looking at, which was an additional Rs 100 (just over $2) and would not need lining. It was a whole thing but I at least won the battle (the outcome of the war will be determined when I see the finished products). If I were Carrie Bradshaw, I’d put on an outfit, pour a drink and type, “Are tailors the new boyfriends?” But I’m not, so I’m wearing unfashionably baggy clothes, thinking about peeing, and typing many, many paragraphs….

Right now I’m sitting next to Bindi, who’s wearing a bindi (sticker placed at the third eye, or center of consciousness). The woman on the other side is yet another teacher from Chicago (“D”) who is dabbling -- I mean studying -- with the very popular Sheshadri, who apparently speaks very good English and gives out lots and lots of adjustments (sorry folks; I’m a devotee of Pattabhi Jois who has been teaching for 60-odd years [most of that time for very little or no money] and if the choice is between him and one of his students, well, I choose to go to the source. If this makes you want to label me as being divisive, go right ahead)………

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