Sunday, June 18, 2006


Today's Vocabulary Words:

Five Minutes = never / in several weeks
Parwageela = Kannada for "No problem"

After not one, not two, but THREE trips to his out-of-the-way shop near the Piles and Fistula Clinic, the genious rock star tailor Sachin STILL has not finished stitching my dresses, which were to be completed by Friday. In fact, I found them sitting on the counter today -- in the same (unmade) condition they were a week ago. When, o when will I learn?

I spend a good part of the afternoon putting off my backbending homework and penning a long post about all of the fabulous books I've been reading and putting it onto the portable thumb-drive. Lucky for you (and much to my chagrin), the only interweb place with (a single) ISB port is closed this evening.

The writing took place after the chai came -- an hour after I'd asked for it.

Did I mention that it took 30 hours to get water last week? Five minutes my ass....

I've been ordering 20-litre bottles of the supersafe triple-sterilized H20; usually I call in the morning and it arrives in the afternoon. But last time it never came -- despite repeated calls, including a couple to the boss. By hour 28 I'd finished my four backup litres and was parched. Yet I was loathe to purchase another small bottle or two to tide me over -- too wasteful. But I was dying of thirst and becoming livid over the unkept promises of "five minutes coming Madam, no problem." So at 8PM I got on the scooter and rode over to the Lakshmipuram Nilgiris -- the formerly fancy supermarket that has become quite dirty (and the employees quite surly) in recent years. The cool air felt good, and I picked up two five-litre returnable bottles of Bisleri, one of the best brands. While checking out I came out of my funk long enough to notice that 8PM seems to be prime shopping time for the city's tall hot young male Bollywood types, which further improved my mood.

The water finally came long after my bedtime -- at 10PM.

Today Sharath led the 5AM primary series class (usually Guruji leads on Sunday), which was a treat because his counting (ie, how many breaths we take in each pose) is slower and links up nicely with my breathing. Guruji was in Bangalore, so Sharath also led the intermediate class that followed. One cannot help but wonder if that came as a surprise to the film (not video) crew that was there to shoot it for their doc about Guruji.

Later there was a long breakfast at the Green Hotel, which hosts an organic market every Sunday at 10AM. Westerners filled every seat at the outdoor restaurant, and everyone was chattering. At one point we starting talking about Questions People Would Like to Ask at Conference But Don't Dare. I won't list them here -- too dangerous -- but feel free to add your own in the "comments" section. Suffice to say there are many rumors that are itching to be cleared up: Is Guruji building a shala in Bangalore for (granddaughter) Sharmila? Will he teach there a couple of days each week? Is Sharath building another shala in Mysore? What happens if a lady on holiday (ie; menstruating) defiles the shala? And of course there's the Pandora's Box of questions about Guruji and asana (doing the poses) and if / when / why he gave up that part of the practice....

That said, there was no conference today.

It also came up this morning that according to both Pattabhi Jois's Yoga Mala and BKS Iyengar's Light on Yoga, just about all of the poses in the ashtanga primary series -- which I've been doing almost daily for the past nine years -- help get rid of piles.

At least there's that....


  1. You need to find a good Oriental tailor. 2 days max!

    Triple sterilized water?

    How about some beer?

  2. Some sellers prefer vegetarians>

    BOMBAY, India -- Never mind pets, smokers or loud music at 2 a.m. House hunters in Bombay increasingly are being asked: "Do you eat meat?"

    If yes, the deal is off.

    As this city of 16 million becomes the cosmopolitan main nerve of a booming Indian economy, real estate is increasingly intersecting with cuisine. More middle-class Indians are moving in, more of them are vegetarian, and the law is on their side.

    "Some people are very strict. They won't sell to a non-vegetarian even if he offers a higher price than a vegetarian," said broker Norbert Pinto.

    Vegetarianism is a centuries-old custom among Hindus, Jains and others in India. The government reckons India has some 220 million vegetarians, more than anywhere else in the world.

    "Veg or non-veg?" is heard constantly in restaurants, at dinner parties and on airlines. And the question has long been an unwritten part of the interrogation house hunters must submit to.

    But it's becoming more open, and the effects more noticeable, all the more so in Bombay, which attracts immigrants from Gujarat and Rajasthan, strongly vegetarian states, and followers of the Jain religion.

    In constitutionally secular India, there's no bar to forming a housing society and making an apartment block exclusively Catholic or Muslim, Hindu or Zoroastrian.

    Vegetarians say they too need segregation.

    "I live in a cosmopolitan society," said Jayantilal Jain, trustee of a charity group. "But vegetarians should be given the right to admit who they want."

    Rejected home-seekers have mounted a slew of court challenges to the power of housing societies to discriminate, but last year India's highest tribunal ruled the practice legal.

    "It's just not fair. It's a monopoly by vegetarians," said Kiran Talwar, 49, a prosthetics engineer who has seen vegetarianism take over restaurants and groceries all over his childhood neighborhood on posh Nepeansea Road.

    While Indians are accustomed to housing societies demarcated by religion, separation by diet has meat-eaters worried. Bombay likes to think of itself as open to the world, and some worry that the vegetarian tide goes against that trend.

    Vikramaditya Ugra, a young Bombay banker in search of an apartment, said vegetarian colonies were fine in neighboring Gujarat, a state dominated by vegetarians, "but to impose this restriction is not right in a cosmopolitan city like Bombay."

    Ravi Bhandari, a 68-year-old retired businessman, said he tried to lease his apartment to an Indian oil company but the housing society nixed the deal.

    "They said the first tenant is vegetarian, but who knows who will replace him?" he said.

    By Ramola Talwar Badam
    Associated Press
    Published June 18, 2006