Wednesday, August 01, 2007


It rained like crazy yesterday; since there was no official practice I slept late, did a (criminal) home practice, had my bath, did my sitting and some work and didn't leave the lodge until heading to Three Sisters at 2PM.

After lunch La Profesora and I made our way through the rain to Joy House, which is meant to have the best chai in the city and was a destination for students when the old shala was open. The chai took forever and was so-so.

The rain was still pounding when I donned the orange poncho and drove La Profesora over to the old shala. Afterwards I picked up a few things at Nilgiri's grocery store, where the woman in front of me looked at my small boxes of soymilk and asked if it tasted good. "No," I said. "Not really."

It was still pouring when I rode home. I was supposed to go to the browsing center but was chilled and tired. So I changed clothes and went under the covers for half an hour.

I awakened refreshed but it was still raining. So I put on my jerkin, grabbed my umbrella, and walked to the internet place. On the way I passed Harini from Three Sisters. She gestured towards the rain and said, "No one will go out in this."

It was still raining in the evening, when Ammu and I went to see the Kannada film Mungaru Malay (Monsoon Rain). It's been running for over 200 days, which means it's a big hit.

I thought it moved rather slowly, but it was shot entirely in beautiful, hilly Kodagu (aka Coorg, 110km southwest of Mysore) during the monsoon and was visually stunning. Lots of rain and waterfalls. Again the hero (again played by Ganesh, who has lovely teeth by the way) did not get the girl -- but only because he did the right thing.

He also got the villian to do the right thing, too -- by convincing him to let the heroine marry the tall, very fair-skinned man her parents had arranged for her.

The heroine of course began the film wearing jeans and tops that exposed her shoulders (still somewhat risque, from what I understand). As is often the case wtih Kannada films, by the end she was in Indian dress (which if you ask me looks a whole hell of a lot better on 90 percent of the population, whatever their ethnicity).

Most interesting to me was the fact that the villian was never seen without his black Chicago Bulls monkey cap.


Today I was dining on scrambled tofu, ragi toast and masala chai and chatting with Deepak at Chakra house when a trio of women walked in.

They were speaking a language I could not identify.

And one of them was wearing a Chicago Cubs jacket.

I pointed to her top, and told her the Cubs are in first place and that I live near their baseball field.

"What is it?" she asked, in accented English.

She had no idea what "Cubs" means.

I told her that they're a baseball team that is (was?) in first place but they would choke -- that they're perennial losers but everyone loves them anyway.

Turns out she and her friends were from Denmark. I told them my last name is Danish but they didn't seem too impressed by that, either.



Today I was working on my backbends when Sharath, who was adjusting someone nearby, asked, "Caca! What you did today?" I told him I'd gone up to Ustrasana (Camel Pose, which is a few poses into intermediate series) and he nodded in an approving way.

Lino was also practicing in the front row, a few spots away.

Before doing my testing-the-waters bouncing, I looked over at Rama and left it in his hands (ie; I prepared myself mentally by leaving it up to the gods whether or not I stood up from backbend)

After a few bounces, I stood without much fuss.

I was in the midst of my first dramatic (ie, slow, so that my hands land reallyclose to my feet) dropback from standing into backbend when the woman to my left went into Prasarita Padottanasana C, and (lightly) hit me as she placed her clasped hands and arms on my mat.

I realized that if I tried to stand up again, one of us would wind up in the hospital.

So I laughed, collapsed, rolled onto my side, clumsily stood up, and waited for her to come out of the pose and extricate herself from my mat.

Then I did three of the best dropbacks I've ever executed, with no extra breaths and no pauses in between.

In other words, with no fear.

It felt like I was floating.

Yes, my feet were splayed, but it was almost effortless -- like how I'd always dreamed it could be.

The third time I stood up, I found myself face-to-face with Saraswati.

Her timing is impeccable.


After class I said hello to Lino, who was sitting in the waiting area and saying something about "fresh air." He pointed towards the front door.

There was Guruji, with his cane, taking the air.



The other day Ammu and I saw the police pulling over two-wheel drivers who were not wearing helmets.

Which reminds me....

I think I figured out why so many (male) two-wheel drivers keep their helmet on the crook of their elbow while driving, rather than on their head where it belongs.

It's not because they need an elbow protector.

It's not because the helmet looks stupid.

I think it's because the helmet will ruin their hair.

(There seems to be no stigma here for men about taking care of their hair. Salons are often called Hair Dresses, and in general the men here do seem to go there regularly. The result is really great, beautifully-styled hair wherever you look. Not like Germany, where it is one hair disaster after another [although their cutting-edge eyeglasses almost made up for it. Almost]).



Something has finally knocked Mohammed Haneef off the cover of the Bangalore Mirror.

It's not the Indo-US nuke pact.

It's not the country's first female president.

It's not yesterday's cricket victory over England.

It's not even actor Sanjay Dutt's six year sentence for his invovelment in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, which resulted in over 250 civilian fatalities and 700 injuries.


It's a story about hijaras (eunuchs in saris) harassing Kannada film star Darshan for money (this is how hijaras make a living; if you refuse to give them money, they can curse you. Or something like that). Darshan did not have his wallet, so he asked his producer to give them some money. They looked at the Rs 100 note and demanded 400 more, saying, "Give us more money for our good wishes." Apparently all of this was said in Telugu (language of nearby Andhra Pradesh). Not only are there pictures, but a sidebar tells readers what to do if accosted (don't get scared, don't run away, don't pay them what they demand, stay cool; worst case = file a complaint at nearest police station). Ah, India!


  1. Europeans are not impressed with Americans who point out any connections they may have to Europe. We're just Americans to them, regardless of where our ancestors may have come from.

  2. Happy Belated Birthday!
    Have been celebrating Guru Purnima in Pomona CA with Guruji during the full moon. Also just came out of silence. (Probably shouldn't have).xoxo