Beck-the-coconut-wallah. Coconuts were Rs 4 or 5 on my first trip. Now they're Rs 10, or about a quarter
TOP TO BOTTOM
I took the pharmacist's magic tablets yesterday - the brown one and the yellow one, after lunch and dinner - and felt bloated and stopped up. I drank the rehydration salts and gallons of water. But when I got up at 4 this morning the urine was amber in color, which was rather alarming. After some hot lemon water and a brief sit, I went through the pitch dark morning to the shala - where there were to be two led primary series classes, since Friday is a moon day.
When I arrived the first session ( shala time) was already in progress. Apparently I was the first 6AM person to arrive; No one else was around, and the first batch was only on Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana. I'm so used to Guruji's fast count ("The Guruji Express") that it didn't occur to me to come later. Since the lobby / waiting room was full of people practicing - it was a full house - I parked my bottom on the top of the steps, in front of the door. The situation was conducive to a nice sit, and I took full advantage of it. As more students arrived, they began to chat and chat and chat. But I did not shussh.
When we finally went in, I parked my mat front and center, just a few feet from Sharath on the stage. His count was as slow as I remember it, if not slower, and the body was a bit weak from the stomach problem and/or the mystery drugs taken to alleviate it. I did not recognize a single person in my batch, by the way. Either the place is full of newbies, or I'm out of the loop. Anyway Sharath's count became even more slow during poses such as Navasana, which no one likes because it requires a lot of strength. Of course he made a joke during the final one, referring to tomorrow's moon day (there's no class on the new and full moon) followed by the Saturday (the weekly day off): "You can do it. Two days off you can rest."
Sharath did part of the class while sitting in a small chair behind Guruji's thronelike chair in the center of the stage. It was oddly symbolic; the empty chair, the small one behind it. Then his daughter Shradda came in, hugged him, and plopped herself in the throne chair. She then picked up a spray bottle of water (used for a pose called Garba Pindasana) and proceeded to aim it at the students in the front row. But she did not shoot.
Near the end of class, Sharath poked his head out the front door and shusshed the people making noise outside, and I felt somewhat vindicated. "Copy the teacher," Dharma always says.
After class and two coconuts, KU and I did some research on the Balaji temple in Andra Pradesh (can you believe it - Saraswati's house now has wireless internet!) before going to breakfast at Vivian's, which is across the street from the shala and is run by a woman who lives here with her two children. You haven't lived until you've had grilled cheese on ragi toast and masala chai there after one of Sharath's led classes. The vibe was very mellow, like at Chakra House.
On the way home I stoped Subbu's beauty parlor to see if they could fit me in for eyebrow threading and a pedicure. The woman said, "In one half hour we open. You wait," and gestured towards a chair. I sat, and prepared to wait. Exactly two minutes later she returned and said, "Come," and lead me to the threading chair - where she proceeded to remove 3/4 of my eyebrows. This was my first threading experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's far less jarring (and painful) than waxing - and requires much greater skill. The threader-cum-manicurist has a BA in GPS (not sure what that is) and is from Coorg, the land of rain, hills, coffee plantations and the mouth of the
After a warm bucket bath, I washed all of the clothes I could find, and hung them on the line. For some reason it only drizzed once today, which means everything is fairly dry and I'm finally caught up on laundry. I hung it out just before visiting the pharmacist to give him the thumb's up. Then S, J and I went to Sandhya's for lunch. Her place is near the old shala, in Lakshmipuram, and the food is AMAZING. I'd looked at rooms to rent there in 2002 and was so freaked out by them (they were dark, small, scary) that I never went back to eat there. Wow, it was good. And again the vibe was laid back; the others at the table were all very mellow, and I learned from a pair of Indians how to put a line of jaggery and ghee in the middle of a chapatti, roll it up and eat it for dessert. Wonderful.
Sated, we walked around Lakshmipuram, taking pictures and catching up.
The famous Double Tanks, on double-tank road.
The old shala is stll there, looking fairly abandoned (although Lakshmish-the-pujari-cum-Sanskrit teacher and his wife live there).
and we saw a traffic cop get a guy for not wearing his helmet (he had perfect hair, and it was locked to the seat of his scooter). The cop was standing at the traffic light. He walked over, said something, and in one quick movement pulled the key from the ignition and told the guy to pull over to the side of the road. Busted! It turns out that S. too has gotten a ticket for not having an international DL - which can be had for just $15 from Triple A.
This is the park we used to walk through to get from the Kaveri Lodge to the old shala. Notice the new (lack of) eyebrows.
There is nothing better, by the way, than enjoying a cool foot wash after a walk around the old neighborhood.
Later, Ammu and I went up to the temple on Chamumdi Hill. This time, we had darshan (a viewing of the deity). And it was amazing.