Friday, August 29, 2008


I am writing this in Bangalore, on QE's computer. She's next to me, and the cat (Missy, not Sissy) is rubbing its face on the corner of the machine........

And now. to catch up.....

Wednesday was an unusually social day.

After practice I met Ammu for breakfast at the place with the spinach dosas - which, it turns out, they only have at night. We took some test photos of me in various photos at a nearby monument (photos to come) and then headed to jewelry row for nosepins and earrings. Then it was on to lunch with K at 3 Sisters; afterwards we went to Devaraj Urs Road, where I returned some contact lenses that didn't fit and bought some whole bean coffee for QE. They roast it on the premises, and she says it's out of this world. Can't get that in Bangalore.

Then it was on to Mysore Mandala to meet Urusla and show her the old shala, where just 12 people practiced at one time. Oh, how I miss the olden days....

I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up some big-size plasters (Band-Aids) for my scooter wounds and to get some iron pills. I'd brought the bottle with me, so there'd be no confusion. The pharmacist was capitivated by the child-proof lid. After I explained how it worked, and why it's there ("so the children do not open it and take the pills"), he handed it to his wife and told her to open it. She did it on the first try, and he was surprised.

"I did not say it was wife-proof," I explained. "I said it was child-proof." And we all had good laugh.

Then Ammu and I went on a twilight walk around the tank (lake). Afterwards I met The Ladies to talk about our upcoming trip to Tirupati, then walked across the street to meet my Kannada teacher from 2002. She's an educator from a family of strict Brahmins. I'e not seen her since then, and think of her often.

I was thinking about her the other day, when I heard my name; at first I thought it was someone wanting to sue me about the scooter accident, and feigned ignorance. But it was her. Turns out she married three years ago, and lives in Bellur. She's home to have her baby (due next month), which is the traditional thing to do. We spoke of many things. Back in 2002 she taught my friend Shawn and I not just Kannada but also about Indian culture (such as the fact that cows here say "Ambaa" rather than "Mooo.").

I told her that I am still not married, and that everyone here tells me that I should marry and have at least one child so that I'd have someone to take care of me when I get old.

"There's no guarantee that person will take care of you," she said, explaining that her aunt, who is 42, has never married and is very happy. "Even here it is changing."

And I remembered again how much I enjoyed learning from her.

* * *

During our conversation the skies opened and the monsoon came down hard, for a long time. The cool clean air swept through her house, and it was wonderful. It was still coming down like crazy when I left, and despite the umbrella I got doused during the quick walk across the street to the hotel. And I felt very content indeed. Or tumba santosh, as they say here.

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