Thursday, September 11, 2008
LAST DAY IN MYSORE, FINAL INSTALLMENT
I awakened at 4:45, just before the mullah's call to prayer.
I gazed up at the pink mosquito net, happy to be in India. Then I noticed a cockroach up near the top. It was a small, "normal" size roach - just about the size of a pen cap. It was not moving. And it was on the inside of the net.
Banishing thoughts of "Who is this strange new bed partner, and what did we do last night?" I calmly grabbed a plastic jar out of the bag of things to give away, and captured the creature.
I released it on the roof. It was still dark outside, but the fire for the water tank was already burning bright orange.
Back in the room, I put the heating coil (geezer) into a cup of purified water, cleaned up, did the neti pot, and sat down to read a few pages of Christopher Isherwood's Ramakrishna and His Disciples while sipping hot lemon water.
Next was breathing exercises.*
Then I headed to yoga with She..... who for all intents and purposes appears to be the rarest of things - an actual yogi (There are many yoga teachers out there. But very few yogis).
He remembered that it was my last day, and actually hugged me when I left. Tears welled up as the ego melted. How could this person, who has known me all of two weeks, make me feel so welcome and valued?
After class I bought a Deccan Chronicle and headed to Shiva Prasad restaurant for tindi (breakfast).
Of course I chose that sweet/savory combination, chow chow bath for the final meal.
I also got two wada to go ("in parcel").
On the way home I stopped at the ICICI bank to get money - but they were out. ("Doo-dee ela," I told the nesxt man in line). I went home, and had a bath. Afterwards I arranged to change money (at Rs. 43.50 to the dollar), get back the deposit for the water cooler, and drop off the scooter. I also finished packing, paid the hotel bill, and dropped off the trunk and scooter money as well as some treats for those who helped me after the scooter crash.
Then I grabbed the bag of things-to-ship and headed to Rashinkar's. I planned to add the bag of gifts and dresses to the five saris I'd be sending to Mrs. Dreyfus
They weren't open yet., so I purchased some pepper and snapped some pictures of nearby street life.
It was around $70 to ship just 6kg of stuff. Next time, I'll send the books on a slow boat, and put the silks and time-sensitive items into the suitcases.
I'll also take Jammu's advice, and use duffel bags -which weight practically nothing - instead of the heavy new suitcase I bought just before leaving. The airlines have been cracking down hard on overweight luggage. (Methinks they should also start cracking down on overweight people.).
While walking to the scooter, I stopped for a last tender coconut - sulpa gungy, jasti neeru (less meat, lots of water). It was wonderful.
Then I scooted down Devaraj Urs Road towards City Optical Palace, where I made sure I had the right sunglasses - I did - and said goodbye to Asif, who was fasting for Ramadan.
Then I went home, dropped off the scooter, and waited for the driver.
And had the bags taken into the lobby.
And watched a Ganesh procession pass by.
And waited some more, talking to the men at the lodge who take such good care of me.
It was not easy to say goodbye to them.
Not easy at all.
When the driver finally arrived, he was on a motorcycle, followed by a man in a brand-new Tata Indica. The little white car was so new, the plastic was still on the seats.
It was also 30 minutes late.
"Why late?" I demanded.
"Service," he said.
Can't argue with that.
But the driver I'd hired had no intention of taking me to White Field.
Instead, he pulled the old last-minute switcheroo on me, and told me the other fellow would drive the car.
I was too tired -and it was too late - to put up much of a fight.
"Who is this man?" I demanded. "How long driving?"
"Five years," he said.
"English?" I asked. "English speaking?"
It turns out there was very sulpa (little) English.
Nonetheless the four-hour drive to Bangalore was uneventful - with just a single mistaken left turn (which I caught, and immediately remedied by calling my friend's multilingual driver and handing over the phone).
Next time, though, I'll probably hire one of Ganesh's drivers. (We used one to take us to Bylakuppe, and it was a wonderful experience - possibly because each client fills out a feedback form after their trip and gives it to Ganesh). They may cost a bit more, but they're worth it.
*These are followed by Dharana and Dhyana exercises on non-travel/sick days