Monday, July 28, 2008

HEY 19

Everything hurt when I awakened at 4AM - everything.

And I couldn't go back to sleep.

I resorted to watching bad TV - HBO, Hallmark Channel, Disney Channel - for an hour, and tried to go back to sleep.

No luck.

SInce there was hot water at 5, I decided to take a bucket bath. Finally - hot water to wash the hair.

But still the body was in pain.

I drank the morning beverage of hot water with lemon. Nothing.

Hoping that I wasn't getting sick, and thinking that I was dehydrated, I drank a gallon or two of water.

I had a cup of chai, brought to my door by the wonderful night manager, Sanjeev.

Still I was in pain; the back hurt, an old shoulder injury was cropping up, everything ached.

Plus it was pouring rain outside.

I decided to practice anyway, thinking I could sweat out whatever was ailing me. Plus I always feel ill when I don't do ashtanga for a few days.

I rode to the shala in a downpour, and parked the scooter. It was still raining, and there was no sign of Beck, the coconut wallah.

Inside, the floor of the lobby was full of seated bodies; apparently everyone is scheduled for 8AM practice.

I sat down and waited as all of the others were called in (usually you go in the order in which you arrived in Mysore. Sometimes people are "moved up" to an earlier star time when a lot of people leave Mysore. Advanced students also usually practice earlier. I'm Ok with starting at 8 - actually it turned out to be 8:40 - since it makes for a reasonable bedtime... although by the time I finish Sharath has left the building).

The shala has that monsoon smell, meaning that everything is a bit mildewy and overripe. It was quite humid. My spot was behind the woman who accused me of stealing her "NEE-kuzz-ah" (knickers) two years ago. She has not spoken to me since.

I was like the Tin Man, working his way through the primary series. Everything hurt like hell and the body was stiff and weak. I haven't had a practice like this in eons. But I did it. The focus was fairly good. Twice I was told to move my mat to a spot closer to the front of the room, to make way for Saraswati's students (who practice after us, pay rs 2000/month and receive tons of adjustments).

I did not see Guruji during practice.

After five rickety backbends, I did the counterpose and made my way to the frigid ladies room to do the closing sequence. No need to belabor the backbends today, I thought.

The body only began to feel a bit better during the inversions of the closing sequence. But it was still not quite right.

Afterwards I visited the newspaper seller, who asked when I'd arrived. Then I went to the Green Leaf for iddly (to settle the stomach), kesari bath (a warm, sweet saffrom-flavored confection) and chai. Then I headed to Loyal World grocery/department store, which has been rearranged and is expanding next door. I found everything I was looking for - including nail clippers, a sponge and a new thumb drive (the old one gave up yesterday; I create these posts in my room, on the MacBook, save them on the thumb drive and then bring it to the browsing center. There's no wireless yet in Chluvamba Agrahara (my neighborhood), althrough the Three Sisters say they'll install it soon ).

I was driving home in a jetlag haze, stopping at a red light at a major intersection when I noticed a man in khakis and white cowboy hat gesturing towards me. "Oh no," I thought. "Ticket time."

I joined the queue of two-wheelers that had been pulled over. The scooter's papers were in order. But mine were not. Apparently you can no longer get away with having an Illinois driver's license ("D.L.") in Mysore, but now must have an international DL. I smiled at the police officers. I spoke to them in Kannada: "Have you had your breakfast?" It didn't work. Rs 300 (around $7.50) fine. Later I learned that the ticket is "good" for 24 hours, then they can fine you again. And again. And again. I was told to avoid that intersection, which is near the police station. Despite five trips here, I still get lost all the time. ARGH.

I returned "home" to good news at the Kaveri Lodge; my old room, #19, had been vacated. Vishwunath, the manager, smiled broadly as he handed me the key. "Your room ready, Madame." And it has a TV in it. Which is actually bad news.

I spent the next hour scrubbing down the walls. One was filthier than the others; it was the wall I DIDN'T wash back when I scrubbed everything down in 2004. By the time I'd gotten to that wall, I'd run out of steam and gave up. This time, I washed it first.

Later K.U. and I went to lunch at Three Sisters - I figured that their healthy taken on South Indian "meals" - rice, vegetables, chapatti - would revive me, and indeed it did. Zoe-from-NYC was also there, and it was lovely to catch up with her.

Also seen in and around the shala: Peter and Jude (who leave today, I think), Eddie, Jocelyn and Lily ( who arrived today, I think), Wendy and Chris and their girls, Joseph, , Bill-from-New Zealand and David and Simi Roche.

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