Saturday, October 31, 2009

Coconuts and Music and Magic....

A couple of nights have passed by my lonesome in the shala, and at times I feel crazy because there is nothing to do but be with my own thoughts or studies, or go out into the exhausting commotion. It is interesting to have the time to observe my thoughts and feelings, and the amount of control I have over my own energy. The Guruji has been teaching me about the difference between the mind and intellect. He describes the mind as a “chain” of thoughts based on things already realized in the past, and the intellect as a single thought in the present which is greater in capacity than the confines of the mind…as soon as I start to feel like I am beginning to understand him, he tells me he will continue explaining tomorrow. He fills my head with colors and ideas and then falls into a mumbling chain of prayer indicating that he is finished for the day.

The shala is a lovely place to spend the evenings, laying on my back playing the uke watching the giant fruit bats soar over head, letting the balmy breeze blow my thoughts into the oblivion. But it is even more fun to play music for and AUDIENCE! I have made friends with the remaining asana students at the shala (there are four of us total each morning) and they have opened my eyes to a brand new Mysore filled with parties and fresh coconut water and lakes and faces and conversation. I was asked to play the Uke last night at a gathering and I ended up with quite the captive audience for the mere five songs I know how to play. They were so lovely to play for, and I felt exhilarated by my own bravery. I let my shyness shine, so to speak, allowing it to be present, but not overpowering. One of the people at the party even asked me to play at his breakfast restaurant in return for free breakfast and chai! My first gig! Hooray!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

It's a new chapter, it seems. I am alone at the Shala, and I have the Guruji all to myself for philosophy and pranayama training. The other students left one by one...each with tears in their eyes. It's not often you find a guru. And a true guru, he is. Each day I feel the power of his magic more and more, especially now that he is teaching me practically the entirety of yogic history...complete with amazing little stories and examples to go along with his teachings. It is hard to imagine leaving him, already, even though I have only been with him for a couple of weeks.

I have been studying for hours each day in my new room, which I love. I have decided to focus my study on three things: Yoga and philosophy (primarily), Kannada (the official language of Mysore), and music. It is nice to have the time to focus, read, think, nap, etc. And I have a bicycle now! It is a piece of junk, for sure...but MINE for the next three months! I love, love, love, having a bike again.

Yesterday I had a coffee date with Pradeep, the nice boy I met on the train to Mysore. He took me to the Desara Exhibition, which is a huge carnival complete with really scary rides. He was so much fun to hang out with all evening! Teaching me words in Kannada, telling me about school in Mysore and what it's like to be a youth in India, and making me go on the SCARIEST rides I have ever been on. The kind that swing you around and around and upside down and then stop at the top so you are hanging upside down mid-air and screaming bloody murder. All I could think before getting on these rides was..."This is India...the ATMs barely work...what makes me think this is a good idea?" But I am still alive, thank God, and I kept my popcorn down, and it was admittedly super fun.

After much consistent effort over the last couple weeks having to deal with computers crashing and power outages every five minutes, I have finally posted a couple photos on my facebook page. Check them out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I have adopted an Indian Child...Just Kidding!

I have tracked down a bicycle for my next few months in Mysore, which is a huge relief. It is such a pain to have to rely on feet or motors to get oneself around once one has been converted to the intense joy of having a bike. It is a rickety old thing found on the side of the house of Ragu, whose delicious organic food I have enjoyed for most mornings past and whose children reside in...Bellevue! He is a very charming man who seems to enjoy going out of his way to please me. I think it has a little to do with my hometown.

I am moving into the shala tonight, finally. I was sad to say goodbye to my little hotel boys. I played a song for them in my room before leaving, and gave them each a good chunk of change for their poor little pockets. I will have a kitchen and a much more comfortable bed, and screens on my windows, and the yoga studio is right outside my bedroom so I will no longer be trotting around the streets at five thirty in the morning. The downside is everyone else is leaving, so I will be alone in the shala until in fills up again. Apparently this is the beginning of the busier season for Westerners practicing yoga,'s hoping I get some fabulous new roommates, soon!

Guillaume and I were invited to the school where a man we met at a tea stall, named Praesod, teaches elementary students. It was a gorgeous ride through the greenest countryside I have ever seen to a tiny little dirt road leading to the tiniest little school I've ever seen. More amazing children all glowing and staring. Each of the girls brought me flowers and pinned them to my head until I looked like a Thanksgiving centerpiece. More food and more tea and more photos. The children of Karnataka are taught based on a "joyful learning" program which allows them to pretty much do whatever they want. The teachers of the school just smile and watch patiently as all of the students bypassed their studies to ogle at my camera, ask us questions, and follow us around. India has a way of just letting things happen without regulation, and everyone seems much happier doing so. The students are all very smart and obedient, but not fearful of punishment or regulation.

Last night I wandered into another temple. This one more of a theme park with waterfalls and rice to offer the deities and lots of lights and loud music. I sat and absorbed the energy of the people turning circles, dotting their foreheads, pinning flowers everywhere and enjoying their families and common faith. I am starting to get a better grasp of the Hindu deities and faith, and am very much appreciating this religion. I left feeling intensely peaceful. So much so that the little boys grabbing at my boobs on the way out didn't phase me at all. I went to bed with a garland of jasmine pinned to my mosquito net and fell asleep smiling.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

India is delicious

I have rented a scooter for the week. Savanna would be so proud of me. I can drive like the best of them, swerving and honking aggressively as I zip from place to place. The trick is to not think about rules, but rather space. Instead of waiting for someone to pass before merging, you just honk and speed and go the wrong way down the road, etc. I know, this sounds very dangerous, but actually, I think it works much better than the fascist, cop-fearing traffic laws of the West. Everyone gets along swimmingly in the hullabaloo, here.

Guillaume and I were on the scooter looking for a concert that didn't actually exist when we stumbled upon the opening of a new Hindu temple. We stopped to have a look and got swept up in a wave of small children yelling and laughing and tugging at our clothes. They pushed us up the temple, which was still covered in scaffolding (which is just a bunch of regular sticks tied together with rope) and we got to see the top! I have never felt so overjoyed by children in my entire life. Every single child was dying to have their picture taken with my camera, and after posing in a writhing, screaming, pile, a zillion hands are in my face and all over me grappling for a look at the photo. Over and over I took pictures, and Guillaume beat-boxed over and over again at the multiple requests of our tiny friends. He is very famous here. Everyone makes fun of him saying "I am William! I am French!" in a funny accent which leaves everyone in fits of giggles. He is so happy to be in India, where people say hello back to him, as opposed to France, which he describes as very cold. I can kind of relate, I think.

After climbing all over the new temple, the breeze of children carries us into the temple, where we drink holy water ( this safe?) and get our foreheads dotted with different colors by several tiny fingers. We sat for a second inside the temple in an attempt to calm them down. They all sat down next to us and giggled. I got up and they all got up, which made me laugh, so I sat back down, and they all sat down! And up and funny. Then the elders gave us an enormous portion of curd rice piled in some leaves for us to eat with our children-and-temple-and-who-knows-what-else-covered hands. We tried to explain that we had just eaten, but the pressure was on. "This is the food of God! It is a very small portion! You must eat it!" So we ate a bunch and finally made it out of there with huge smiles on our faces, a hundred amazing photos, and belly aches.

Today I did my first-ever drop back (where you bend over backwards and land on your hands in a back bend) with the Guruji. I felt so incredibly proud of this, as it is something I have only been dreaming of being brave or strong enough to do for a long time. I also felt more connected to my Guruji at that moment than ever. I started to feel the intensity of his power. The intensity of his history. Why he is a Guru. Why he is MY Guru. I had a dream about Grandma Janet last night. We were all at a table celebrating the arrival of little Christopher. I feel like the Guruji is reminding me of her in my subconcious. I am reminded of the importance of my elders in general, and my family. My beautiful, beautiful family.

I have been doing a little shopping (so much for my goal of not shopping) for people back home...thinking I would be able to send home a holiday package. But I don't know if I am going to worry so much about that, because the gift options are so overwhelming and the time it would take to send home a package in time. I hope you all will understand if I save my gifts for when I return. I love you all so much!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Pranayama: Systematic breathing and holding of the breath. The lengthening of life via control of prana (life force). This practice is already changing my entire life. Every day I learn a new pranayama exercise from the Guruji. I sit for about an hour and count and breathe and hold my breath and count and breathe…and by the end of the practice I am a ball of sweat and exhausted and hungry. Every morning I am awakening with an entirely new set of lungs.

As an occasional smoker of weed and other things, I could easily do an asana practice regularly and not feel affected. Pranayama, however, does not allow for this kind of habit. The first day I did the practice, I felt ill. I have had a little head cold ever since, which I think is directly related to the practice cleaning me out. Gutting my lungs of the filth I have accumulated in there and filling them with power. I have been sneezing and coughing and have been forced to go to bed early (even more early than usual) as a result of my stupid “cold”. Today, however, I am feeling better than ever. I don’t think I have ever felt this strong. My body has never felt more open, or more able, and my mind feels the same. It is amazing what not drinking and not smoking for any extended period of time, even if one has only done these things occasionally, will do for the body and subsequently, the mind. Imagine what three months of this practice will do for me! Hazzaaaah!

Every day in Seattle I felt a tightness in my chest. Social interactions, work, and pretty much anything was enough to set off the tightening in my chest. Constant anxiety. My feet hurt, right where my solar plexus is located according to reflexology. My power, my sense of will, the center of my divine self, was constantly being compromised somehow. But the second I left, the minute I arrived in India, these aches and pains completely disappeared. Completely. My feet are so happy. My chest is wide and my eyes are bright. And it has only been two weeks. My singing voice, which had grown weak in Seattle, is pouring out of me like liquid gold. I sit on the rooftops in the evening and sing the colors of the sun right back to it. I sing my gratitude back to the sky.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Practice, Practice, Practice...

Oh, how I miss my wardrobe! I dream of denim and heels and clothes I want to make and awaken in the middle of the night panicking inside. Yesterday I went along with Guillaume while he did his final shopping before heading home next week, and he took me to this AMAZING place called FabIndia. Beautifully made clothes that drive me crazy with desire…and still so cheap! I didn’t buy anything, but I spent all night daydreaming about clothes. So much that I had trouble sleeping. And then I dreamt of clothes.

I have decided that for the next couple of months, I am going to try and abstain from my western materialist tendencies an only buy what I need: food/shelter/water, little necessities, classes, and experiences. Then at the end of my stay here in Mysore I will know exactly what I REALLY want because I will have had a couple of months to let my wants sort themselves out. Every time I want to buy something for myself or someone at home, I write it down in my little book. Then I forget about it. This is my process. Trying to be content with what I have.

My daily routine is looking like this: Six am to seven am, I do the Ashtanga primary series. Then breakfast, followed by adventuring, reading, or doing my laundry in my bathroom. Lunch at noon, followed by reading or napping and then Pranayama practice at four pm. Then I like to play music on a rooftop before dinner. Every couple of days, I fill a bucket with water, use it to bathe and then use the rest of the water to do my laundry. I love doing my laundry by hand. I love knowing how much water I need to clean my self and my clothes. I love that I need so little!

Last night my Rickshaw driver friend stopped by to say that he had been trying to get a hold of me but had the wrong number, and had left messages with the hotel reception that he guessed never got delivered. He said he lives right next to my yoga shala and wants me to meet his family! I was very surprised, but I still do not trust him completely. I am planning to confront him about whether or not he expects any more money from me, which is apparently usually the case with rickshaw driver “friends”. The rickshaw drivers, and shop owners, and hotel owners are all in cahoots with each other to sap westerners of their dough under the guise of “friendship”. But something in his eyes last night told me perhaps he felt otherwise.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Guruji

BNS Iyengar. My new teacher. Tiny Indian man of eighty four years and about sixty inches of height. I began my pranayama and asana classes with him, finally. This will be an entirely new world of yoga. The opening of the mind. Asanas can be learned anywhere, he says, but the mind and soul take years and years of practice to open and strengthen. "If you want to eat beans," he says, "you only have to wait a few months...but if you want to eat mango, you must wait several years!" I want to eat mango!

I will learn much from this man. About discipline, about life, about God, about myself. The few students studying with him have all been to India several times to practice with him. They come back as often as they can to learn more. One of his students, a man named Dick from New Zealand, who just turned sixty, has been practicing with the Guruji for over twenty years and is still at what he calls "the lowest rungs on the yoga ladder". I can only hope to gain a sliver of the immensity of his wisdom during the short time I am here.

Last night was the final day of Diwali, and I am glad it is over. The smoke and the noise and the heat started to get to me, and I felt like I was getting a head cold last night. So instead of setting off fireworks, I passed out really early. Slept like a baby through the gunfire and bombing just outside my window. I am slowly learning to desensitize myself to the constant sensory overload, I think. A good skill to have!

I have discovered the rooftop of my hotel, which is perfect for playing ukulele and watching the sunset (or fireworks), and the lives of the Indians living around me. They have such simple, beautiful lives. It is amazing how little one needs to be comfortable or happy. Things like refrigerators, toilet paper, shoes, etc. are not necessities to them, and I am learning they are actually not for me either! The no toilet paper thing was odd at first, but I have found their water-spigot method to be quite chaffing and no waste! (Sorry if this is too much information for y'all...)

I am missing my friends and family a lot, however. I am sending love to everyone all the time, thinking of everyone constantly, and looking forward to seeing everyone when I return. I hope you all are safe and happy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali!

My belly full of papaya and masala chai, I sit here at the Mysore Mandala, local hot spot for traveling yogis in search of a fresh salad or squeezed juice. I have been eating so well since I've been in India! If for no other reason, the food is by far worth the trek to this magical land of marigolds. The trick is to try things not recognized on the menu and being constantly surprised.

It is Diwali today. The actual day, which I was unsure of for a while. Many businesses are closed after one o clock, after which the whole city turns into a mind-spinning war zone of fireworks. Of course there are no regulations on what kinds of fireworks can be set off, or where, so one must be careful not to turn the corner of a building and land in the middle of an enormous colorful explosion. My rickshaw driver friend, who had invited me to his home, turned out to be a liar. There was no celebrating with him or meeting his family, or wearing my amazing sari for a special occasion. This disappointed me more than I thought initially. I really liked him. Sure, I paid him to help me out, but I liked him just the same. And I don't want to only be friends with Western people! I suppose everything happens in due time, but it is hard not to feel cheated or disheartened. Guilliame said he was not my friend because he was lying to me from the start, but things work differently here... It is not like I don't have friends who like to trick me for fun or play on my gullibility, and I have had long term relationships with pathological liars on more than one occasion... But such is life. Money, culture, and my white skin separate me from the locals. It will take more work and psychological grappling to make Indian friends. For now I can appreciate how they smile with their hearts and speak with their eyes, and respect their intense connection to each other and the lives that they live. And people come and go. In the end it is the relationship I have with myself that matters most.

Guillaume and I spent the evening together on the rooftop of the yoga shala, improvising with each other on my ukulele, watching the colors fill the sky over the palaces in the horizon. I have been playing music for everyone these days! Which is very liberating, considering how shy I have always been about playing for an audience. He is hilarious to play music with. Imagine a very cocky and suave French man with a syrupy-thick accent singing improvised Reggae (his favorite kind of music), and me singing jazzy skat over the top of his lyrics. We finished the evening with some wandering and ice cream over mixed fruit. Yet another magical night in India. I don't think I have slept as well as I did last night in a long time. And this is the first morning I awoke without any mosquito bites...!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Friend

Today I discovered where all of the Western yoga students have been hiding. And where all of the fresh (as in not cooked) meals are served. I have had way too many Dosas and Idlis already…

I made friends with a guy who is staying in the yoga shala where I will be living next week. His name is Guilluame, and he is a French model/actor/dancer/yoga teacher/ scorpio firecracker. He showed me all of the yoga student hot spots in the area, and has rented a scooter like the one I had in the states. He is going to let me rent it from him when I need it, and I will possibly be taking it off his hands when he leaves in two weeks. He and I played ukulele together and then rode the scooter to a five star hotel in the area to go swimming with one of the other yoga students. He also gave me an in-depth tour of the shala (which is basically an ashram, now). It is so peaceful and simple and beautiful. I can’t wait to move in.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Indian Fashion, Yoga, and Crazy Dreams

The other day I picked up an Indian Marie Claire to look at while having tea. The Indian fashion industry is completely completely inspiring! I have decided to take David's advice and buy heaps of silk to send home, and possible convince one of the many tailors here to give me some sewing tips. It is typical here to simply pick out fabric and have them make it for you that same day, and the sewing is impeccable! The salwar kameez I am wearing so insanely beautiful I am afraid to wear it out, but feel more comfortable in it than in my western wear. People stare at me a little bit less...I think.

I have been sleeping a lot. I get so tired from the heat and the intensity that I have been passing out super early and having all sorts of dreams that I remember vividly. I usually don't remember my dreams, but I can remember at least four dreams from last night. I dreamt of old lovers and heartbreak, of cartoons I was making up (I awoke laughing), that all of my childhood friends were plotting to kill me...I even dreamt that my yoga teacher Troy was scolding me for irritating the guruji. I feel like butter turning to ghee. I awake with all of my gunk having risen to the surface, and then I go do my practice and sweat it all off. My savasana this morning was the deepest I'd ever felt. I fell into this scary powerful place in my heart and let it consume me. I came out of it realizing everyone else had finished and left the room a while before me.

I am in a different hotel now, and will be in it for about a week, until my room opens up at the place where all of the other students of Iyengar are staying. Kanchen, the woman who runs the homestay situations, is very beautiful and kind and also teaches yoga...but to little kids! I am excited to get to know her better.

From Yesterday But the Computer Froze

Yesterday I said I didn’t trust a soul here. I would like to amend that comment. I don’t trust what people say, but I trust them to be good people. I have started lying right back to them, and though it feels weird, it also feels right. Stealing and lying are completely different things here. I still don’t understand completely, but I have a better idea now.

Mysore seems much cleaner and sleepier than Bangalore, and there much fewer people begging, which means I can sit down somewhere in public and not get accosted immediately. Maybe some cell phone pictures taken of me and certainly some staring, (why doesn’t anyone in the states know how much of a celebrity I am like they do here?) but nothing so intense to send me back to my hotel room to cower.

And the food! Ah the food and chai! Raevi, my rickshaw driver friend, who has now chauffeured me around at no specified cost for two days now (though I have made a point to give him money) has taken me to several amazing restaurants and has shown me the proper way to eat things. This morning (after waking up at the crack of dawn to take me to and from my yoga class) he took me in his amazing old circa 1950’s vehicle to a couple of temples and a couple Mysore lookout points to take pictures. We have plans to celebrate Diwali with his family on Saturday and we will go to the horse racing derby on Sunday. I think he will be a good friend while I am here.

I have taken two yoga classes so far. One at the Mysore Mandala, which was my initial choice for study, but I have decided instead to study under BNS of the other yoga legends residing in Mysore. The Guruji is not in town until Friday, but after having practiced with a few of his students this morning in his rickety old Indian yoga shala, I have a VERY good feeling and have committed to practicing with him despite his absence. Go, instincts, go!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day...Only Day FOUR?!

The past couple of days have been a complete whirlwind. Where do I start? I feel swallowed whole by this country...swimming around in its digestive juices...

I have only been here four days. And I'm already planning to extend my trip! Ha! Take that India!

The day before yesterday I visited the "Bull Temple" in Bangalore, which was a huge bull statue covered in Jasmine flowers housed in a crazy-beautiful temple. The priest traded a few jasmine flowers for a few rupees and then I sat in the surrounding gardens watching the monkeys and bats in the trees. My whole body was covered in ants at one point and I felt like I had come a long way from my days of having panic attacks over insects and the like.

Yesterday I made my way to the train station from the hotel, and after a confusing bit of bumbling around with my backpack, figured out how to buy a train ticket. For a little over a dollar, I would be heading to Mysore in about four hours from then. I reluctantly handed my backpack to the coatroom man, and swished through the piles of people lying all over the train station floor to the bustling city streets of Bangalore once again. After about fifteen minutes, I felt as if I had smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes from all of the pollution, so stepped inside a tea house for a second...and there I met my first friend. His name is Selvan, he is Indian born, but I could tell right away he was a foreigner because he was eating with both of his hands. We got to chatting and I realized he was the Indian (residing in Belgium for most of his life) doppleganger of my good friend Ezra (I have photos!). He and I were both incredibly excited to have someone who wasn't Indian to talk to so he spent the next four hours at my side, both of us buzzing and laughing noisily, taking almost no notice of the surrounding insanity for a while. He waited for my train with me, and it was there that we met Pradeep, my next friend! Pradeep is studying mechanical engineering in Mysore, and likes movies such as Terminator and The Fast and the Furious. He wouldn't let me lift my bag, pay for my chai or any of the other tasty snacks I couldn't resist. "It's India, Man!" he told me, taking the food wrappers I was trying to tuck into my purse and throwing them out the train window into the filth.

The view from the train made me want to weep so was so beautiful and so devastating. Children playing in garbage, a couple of giraffes nibbling at a tree (who needs the Zoo when the whole Zoo is in your backyard?), rivers filled to the brim with grime surrounded by the most beautiful landscape you can possibly imagine. I don't think you can imagine India. It must be witnessed.

Pradeep helped me bypass all of the approaching rickshaw drivers, leading me to one he trusted who then helped me find my (~$5) hotel room, which smells of cigarettes and has pillows made of concrete but has proven quite comfortable and safe. Then it started raining golf balls and I sat inside my room watching Indian television letting the sound of the storm lull me to sleep.

In the morning the hotel manager had arranged for a rickshaw driver to "show me the markets," and I accepted the arrangement, having been inspired by Selvan the day before when he told me he had spent the entire day with a rickshaw driver and had felt more in touch with Indian culture that he ever had on his own...which was so true! After my driver and I had breakfast together, he took me to several yoga shalas, to get an ayurvedic massage (two adorable Indian women rubbing insane amounts of oil all over my body and then sticking me in a steam box), and to buy things. I ended up spending way too much money today, and had a freak out about it a minute ago til I realized I was freaking out while eating a gigantic meal which would cost about a dollar. I ended up with two new friends (the sandalwood oil man, who will be showing me the Mysore Palace on another day, perhaps), my rickshaw driver (who has invited me to his house for Diwali), some amazing oils, and two traditional Indian outfits which will be finished tomorrow morning.

I don't trust a soul here, but everyone is completely wonderful, which is a ridiculous concept for my brain to wrap itself around.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day Two

This morning I decided to skip the rickshaw and walk to the city center (which I later gave up on having gotten lost in no time at all) and I saw three cows and two stray dogs eating out of a pile of garbage. Sure enough, there was a cow eating a plastic bag... That was one of the few pictures I have taken so far. I haven't felt so much like taking pictures yet since everyone is already staring at me from every direction.

I bought a veggie peeler and some biscuits at the grocery store when I got into town. The veggie peeler is for the mango I bought yesterday that I'm not sure I should bite into or not without being worried. The biscuits are to hand out to all of the women with babies nipping gently at my heels as I wander around, the little boys with deformities making hand-to-mouth gestures, and the myriad other beautiful people in need of...anything.

It was getting dark as I ate dinner yesterday off M.G. road in downtown Bangalore, so I thought it wise to head home. I had written down the address to the hotel, but soon learned that pretty much NO ONE knew where I was talking about, no matter how many people I asked or how seemingly close the hotel was. I ended up in the City Market area, where Bangalore had been hiding all of its crazy. It's Diwali right now, and I'm not sure if that's why there were so many scrambling people all over the market, or if it's always like that at night. From there I tried to find the hotel on foot, but was obviously in the wrong area. I ended up surrounded by a gang of young (and surprisingly handsome) rickshaw drivers, all obviously lying to my face when I asked them if they knew where the hotel was and charging me huge amounts of money to help me find my hotel. I tried to haggle their prices down, but since no one knew where it was, I eventually just got into a rickshaw and let one of them give it a go. It was late and super, super overwhelming at that moment. Everywhere people yelling and hissing and staring and traffic a constant flow of noise and chaos. At one point my driver hit a motorcyclist. They both stopped and nodded politely to each other and continued on their way. At an intersection I looked to my right and saw a family of three on a motorbike, two parents with helmets, and one tiny child with no helmet. I waved and smiled at the child, who waved back and then they all sped noisily away. My driver stopped to ask three people along the way before finally finding the hotel. I was happy to pay him whatever at that point, and he and I introduced ourselves and had a moment to giggle at the scenario, afterwhich I darted inside to play ukulele for about half an hour and then passing out by 9 PM.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day One

The traffic here is hilarious. All I could do was giggle to myself as my auto-rickshaw (which is basically a motor-bike with a box around it) pummels through a crowded intersection, my driver honking his way through the congestion. The divider lines on the streets mean nothing to anyone. But it feels like a very safe, copacetic system, nevertheless. My driver from the hotel asked me something and I stupidly nodded yes, not knowing what he had said, and he took me to a shop owned by his family. I quickly realized that the only way I was going to get where I wanted to go was to repeat myself about a hundred times until he gave up and we continued on our way. "No, next time, thank you! No, can we go to Church st. now? I would like to go to Church st. thank you! No, thank you, next time!..." etc.

I awoke this morning around ten, remembering only that my dreams were colorful, smelly, and very intense. Did some yoga and meditating and looking out the window...gathering the courage to go outside. As I was gazing out over the vastly strange landscape, a "bee" (or something like it) the size of a mouse batted its body into the window I was looking through. I could hear its wings beating through the super thick window pane.

I could barely sleep on the planes here, and instead read my journal from front to back, having epiphanous moments of bliss, sadness, and realization. I let myself laugh and cry at the things I had written as people slept all around me. It wasn't until the plane touched down in Bangalore that I finally felt nervous. But only for a second.

My plan for now is to:
a. Not be shy.
b. Drink a Lassie
c. Find some Indian clothing, perhaps (the fashionista in me lives on!)

I will probably stay in Bangalore one or two more nights before moving on to Mysore, or somewhere nearby. A man at the hotel restaurant told me that there is a "very large forest with elephants and lions" near Mysore, which I will strongly consider visiting...although for the life of me I could not understand him when he repeated the name of the forest to me ten times over.

I already miss everyone, but I don't think I have ever been more excited to be on my own in my whole life.