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...!!!

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