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, so...here'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.