I moved out of the shala and into my own apartment the other day, and after a couple of days of frantic shopping, I finally feel settled there. Joe helped me haggle with the mattress man, from whom I snagged a double mattress, four pillows, two tatami mats, some pillow covers and two day bed/floor mattresses for just about thirty dollars! The haggling game is really fun, once you get to know how to play it. It takes a lot for me not to get sucked into a guilt-trip or some sort of trick that plays on my rampant gullibility, but these days I feel I am getting better at taking everything anyone says with a grain of salt. Plenty of salt.
And I am in LOVE with my place! It is by far the most amazing apartment I have ever lived in! High ceilings and tons of light filtering through enormous medieval windows with antique periwinkle shudders that open towards the inside. I have a breakfast nook, and a lounge with the daybeds on the floor and a teeny weeny kitchen with a teeny weeny perfect shelf or cupboard for all of my teeny weeny kitchen needs. But while everything is very miniature, the apartment as a whole is lofty, airy and spacious. I also don't really have too many possessions to speak of at the moment, so it would be hard to clutter it up. I think in the future, I will try to keep my living spaces as minimal as this one. There are a lot of habits I hope to bring back from India. Minimalism, everyday yoga/pranayama/mudra practice on my own, washing my own clothes, no shoes in the house, never having road rage, eating with my hands off leaves instead of plates, etc. I wish I could bring home the weather. And the coconuts. And my new place!
The first night I slept there, Joe came over and brought jasmine flowers for my doorway and candles. We laid around in the candle light on the cushion-covered floor listening to mixes my friends from home have made me, repeating "I LOVE INDIA!" over and over. Before bed I sat on my new porch looking at the stars, slurping papaya out of its skin with a spoon, counting my blessings. I love Mysore. I love India. I love this life.