A couple days ago Team Iyengar (the posse I practice and take many a meal with) and I took a two and half hour taxi ride to Bangalore to see the Guruji at some event he was being "awarded something" at. The ride was fun and well equipped with delectable and moderately healthy snacks from Bombay Tiffany's, our current sweet shop of choice, and the view was peaceful and packed with eye candy. We stopped at a temple or two (one that was filled with tombs of Indian royalty!), and guzzled coconuts in the warm sun. Bangalore was as messy as I remember it, but the event seemed quite sterile and reminded me a bit of a PTA meeting; florescent lighting, dusty auditorium and muted microphone buzzing. After sitting down, however, it became clear that our beloved teacher was in fact the star of the show as speakers lined up to sing his praises. Students and colleagues of his spoke in animated Kannada before draping him with flowers and shiny robes til he looked like a Christmas tree. His importance is great in India, and he is well recognized as a lifetime master and teacher to yogis far and wide. After a while, he meandered up to the podium to speak for himself, and chattered and gesticulated more wildly than I have ever seen him. After the event, we met him in the greenroom for chapatis, and when he realized we had come all the way out there to see him at his event, his face filled with a happiness and surprise, filling us all with pride, and filling my heart with joy. What had seemed like an impossibly boring event had actually turned out to be quite easy to understand, despite the lack of English, and well worth the journey...much like the very musical Kannada movies in the cinemas 'round these parts.
Last night I went to a musical concert near the university. Ruhi Rang. Look them up!!! The ensemble consisted of a two singer/harmonium players, two drummers, one man playing a bell-stick thing, and another playing an unknown harp-type thing. Amazing. Never have I heard such amazing vocal stylings, especially from the lead singer, whose arms and hair flew about him like an orangutan while he belted golden notes and songs to the heart-wrenchingly perfect drum beats. The music permeating Mysore, from temples, car radios, houses, and voices are endlessly repetitive to a Western-trained ear but always awesome. I don't know if it's possible to get sick of Indian tunes.
I have found some yarn and some knitting needles, which has made my apartment and life here begin to feel a lot like home. I have only a swatch and an idea, but already feel like some sort of light bulb has been switched on in my heart. I am realizing more and more that some things, like knitting and fashion, can travel well, and I don't have to sacrifice many of the things that I love just because I am not in my usual environment.
Traded in the bike for a scooter a few days back, as the bicycle basically fell apart on me one day. The scooter, however, is far preferable. I am enjoying learning how to "drive like an Indian," while also having the safety of speed to help thwart the pesky street boys and jerk-off jerks in my neighborhood.
I am currently learning to master poses which require my legs to be behind my head, and today I was given pincha mayurasana (forearm balance) which is a pose I have always dreamt of mastering someday. Something tells me that, here...I will! My practices in the morning and afternoon have been long and luxurious, and I am really starting to feel some mysterious new things in my head, heart, and...everything else. The wisdom of my Guruji has led me to feel that my practice has an aim or a goal now, whereas before I was just kind of floating around mostly only enjoying the benefits of an asana practice.
To continue the thread I have begun on the subject of bugs and the like, I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom the other day and discovered a few new friends that have joined the family of cockroaches in the walls. Lizards...and one of the enormous "bee" things I saw flapping madly outside my hotel room window in Bangalore that first morning in India. It's proportions are massive and it's buzzing a deep roar that bellows through the house when it flies. It is quite a peaceful being I believe, so I don't really mind it as long as it keeps to the fan and upper window areas.