Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happiness Is My Middle Name

So Poni has arrived and it is like two animals from the Enchanted Forest of Rainbows have been reunited. My house is filled with wilted flowers, organic chocolate candy wrappers, and celebrity gossip magazines he brought me from the States. I have been carting him around on my scooter, his cute head bobbling around behind me in the giant helmet I had waiting for him, singing songs to me and telling me stories. He doesn't back seat drive despite the throbbing traffic, which I much appreciate. He can keep up with my coconut habit as well, which I also appreciate. Nearly every time we're sucking one down, we remind each other that the milk is very much like human blood and the meat much like breast milk. This makes both of us feel very healthy.

His clean clothes got on the plane he missed between Chicago and London, so he was forced to wear all the presents I had waiting for him. Luckily enough, he likes the lungis and the kurtas a bunch and they of course look quite smashing on him, so we went out together and bought a bunch more. We are both appreciating how menswear in India so often includes pink and hearts and metrosexual themes.

While signing Poni up for Asanas today, Kanchen told me that the Guruji mentioned me to her "...that one short girl...yes, yes..." She told me he basically said I was a very good student. This is making me glow almost as much as having Poni here does. At the ripened age of eighty four, I have noticed he doesn't put much effort into remembering his students too clearly, so the fact that he has praise specifically for me makes me feel like I have been blessed by Angels, or Santa, or Oprah. Only way better.

I have introduced Poni to Indra Cafe, my favorite coconut men, Daisy the cow who comes to eat our food scraps every day, and "medieval princess showers" (my term for the bucket bath by candle-light). He has brought smiles and magic and thank-God-they-allow-this hand holding, top shelf tequila and bourbon, and an entire duffel bag full of Madison Market treats. I have also introduced him to Joe, Ness, Dave, and Nok, amongst a handful of the rest of the Western Yogi population, and he makes them laugh and smile as well. "I have never seen Wren's face this happy," Joe said.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Days of Solitude

I am no longer "the Girl" at the shala. There are many other females in my class now, and the other day there were ONLY girls. Guruji waited around, adjusting the flowers around his altar for a bit, then turned to us all, lined up evenly at the top of our mats. "Shall I start?" he grinned at us, like he always does, only this time instead of a mass of nodding, there was a wave of giggling that filled the room and our hearts and his face like a sudden snowfall. The love was thick and penetrable as we danced through our practices, faithfully following the tiny, amazing man we call our Guru.

The weather is at its peak of comfort at the moment. The mornings are crisp and clear and warm and the air feels cleaner for some reason. The colors are brighter. It feels like spring, though honestly I don't know what season it is at the moment. After practice, a bunch of us scoot to our favorite papaya man. We fill our bellies with pink fruit doused in masala spices and salt while gaping at the beautiful day. Then its off to Indra Bavan, our coveted breakfast joint where they know exactly what we all want: chow chow bath. Savory and sweet. Two round piles side by side of samadhi for the tongue. Ghee and semolina flour. Wheat sweetened with pineapple. Fresh coconut chutney in droves. I am the a-hole who makes them bring me thrice the usual amount of chutney normally served with this dish. I also make them brew my tea separately black, because I can't easily digest the milk in the standard chai. But the men who work there are very kind and patient, and we tip them well of course. Sometimes when I am there I wish I could be a buss boy for a minute, piling noisy metal plates and cups into buckets while barefoot, smiling at the regulars, wiping up after their chutney and curry messes.

Received yet another generous parcel from my love, this time a book of poetry (Loose Women by Sandra Cisneros...possibly my new favorite author). Though I have never been a poetry kind of girl, I spent the morning digesting this on my rooftop, the weather never ceasing to impress, and the poetry like heavy pieces of dark chocolate.

Then I taught myself "Free Fallin'" on the Uke.

Life is good.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

As The World Turns

As the sky was filling with darkness during the solar eclipse a couple of days ago, I was marching from the net cafe to a friend's house, storming a bit inside because the computers were painfully, dreadfully, achingly slow and every bit of emailing I needed to do felt important. I had given up after a half hour of periodically sighing and checking my watch, feeling close to tears for some reason (forgetting completely about it being a New Moon day with a solar eclipse). On my way I passed a young boy in his school uniform, who started hollering at me the moment he saw me. Nasty things come out of the mouths of the street boys here. Where are their mothers? What kind a culture is this? I snapped around at him and put my fist in his face and gave him a nice thick piece of my mind that sent him trotting away from me like a calf from a cattle prod.

Yesterday I had a much easier time with the computers, but low and behold, the boy next to me who had been quite polite to me earlier told me to look at his computer screen. Like an idiot I peeked, let the pornography hit me in the face for a second, and then I poured my entire bottle of water on his lap and left.

I think I might actually get some sort of a cattle prod to carry around.

I think the dramatic aligning of the moon, earth and sun have had dramatic effects on myself and those around me. For myself, I feel a sense of rising power. A turning outward, a revival of something that got buried within me in the past few years. The acupuncture treatments, while unsuccessful at solving any menstrual problems of mine, brought all kinds of things in my heart bubbling to the surface. The knots in my solar plexus were painful to touch for days but now feel quite open and my nervous stomache aches are all but gone. I think there is always something to heal within us all. There is always work to be done while we are alive and cognitive. There is always a deeper level and then a deeper level, and then a deeper level... Sometimes, though, I feel the levels come to a pleateau in meditation, and I can settle there, floating on whatever essence began me and will eventually finish me. It is there that I can forget about the dark bubbling in my solar plexus, the street boys, the missing of people back home, the bustling Indian metropolis carrying on around me. It is there that I feel more whole and complete and real than I ever have. I am also feeling immensely complete in externally important areas of my life. And by this I mean I am appreciating my family and friends immensely, now that I have taken a trip to the other side of the world to think about it a little. My heart fills with emotion and light and gratitude ever time I see a photo, read an email, linger in a memory.

In lighter news, I have nearly perfected Scorpion Pose, my new favorite posture and long-lusted after feat of accomplishment. I have a brilliant new friend named Ness who is the doppleganger of Sarah Jones, a cousin of mine whom I adore and look up to; she is graceful, pure-hearted, artistic and fantastically intelligent. The other day there was yet another festival celebrating...actually not even the locals seem to know what that day was about. But there was an awful lot of sugar cane lying around in piles all over the city and all of the cows were painted yellow with tumeric and their necks and heads decorated with florescent plastic rope, flowers, and bells.

It is hotter, now. I have a full-body sunburn from sitting at the pool too long in my bikini yesterday, amongst a whole mess of yoginis in bikinis (rippling muscles, sascrit and hindi tattoos galore, all of them looking ten years younger then they actually are, as is often the case with ashtangis, it seems). Luckily, aloe vera is easy to come by. The bikini I wore was sent to me as a surprise by my beloved Poni, who, in a mere ten days, will be here in India with me, sharing my space and adventures. While I am so happy to have had these months to focus purely on myself and my practice, I am overwhelmed with excitement to have someone deeply special to me to share this crazy country with.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I have been battling some amenorrhea for some time now, going months and months without any dramatic fluctuations in mood, unnecessary swelling or bloating, nagging worry erupting in fits of tears. I wonder if it is the travel, the changes in life circumstances, the yoga, the fertility-abraisive environment. Whatever it is, my cycle likes to take long holidays now. The bleeding that releases, that reminds me of my female abilities, that clarifies and wrings out my emotions, does not come. And has not come since I have gotten to India.

I am not too worried about it. It is nice to feel such...stability. I have forgotten about my cycle, and therefor all of my emotions are valid for exactly what they are and not attributed lazily to the burden of womanhood. If things continue as they are now, I know I have powerful options to consider when I eventually return to the West. For now, however, my buddy Dave, trained Acupucturist and healer, is attempting to treat my "condition".

Tattoos, body art, scary movies and pleasant pediatric experiences have dulled any fear of needles, so that part was fine. Dave talked excitedly about the philosophy of what he was doing as he poked, turned, adjusted and checked. I, a little nervous for my first experience with Chinese medicine, talked excitedly as well. Suddenly all the gibberish he'd been spouting at breakfast was all I wanted to hear at the moment. When the needles were removed, we talked some more, he asked me how I felt. Fine. As we dug a little deeper into the philosophy of his approach to my situation, I asked him if there were any acupressure points for worry, since I seem to have a chronic worry and list-making problem. He showed me, and I rubbed a little, and immediately burst into the wild frenzy of tears that often precedes my "lady days". I laid back down and sobbed and blubbered for a couple of hours while Dave rubbed funny little sore spots on my body, particularly the spot directly over my solar plexus (a major chakra point that governs will and relation to others), which has been cold to the touch for months now. He and I related and discussed, and over the next day or two I filled my journal with the mental and emotional epiphanies filling my head and heart to overflowing.

We shall see how it goes with the bleeding, and I still have a few treatments to go before Dave runs out of needles, but for now, I feel lighter, less knotted, and more empowered.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

After awakening with violent food poisoning for nearly the third time in three weeks, I finally had a friend haul me to the hospital a couple of mornings ago. It was the most efficient medical experience of my life. I slumped into the emergency room weepy eyed and heaving with nausea. There was a cluster of doctors and technicians standing idly next to the tiny reception counter. They took me behind the curtain just next to the desk, where I laid and let a pretty nurse pet my head while a doctor with kind eyes looked briefly at a few things on my body, announced me poisoned, and told me he was going to give me a shot which would stop the vomiting (I nodded, offering my arm), and some tablets to take for the next few days. The hospital was filled with lovely nurses in beautiful nursing saris. While it did feel quite clean, it wasn’t as culturally sterile as Western medicine can feel. The ceilings of the building glittered and the rooms felt cozy and smelled sweet. I was in and out of the hospital, feeling surprisingly much better almost immediately, within a mere twenty minutes, having spent around seven dollars in all.

This New Year’s Eve was my first to spend completely sober in a long while. I went to a party at Shoeb’s Crib. Shoeb is a beautiful Mysore native whose taste for art and fine fabrics fascinates and inspires me. His home is old and Indian and filled with paintings and candles. I played some tunes, met some nice people, watched some beautiful women dance with fire, and then I ducked out at eleven forty five to get home in time to ring in the new year completely solo before tucking in for an early practice this morning. There were only a few of us at practice, and since I take a while longer than most, I found myself alone in meditation at sunrise, under the glowing holiday lights and rickety “Happy New Year” banner dangling from the ceiling. Before leaving me to my finishing asanas, the Guruji gave me my teacher’s training certificate, both of us exchanging our thank yous and yes of courses, and then he accidentally locked my shoes in the hallway on his way out. I took myself out to breakfast shoeless, because you can do that here.