The fun and games of changing practice times continued at the shala this week. Having moved most of the time slots forward an hour during Sunday’s conference, Sharath promptly had to move them all back again on Monday morning! Suddenly it seemed the whole world was practising at 7.30am and the students were spilling out all the way down the steps. After what seemed an eternity of slowly shifting closer and closer to the front door, and eventually through it into the entrance foyer, with Sharath constantly coming out asking “What’s your time?”, he finally said “Wrong announcement; bad announcement!” and shifted everyone back to their times from the previous week!
The word of the week for me has been “fusion”. Many of the restaurants here have a fusion of Indian, Chinese and Western dishes and I ate a wonderful fusion thali at Cafe Mandira in the Old Mandala School in Lakshmipuram, which included tasty treats like grated beetroot and roasted squash. Fusion massage seems to be rife here too, with many people offering a combination of Thai, Swedish, deep tissue, sports and Ayurvedic massages. I had one on Saturday which was amazing and got deep into parts of my muscles that I didn’t know existed! I’ve also been wearing a fusion of Indian and Western clothing, as I’ve bought a few beautiful traditional kurtas lately and love pairing them with jeans or leggings.
On the way back from one such shopping expedition (thali/shopping/coffee = the perfect girlie afternoon), my friend and I were treated to a wonderful example of roadside recovery – the rickshaw foot jumpstart! Unfortunately the rickshaw we had jumped in after our hard day’s shopping decided to break down. The driver told us to get out, then pushed his vehicle across the middle of a very busy junction and indicated for us to follow. We saw him handing over some rupees to another driver and then he gestured for us to get in that guy’s rickshaw instead. We could never have anticipated what happened next. Our original driver pushed his rickshaw over in front of the one we were now in, our new driver started up and then drove along with one sock-covered foot pushing on the back of the broken down rickshaw in front. Every time we stopped he made sure he got up close behind it so he could give it an extra push as we started off again. It was hilarious! I’ve no idea how the original rickshaw driver managed to keep going but somehow he did and waved us off as he veered off across another big junction into the distance. And that, my friends, is how to jumpstart a rickshaw!
I’ve been having a few digestive issues lately, namely bloating and constipation. After getting the usual bout of Delhi Belly soon after I arrived, I now seem to have swung the other way! And what better place than India to try out some traditional Ayurvedic remedies. I followed a friend’s recommendation and went to see the lovely Dr Chitralekha at the Mysore Academy of Ayurveda. She did a prakriti analysis to determine my doshas, told me I have a moderate level of ama (toxins) in my body, gave me some diet and lifestyle advice, prescribed some herbal medicine and showed me some marma (energy point) therapy to do on myself. And all for only Rs570 (about £5.70)! So this week I’ve been: taking lots of pink medicine that’s basically like Pepto-Bismol; giving myself pressure massages; carrying a pot of ghee around with me to add to my food; trying to avoid bread, dairy, nuts and eggs; and taking herbal laxatives each night. I also have some rather ominous looking black pills which I can take if I decide to do a ‘purgation’. But that basically involves a self-induced sickness which will put me out of action for 2-3 days, meaning I won’t be able to practice. Hmm… watch this space!
The highlight of my week has to be the 2-day wildlife tour I went on with goMowgli. Friday was a moon day which meant we had 2 days off in a row, and provided the perfect opportunity to head off into the forests of Coorg in the Western Ghats to experience something other than the usual hustle and bustle of Gokulam. We had lunch at a beautiful spot by the river at Srirangapatna; we did a forest safari in Nagarhole National Park where we saw deer, bison, monkeys, wild boar, peacocks and elephants; we stayed at the very rustic Bethel Home Stay on a beautiful hillside; we invented a new drink round the campfire called GoRumli; we had an early morning, very invigorating ‘shower’ at Irupu Falls; we did a hill trek for some amazing views and saw evidence of tigers (very hairy tiger poo = a very dead deer); we walked around a coffee plantation and learnt how coffee, peppercorns, groundnuts and cashews are grown; we fed some elephants at Ane Chowkur Elephant Camp; we were fed like kings the whole trip and had a jolly wonderful time! And here’s the evidence: