Feeling: BACK ON THE UP
Sunday; day off. I woke up feeling slightly desolate. So I jumped up, cleansed, pranayamed, ran around, did self-directed yoga and practised my class. Shake the shitness out and va la! A shiny new Pop (ish).
I guess it didn’t help I didn’t get a very decent sleep. Usually I’m all for waking up multiple times throughout the night; I love seeing the time and thinking, “Fantastic! Only 2am! Another four hours of slumber.” But unfortunately for me I couldn’t figure out to switch off the bathroom light (technical areas are definitely not my forte), so the shining light had me thinking it was daybreak about nine times. As my phone was charging further over by the window, I just went with the light and kept getting dressed to get up without checking the time first. Rising early is all very well, but not six times before it’s even hit 4am.
Anil the cook gestured for Eva and I to join him in the kitchen after breakfast, where he demonstrated how to make idli a dish of Indian steamed rice cakes. When they were cooked he popped one out, cut it in half and proffered a portion to us both.
Immediately I waggled my head in a profuse no. It’s like an instant reflex to any edible that isn’t a fruit or vegetable. But he kept pushing the plate under my nose, pleading with his eyes and I thought, you know what? Fuck it. And I ate it.
It was fucking delicious.
And Anil was so happy. I’ve been here almost a month and always turn down anything that even resembles rice, wheat or dairy, so it absolutely made his day. Eva caught my eye, squeezed my shoulder and smiled. She knew how big that was for me to do. And then I put it out of my mind. I would not let ED make me dwell on munching that morsel all day.
Off Eva and I headed to Lakshman Jhula to get the last of our touristy treasures. On the way a young boy stopped us and proceeded to sell his spiel on sandoiled bracelettes; “For you ladies, only 200 rupees each,” he charmed. We cajoled him down to two for 200, even though we know we had been ridiculously ripped off (evident at the next stand where we were offered them for 20 rupees each), but the boy’s gusto and sales pitch was worth the extra $1.50. Eva said, “They’re like our friendship bracelettes!” And it made me brim over with bubbliness.
Little side observation: when I first got here, I noticed that almost all the side street shop stalls have foil packets displayed streaming down from the rafters. They look exactly like condoms. Crikey, I thought. Wasn’t India meant to be rather conservative when it came to sex? I doubt even in Amsterdam should strings of condoms be flying forefront like flags. On closer inspection I clicked they were actually little packets of shampoos and such, but I still get the giggles whenever I see the streams dancing in the breeze.
I told myself before we left for the day that I was not going to time restrict myself at all. Whatever time we got back to the ashram we got back, and I would schedule the rest of my day accordingly. Usually I always set a time in my mind and panic should it go beyond my plan, but today I was going against my time tension and being in the moment. And my day was unbelievably better as a result.
When I get back to the homeland I’m going to make sure each day I have free time to do whatever, whenever, as long as it takes it takes. Not all has to be regimented and scheduled. When I was younger I loved playing solitare on the computer; I’ve downloaded an app on my phone and I’m determined to lose myself in game after game with no notice of the time once my exam is over. It’s the little things, the little joys.
Later that evening Eva came downstairs and said she’d been talking to her husband for two hours, and they’d been trying to decide where to go on their next family holiday. She said, “And you know what? That’s the biggest worry in our lives. Where to go for vacation. We are so lucky.” And we are.
We get so caught up in our ways that we forget how fortunate we are. I for one am extremely guilty of doing so. In this point in time, my greatest irks I’m fretting over are my exam tomorrow and whether I can fit everything into my suitcase.
Here I am turning down food that – God forbid – might make me gain a few pounds, yet 100m up the road there is a starving man who has no idea when he’ll next eat.
I am so blessed. Human nature means self centredness will always be innate in each and every one of us, but once you can identify that rather introverted and self-seeking trait, you can slowly work to counteract it.
And count your blessings.
That night instead of burrowing into my bedroom to study my sequence over and over, I sat up and chatted with the two new additions to the ashram. We nattered about travel, our respective homes, jobs, life.
I went to bed peaceful, happy, and oh so grateful for my tremendous fortuity.