I love my group here. We get on altogether and individually, there’s no sense of one Lone Ranger and the dynamics flow really, really well. Plus, Danish Marie is proving to be my gulp of the freshest oxygen; the other day when in the midst of a yarn she busted out the C word and my heart just swelled with the recognition of a kindred spirit. (I found out after that her boyfriend is an Aussie and she spent a significant stint in Thailand working as a diving instructor, so was surrounded by many Down Under folk who rolled some Dane out of her and some Aussie in) (lingo, I mean, though she did meet her partner there). She just makes me want to giggle and I love it. 

So to keep myself from getting all lengthy in torrents and tangents in this post, I thought best to do the old numbering of particular points, plots and perceptions. 
1. Accents are such a funny thing. In anatomy class (Western ideals with an Indian take) with Yogesh (best name ever or what?) we’ve had a few miscoms when I’ve tried to say something. The other lesson when answering a question with, “ten” I got blank faced stares from all but Beaver – “As in, mix it with copper and you get zinc?” Dylan asked. I had to hold both palms up and indicate the number to get the meaning I meant across. Then today when watching a clip of the spine, I asked if Yogesh (so good) had had to carry the projector up the stairs; it took all the Irish, Danish, German and American in the room to translate my Kiwi quip so he understood what I meant. And he also starts every sentence with “actually” which is just so damn not right. I love it. (I seem to love a lot of things today). 

2. Carrying on with the anatomy class theme; it’s so interesting hearing how yoga is combined with medicine to cure or aid in alleviating illnesses. Yogesh (just SO good) told us of a study done with diabetics, where asanas and pranayama were prescribed alongside insulin and what not. For those doing yoga as well as the medicine, their blood sugar levels dropped hugely, with elements such as twisting asanas proving to massage internal organs such as the pancreas. 

And the questions poised really make you think; today, new teacher AJ posited, “Is it your eyes that see, or is it your mind that sees?” (Think about when you blank out and don’t focus and such). Just mind (or eye?) bamboozling. And the idea that “precaution is better than the cure”? Just so, well, simply smart. 
3. We are learning about bandhas, which are “locks” in the body you hold to keep prana in (I’ll get to this in a future post). Dear Manoj (morning asana teacher) instructed us to engage our mula bandha and “contract your anus” – though in Hindlish, it sounds like “arh-nous”. I tell you, it was the funniest thing. I think I was the only one who sussed we were meant to suck in our spinchter; Vanessa said, “I’m sorry, what are we contracting?” and Beaver told me after that he’d heard wrong and had just been engaging his abs. 

4. The monkeys here are absolutely madmen. Ever since my horrific experience with one (for those of you unaware, during my last voyage to India I had spent all day absolutely lusting for a mango. I finally came across the most bulbous, brightest, brimming with taille one and was about to bite in, when this monkey swung down and held out his hand. You see, if you don’t give they attack, so I was in turmoil over what to do. His menacing eyes made me decide it was worth missing out, so I passed it to his paw – paw? Do monkeys have paws? – and he swung away eating it. Fucking bastard. Ok, not quite horrific but it scarred me) I have been rather wary. 
Well, yesterday I heard a shriek and ran outside to see who was being murdered. It was Katie (she wasn’t being murdered, I shall clarify; she was exclaiming as though she was), the English girl in the previous teacher training course who stayed back a couple of days (think something may have been brewing with a certain Hindi heartthrob). She had been packing with her door open, but an absolute mutant of a monkey ran into her room, jumped on her bed and stole her bananas. And same thing happened to Beavs today; he heard the door creak open and thought it was me (judging from the current non-waxed-hair situation, I don’t blame him for being mistaken) but upon focusing realised it was a big baboon. Luckily, said antsy ape had an eye around and withdrew without any angst. 

Now whenever I walk across the big bridge I get my caution on when monkeys are near; they like bright things, and with my new IPhone encased in a Base Camp Blue (fitting name right?), I don’t want to have to be the girl ringing the insurance company saying, “A monkey stole my phone”. 
5. How whacked is this; since my arrival, all five of the ATMs within the vicinity of us have been run out of money. And nobody has come to top them up! I mean, what in the world? Last night Marie and I hustled onto the back of Mohit’s (the administrator lad here) scooter and he took us to an ATM he knew was still carrying cash. It was hilarious, on the way he suddenly pulled over and informed us there was a police check about five metres ahead – though you’d never guess it, apparently riding three-up with no helmets is actually illegal. “I’ll pick you up down the road,” he said. So Marie and I ambled on, only to find Mo merely five metres in front of the police check, all set for us to clamber aboard. I mean, the cops could blatantly see us. Quite comical. 

6. I have a little spot outside my room which I have come to consider my little office/gym space/reclining zone. It’s lovely in the sun and the dogs often come and conk out next to me. Speaking of the dogs, I found out Kallu means “black” (he’s the black one) (fitting really), and Barfi is a kind of Indian sweet. And with Rishikesh being a fully vegetarian zone, both canines are so too! 
7. Talking of the “vegetarian” region; yes, meat is apparently “illegal” here, as is alcohol. (Though probably as illegal as riding three-up on a scooter with no helmets – I can’t imagine a copper coming and hustling you in handcuffs for hoeing into a chicken drumstick). When Vanessa was visiting her little Indian artist friend the other day, he leant close to her and said very shadily, “If you or your friends want beer, I know some people”. The way Christina has been missing her meat, I said to Vanessa she should have asked if he could’ve sussed her a steak. I wonder if the exchange would be done down a side alley with a dirty envelope of money in exchange for the goods?
And all the restaurants and cafes are only vegetarian, unless you ask for the secret meat menu. Last night we were at a cafe having masala chai and a handwritten piece of paper fell out onto the table. Quizzically I scanned it and realised it was a list of all available chicken dishes, including golden crispy with fries and schnitzel (spelt “schinzel”). 

8. Tuesday’s breakfast spread had the usual plates of banana and papaya, but instead of rice or what not there was the option of club sandwiches. Just like my Nanna used to make! Crusts cut off with tomato and cucumber within. It made my heart warm (and Beaver said they were really good). 

9. Let’s finish on number nine I think. So my hair is quite reminiscent of Goldilocks at the moment. Alas, I am not talking beautiful blonde ringlets of the three-bears tale, but rather referring to Goldilocks as in the pube-like dish scrubbing scora sense. I went out in desperate seeking of some intensive conditioner yesterday only to find NOTHING BUT SIMPLE SHAMPOO; I succumbed to the fact I would have to make do with my wiry wig until Europe where I would fork out for a full rehydrating treatment, but this afternoon a shopkeeper (and my new best friend) chased after me to offer a secret stash of Treseme. 
You beauty. 
I was a bit down today. ED getting all up in my monkey mind and rendering me dim and dispirited. But we went and did yoga on the beach, and rather than tuk tuk back with the others I meandered (well, actually full on powered but the former sounds a bit more fitting, as well as aliterate) back with Manoj. We had an insightful chat about how to become a better person and he enlightened me as to destiny (really interesting). Then Marie and I went into town in our afternoon break and I went hard at the tapestry store, spending about $150 NZ dollars – even when trying to be yogi-like, retail therapy with a cup of masala chai always gets the endorphins going. (And I bartered my man down a good 1000rupees; “You’ve got more than just New Zealander,” he said, and clapped his hands when I revealed I had a good quart of Dutch in me) (once again, that was not innuendo). 

A friend of mine told me once how her mum had quite bad depression. Her doctor put her on some pills, and a week later she went outside and said, “[Daugter’s-name here], the grass is green”. 
When I open my back door every morning (of my room, it’s not a euphemism for bodily functions) the fields look fluorescent. That’s how I know I’m on the path to where I want to be, even with the anxious wake ups and down dots during the day. 
India is my medication. And I’m here to better myself. 

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