1. But by cripes we have some plenteous tee-hees over some of the wording ways. Yesterday whilst discussing ailments and what asanas are best befit, I asked Manoj about the thyroid.
“The what?” He puzzled.
“Thyroid,” I replied.
“The hmmmmm?” He queried.
“The thy-roid,” I annunicated.
“The five way?” He asked (maybe I really was wrong about him not being a keen candidate for a ménage-a-tois).
Eventually with an out-loud spelling we got there – but I’ve never heard one single word used so much in the span of 30 seconds. He then went on to say, “In thyroid some people becoming so much fat”. And asthma as “aaaast-ta-maaaaa”. Bless.
Another instance; AJ, the anatomy teacher. He was telling us about a student of past who wore her locks loose to class, or as he described, “open hairs”. I find such phrasings so pleasing; always one for words, to hear them placed in a way that sounds so peculiar but in actuality does make total sense makes me smile.
(And AJ again; he surprised us all yesterday with talking of his infertility and how his friend took him to see a cocky chap – excuse the awful pun. AJ and his wife were finding that together, they were have a tough time conceiving so his pal coerced him to see a membrum man in the mountains. Upon meeting said man, AJ told him of his woes and the lad proceeded to place a wooden penis on AJ’s head.
Apparently, AJ wasn’t overly convinced but a month later his wife was pregnant and they had a little boy a further eight after that. A year on, AJ took his wife and offering back to the phallus wizard to pass up thanks – and the man bopped all three of them on the head with the wooden wanger. Just so random. And so unexpected a tale to be told from one who has enthused about how some areas of life best be kept in the at-home arena. But the way he told us it was the best fable I have ever heard).
2. Mate, I was severely underslept this morning. I had a total of two hours in the end, from about 3.30am to half five, with about six in a semi subconscious state. I was beside myself about 1am, in that state of silly terror hysteria and under the impression that my Nanna had come to see me and was hiding in my bathroom (ah, those night irrationalities). After deciding that no, I wouldn’t go and awaken Beavs, I finally managed to fall to actual sleep where I dreamt I murdered someone (and bit all my carefully tended to nails that I’ve been growing since I got here off) (that being as I slept, not in my mind).
When my alarm went off at 5.30 I struggled to arise, spitting nail shards out from between my teeth and wishing I could stay in bed to slumber. But as a good yogi do, I arose and headed downstairs for sutra neti (string in and out of each nose hole like a champ mate).
And I tell you what, I’m going to asana practice underslept all the time. I was in a floaty, dreamy little trance where I was totally in the moment and not overthinking; I glided through pose flows that I’ve never nailed before, walked down the wall backwards into wheel and back up three times and even lowered my legs to 90 degrees from a headstand ten times, which I’ve never done before.
(I also majorly barrelled into a brick wall about 11am and had to retire to recline for an hour).
3. I heard a beautiful way to be from one of the teachers; “create smiles on three faces every day”. Be it little, be it larger, just aim to achieve so. I think it’s just lovely.
4. I sat my main exam the other day, directing a class for a full hour 15. Usually one to get extremely worked up and riddled with twitchiness and trepidation, I made a point to pacify myself with deep pranayama and positive thought (and necking a quarter bottle of Rescue Remedy, but disregard that). And I found for the most part I managed to remain halcyon and irenic (quelling those rising waves of freak out whenever they came a’ crashing).
I completed the class at the spot-on-plus-a-minute time of 5.31, and Arvind (owner dude) gave me fairly fab feedback. “At times you spoke a little too fast” (story of my life) “and didn’t get them to hold in asana long enough, by otherwise it was a perfect class. You elude complete and utter confidence, so even when you are completely wrong no one doubts you.” (A good thing?). And I was oh so grateful he didn’t mention my inclusion of some “fun” leapfrog for everyone to get the feel for padahastasana (hand to foot pose); I thought I was ingenious in asking all to turn anticlockwise and get ready to go, but upon finding out Beavs was the only one who knew how it went and then witnessing one of the lads leaping as another lifted his face for a look about and get a phallus facial made me abruptly pull the plug on the activity).
5. I’ve been enlightened to just how how hard on myself I am. I am constantly in self judgment mode, and every slight “slip up” (be it food consumption, treatment of others or not-enough activity) has me self berating like the most brutal of bullies. I absolutely rip myself to shreds, pulling my personality completely apart and telling myself how undisciplined I am. I mean, I’d never be so to anyone else; why is it ok to be mean to me?
So last night I did something hugely illustrative of my sudden psyche shift. Every day I write in a notebook everything I consume, from banana at breakfast to a sip of Beav’s coconut water in the afternoon. And I record all my exercise to the minute and rep, determined to up it everyday (the other day I did 1001 ab crunches in a bid to bet the day before’s 751. I felt fantastic fleetingly, until I realised that the next day I wouldn’t be satisfied until I performed 1100). So I ripped it up. (The notebook, not my rectus abdominus). The whole damn thing. Every single page. And chucked it in the bin.
I don’t want to be counting on it and letting it run me and how I see my achievements. It’s not healthy, and it’s not how I want to live.
6. One of my favourite things in the world? Hearing a smile in someone’s voice. You know when you’re not looking at a person but you hear them speak, or – as the case is here on the oft – your eyes are closed and you identify a mouth turn up in their utterance? I just love the thought that you can ascertain that twinkle with your ears.
Also, I was going up the stairs when I heard one of the most beautiful sounds in the word; Beaver having just a deep from the belly, completely heart full laugh. He was skyping someone from home and the howls of unfeigned hilarity just made me so happy.
It’s the little lights that you sometimes string together and link up to illuminate life.
7. When on the scooters last Sunday we passed a number of roadwork sites. Rather than use road cones, the boys were blocking off their plat with big boldery rocks. I mean, it makes so much sense! Rocks are in abundance, and no sly steerer will run up and over them for the fear of fucking up their car.
8. Last time I was here I was quite fascinated in information pertaining to arranged marriages. And I find it really still rivets me.
You see, in India, arranged marriages still remain the majorly preferred way for individuals to enter into matrimony. In case of an arranged marriage, parents and other relatives decide on a life partner that they deem suitable for their offspring.
Before coming here I thought it was so sad and superannuated. I mean, being told who was to be your wife? Hounded into having someone as your husband? But talking to both young and old, my mind slowly swayed to see it as it is; a somewhat sensible thing.
Family is of utmost importance here. That sense of duty to your dearest, of obeying your olds, is so instilled in (mostly) all and it’s actually quite admirable. Today young Mo said, “One day I will have to marry and produce a baby to run my pedigree”; although it can be said to see it in such an almost mechanical way is a bit emotionless, it is a homage that the people pertain to.
And it is robustly believed that your parents know best and are the most fitting to select your spouse. Even in the 21st Century, around 85 percent of Indians actually prefer to marry the boy or girl chosen by their families, rather than choosing their life partners themselves.
India is a country where values and traditions are held above personal aspirations, wants and wishes. A family’s honour, pride and social status is given more priority than the happiness of the individual member.
The other way, a “love marriage” is when a couple choose one another – and apparently, it still attracts some social stigma. In the outer city areas it is still seen as the ultimate act of defiance that a son or daughter can exhibit. But in the more urban areas, amorous relationships leading to a wedding are on the up.
From what I have gathered, upon reaching a certain age and not producing a possible partner, parents set about searching for a suitable spouse. Often it has been sussed out for ages, sometimes from when the single someone was a mere minion. Manoj told me his marriage is the result of an arrangement; they laced a ligature last year. “The love grows,” he told me. “When you choose, the passion in the beginning can change to anger and resentment. But when you suit in criteria and all life areas, the love grows. And it lasts.”
I can’t imagine leaving it to Mummy Deb and Papa Henio to elect a lad for me. But I do see the sense in it. (Arranged marriage, not my parentals picking my partner).
9. I always say how travel is my favourite thing. How India, Nepal and Holland are my happy “place”. But I’ve started undertaking a switch; I don’t want my happy place to be a physical locale. I want my happy place to be a spot in my head. A place I don’t have to up and travel to, but a site I can transport to in my mind. A happiness I can find in myself, not running away round the world.
I’m feeling a lot more clear headed and a lot more me. And I’m only three weeks in with a further four months and one week to go.
That instills a real sense of exhilaration in me.