Random tidbits of randomness

A few pictures from a walk in the neighborhood around the shala.



Beautiful house. The architecture in Gokulam is quite… well, random, really. There are beautiful, luxurious houses, and there are more modest houses, and there are slums. The neighborhood around the shala is quite luxe.



Cheerfully painted tree trunk. Random, right? It’s up near the Chocolate Man’s stand. This time I got dark chocolate with hazelnut, dark chocolate with ginger, dark chocolate with coffee, and milk chocolate with butterscotch. This tree feels like my mood when I’ve just purchased all of that chocolate.



Cheerful Anna with cheerful tree.



Marvelously plum-colored house. My favorite.



Balaji. This is a fabric sculpture in the house of a woman who sells scarves and bags and other clothing. It’s a good four feet tall and is exquisite.

Here’s some info from Wikipedia:

Venkateswara (Telugu: వేంకటేశ్వర, వెంకన్న) (Devanagari: वेंकटेश्वर ) also known as Srinivasa, Balaji and Venkatachalapati (Tamil: வெங்கடாசலபதி), is a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. Venkateswara means the Lord who destroys the sins of the people. According to the Hindu scriptures, Vishnu, out of love towards his devotees, incarnated as Venkateswara and appeared for the salvation and upliftment of humanity in this Kali Yuga age. It is considered the supreme form of Vishnu in this age.

Okay, and since we’re talking about gods and sages, I want to share a story that is strikingly appropriate in relation to my experience of the shala.

Sage Bhrugu, according to Vedas, is believed to have an extra eye in the sole of his foot.

Sage Bhrigu went to Satyaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma. At Satyaloka, he found Lord Brahma reciting the four Vedas in praise of Lord Narayana with each of his four heads, and attended upon by Saraswati. Lord Brahma did not take notice of Bhrigu offering obeisance. Concluding that Lord Brahma was unfit for worship, Bhrigu left Satyaloka for Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva.

At Kailasa, Bhrigu found Lord Shiva with Parvati and not noticing his presence left for Vaikunta, the abode of Lord Vishnu.

At Vaikunta, Lord Vishnu was reposing on Adisesha with Sri Mahalakshmi in service at his feet. Finding that Lord Vishnu also did not notice him, the sage was infuriated and kicked the Lord on His chest, the place where Mahalakshmi resides.

Vishnu, in an attempt to pacify the sage, got hold of legs of the sage and started to press them gently in a way that was comforting to the sage. During this act, he squeezed the extra eye that was present in the sole of Bhrigu’s foot.

The extra eye is believed to represent the sage’s egotism. The sage then realised his grave mistake and apologized to Vishnu.



I vow not to kick anyone regardless how unseen I might feel. After all, it’s all in my own head! Please disregard how baggy pants make my waist look thick. See how much vanity I’ve managed to sustain against all odds?



Here are some photos of our digs. Anna trying to read and ignore me while I invade her privacy.



Foot of the bed, shelving unit, bathroom.



Bathroom, shelf with filtered water, corner of low table. See? I’m panning so you get the full effect of the room.



Low table with laptop and iPad. But that’s just a smidgen of our device-y-ness. You can’t see the other iPad and the two iPhones and the Indian phone. I wonder if the cleaning lady judges us when she witnesses our addiction to the Internet.



Scene as I walked over to visit Angie. It’s fun to have her just down the street. Same with Susan and Tova. People I usually only get to see if I travel to their cities for work. But now here we all are.



Tales are being told of a woman who was head butted by a cow, who then stepped on her foot. I haven’t tried to pat any of them. Like the dogs — and the cats and the goats and the chickens — the cows seem pretty independent.



View from our roof. The cows like to hang out near the huge haystack on the right. On the other side of it, there’s an old phone booth.



Laundry on the roof. Yesterday I washed my yoga mat and rug and hung them out there. I kept a close watch on them as they dried, since I heard about a mat being nicked by a monkey. I was ready to fight a monkey for my mat.

Some things I don’t have pictures of:

People waiting on the steps of the shala before led class. I conducted a random survey of the age of people sitting on the steps. My results:

21 people
3 in their 60s
3 in their 50s
4 in their 40s
8 in their 30s
3 in their 20s

Also undocumented: Yesterday afternoon, Anna, Susan and I were hanging out in the front room when we heard a drum and some ruckus that sounded like a parade with a very small marching band. We ran to the front gate and saw a parade of men, and then a flower-covered platform being carried by another group of men. On the platform was a chair, and on the chair was the fancily-dressed body of a man who was being brought to the crematorium.

Also: Last night Anna and I returned to the Italian cafe because we are jonesing for pasta in the worst way. Almost everyone in the cafe was a Westerner, but two young Indian men came in and ordered a pizza. When they got it, they asked the waiter for the condiment tray, which includes hot sauces, curry sauce stuff, hot peppers, and other things that melt the flesh in your mouth. They then DOUSED the pizza with tons of this stuff. After each bite, they stopped to add more spice. I felt like my pasta was hot enough since it contained jalapeños — which is a new twist on Italian, no?

I think that’s it for now. This afternoon we’re heading to the bazaar to have a look around, then maybe a quiet dinner at the Green Hotel. And I’m starting to put together plans for an overnight trip, which’ll include a Jeep safari and maybe an elephant ride!

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18 thoughts on “Random tidbits of randomness

  1. You are so funny!

    I love the age survey! Good idea!!

    I think a monkey has been getting in my room. I’m not putting it on my own blog/fb because of my Mom. I’ll discuss later with you the arguments for monkey vs rat :-/
    (note to Karen’s Mom: I am staying at a different place!)

    Hope you enjoyed your day, I ended up at the movies which was great fun.

    Going to ask about breakfast guests on the way out tomorrow. You should either come here, or I’ll come to your place for eggs :-))

  2. All the rich colors and amazing sights. Glad your both are having fun and to this point no mishaps with all the animals there. Nice to know that no matter how Zen you get, the vanity remains wouldn’t want you to change that much. 🙂

  3. OK well….
    I think my papaya did not spontaneously split open like the bananas do, but was gnawed at.
    Next day, a remnant of sandalwood soap was missing from by the sink.
    Next day two bananas found their way from the desk by the bed onto the bathroom floor. OK, now I got the picture, no more fruit in the room!
    Yesterday evening, I came home and found a carton of soy milk had also gone from the desk onto the bathroom floor and been chewed through. Ugghhh!!! Very considerate of whomever to make the mess on the shower floor though, where it was easy to clean up!

    So…. how could something get into the room?
    The drain? But then it would have to pull the cover back over itself each time on the way back down, like a little manhole cover…. I don’t think rats are known to do that??

    Or the only other way I can see is through the ventilation slats at the top of the bathroom wall. A rat would then have to scale a 6 foot tile wall to get out again, but a monkey, assuming it could squeeze through, making itself skinny like cats do, could easily swing back up via taps, towel rack etc.

    (somehow I feel better about a monkey than a rat!!)

    The bananas weren’t eaten though. But the soap apparently was (soap was nibbled at yesterday too, I might need to do some forensic research on monkey vs rat teeth and what the gnawings look like). The garbage wasn’t gone through, although that too had fruit peelings and coffee grounds….,

    Whoever it was also had to climb up on the desk and take the bananas and soy milk carton into the bathroom.

    What do you all think?????

    It has to be said that this place is very clean, but if you have silly people like me leaving food out, well….. it’s not the hotel’s fault…

    So from now on any food, in addition to being sealed, goes into the locked cupboard; I need to take my own rubbish out more often, as I don’t ask them to clean the room every day; also close and lock the bathroom door when not there. This might explain why Indian bathrooms always lock from both inside and outside!!!

    Sigh…. I may have to put this on my own blog as well, as it’s a whole post. You did ask though Karen!!!

  4. F*CK…… a rat :-((

    Just having a lovely nap, and after all that I forgot to shut the bathroom door! I had some washing hanging from a hanger on the door handle.
    Heard rustling and got up…. saw the bastard run from the bin, up the side of the door and out.
    I am traumatised, have been sleeping every night except last night with that door open, also ate from the same papaya as a rat 😦
    Well I have learned something. Sorry for putting all this on your blog 😦

    • Euwwwww! Haha! Now my mother (who has a dread of rodents) will be appalled. Oh well, rats need to eat, too. I imagine it trotting along with your soy milk like Juanita tried to sneak past us the other afternoon with her delicious piece of trash.

  5. nice to know you are all having a fab time out there. And the age survey gives me hope, maybe by the time I’m 60 my practice will be regular enough for me to travel to Mysore. And if Africa lets me go 😉
    big hugs
    fatou2002

    • I know you are being facetious about 60, but really — any age is fine here, and even without a regular practice, I think anyone who comes with good intentions will have a valuable experience. It’s a pretty special place. And that’s even aside from the yoga.

      • only slightly facetious…maybe late forties will find me in Mysore… and it does sound like a special place, with all my favourite cyber shala people hanging out together,
        I wish I could you were an HBO series that I could illegally download once a week. But then reading the blogs is like reading a screenplay and then I can see images in my dreams.

  6. I think reading blogs and having a cybershala experience is better than the real thing if there are rats getting into your room, eating your food, and running up the walls. Yikes!

  7. Just for the record, the rat was my fault….. the hygiene standards in this hotel are good and they will clean the room every day if you want, but I’m good with every few days…. but should take my own food garbage out in that case.

    It ran down and back up the bathroom door….. with the door shut it can’t come in. And food should be locked in the cupboard, d’oh, and garbage taken out frequently. No problems since then I am happy to report !!!!

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