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July 25, 2015

 

 

We are back home, and I think I left my Muse behind!

 

It’s been 10 days now, and I have been too busy to put anything in writing. There is so much to share of course, but the transition from being alone and introspective, to being with family and extroverted is a huge shift. One would not know the change unless one went through both scenarios side-by-side.

 

The physical journey back was absolutely miserable because it started out with a 3 hour hilly car drive early in the morning. The taxi driver must have been seriously caffeinated because he sped the car around bends at break neck speed. Aside from the risk factor, the speedy car ride made me excruciatingly sick and we had to pull over multiple times. Let me tell you that there will be no poems ever written about standing in pouring rain, in squelchy mud, trying to upchuck a Dosa. No! That is one topic that the lofty poets shall never be espousing lyrical prose about.  And one of the times that I was standing in the rain, a little cr...

July 23, 2015

 We have been here for 17 days now. 

 

For me time here at the ashram has been a kaleidoscope of people and feelings. In these 17 days, I have met and made some wonderful new friends; everybody has a story, baggage, fears, a past, and a future that they are trying to work towards. It is really so wonderful when you can be around a person and not be judgmental; yup she is a hippie and finding God, or he just talks too much, or anything. Point is to just stand still, and hear and see people just simply for who they are.  Everybody at this place has their guard down, are bare, and you see them at their most vulnerable. What of anybody else, my own son Amar has being going through some interesting introspection, and a lot of the memories I will take from here are of him.

 

My craziest memory of Amar here so far is of him hopping around madly from foot to foot like a crazed Ninja trying to stomp out thousands of large ants that invaded his room. And, wrapped in a green sheet/shawl, walking on t...

July 20, 2015

 

 

There is constant, non-stop rain.

 

I do not exaggerate when I say that it rains at least for 20-22 hours in a day. Most of the time, it is an incessant heavy downpour, and on some occasions it is a mild drizzle. So on the rare day that there was a lull, I decided to venture to the neighboring town of Koppa. Just to give an idea on how this qualifies as a ‘town’ is relative to the little hamlet where the ashram is situated. Anyway, beggars cant be choosers, and so Koppa it was for my first outing.

 

You have to understand that 90% of clientele here is foreigners from USA, Brazil, Australia, and Europe. As a foreign tourist there isn’t a realistic yardstick of disparity of lifestyles in India. Most people come here either to find God, health, or, just the unique cultural experience. And to that end, they go really native and accept everything that comes their way as being quintessentially Indian. As an Indian, and that too a spoilt Punjabi, going native was not really even a thought in my...

July 17, 2015

 

 

 

There are no mirrors in this place!

 

Well, if you don’t count the little fuzzy half mirror hanging in the verandah meant to be shared by 4 bedrooms. I seriously don’t know the logic behind this very obvious absence of what one would consider a very necessary item in each bathroom. And somehow it seems that this oversight is by intent.

 

Of course not being used to functioning without a mirror, I initially found it hard to even brush my teeth. I almost felt that I might not be able to even brush my teeth. And when I wash my face, I look up and check myself to see what changes the night has wrought, and looking up and facing a blank wall is a bit of a shocker. Not seeing your face is one thing, but, since there is no mirror, there is no make-up! Not that this place has any need for make-up, but sometimes you spruce up just because you don’t want to look like a cross eyed panda all day.  

 

Personally I feel that there is a deeper conspiracy to this lack of shiny objects stuck on walls. I t...

July 14, 2015

 

What are we actually doing here?

 

I keep using the vague term  ‘Ayurvedic ashram and treatments’ without going into any specifics. Lets start at the very beginning: Back in the ages, Ayurveda was one of the three sister sciences of Yoga, Ayurveda and Jyotish (Astrology). All three disciplines were taught and practiced cohesively. Of course as time went along, concepts and practices changed to suit the modern man’s needs.

 

 Ayurveda treats the whole person, and each person as an individual. Even if two patients have identical disease and symptoms, they will most likely undergo very different treatment based on their individual physical and emotional constitution (dosha). And that is what makes Ayurveda so exceptional; it understands and differentiates the subtle nuances that make you unique, and then seeks to address your issues based on your particular needs. However there are no short cuts. You manifest symptoms of actual disease after about three years of it cooking in your body/mind;...

July 12, 2015

 

 

 

How can the stories be complete without introducing the cast of characters residing at the ashram?

 

They are a family of four, Papaji, Amma, Dr. Ash and his wife Savi (also an Ayurvedic doctor). A young Ayurvedic doctor, Manisha, who is interning with Dr. A, Kalayani who works here, and currently a 29-year-old Brazilian girl who is studying Ayurveda. Plus of course the patients, not so many in the monsoon season. I can write pages on each character, but will keep the descriptions brief.

 

Lets begin with Papaji. Papaji is Dr. A’s father, about 5’9, slim, semi balding, wears glasses, and he is the backbone of the place. Dressed in his little lungi and t-shirt, he is always working, always. I have never seen him just sitting with his feet up. From serving us food, to keeping the fire burning under a huge water tank, to going grocery shopping, to helping with the treatments, to kneading the dough and making dosas. He is always smiling and very kind. You can go to him with any operational...

July 10, 2015

 

 

 

And so, the saga continues.

 

Today is the 5th day and life has assumed a rhythm. It took a few bumps to get there, but finally, it seems that a routine has been established.

Morning begins at 6.30 a.m. - I stumble out of bed, pick up the umbrella and walk down to the dining area; there Amma has a big cup of tea waiting for me. Have to back track a little on this - the normal steel glass that they serve tea in here is as large as our tequila shot glass...that threw me for the first 4 days, but finally desperation set in and I requested a bigger glass. So today Amma gave me this big steel mug full of steaming tea, which I gratefully bought back to my room, snuggled back into bed and enjoyed every sip.

At 7.00 a.m, Dr. A comes knocking on Amar's door, gives him his ghee concoction to drink, says a prayer over his head and gives him directions for the day. Then it is my turn. I go in for my treatments. So far it is a massage with medicated hot oil and the 2nd treatment involves pourin...

July 9, 2015

 

So finally it has happened!

I am sitting here in the hills of Karnataka in an Ayurvedic ashram. This place is small and privately managed by a husband/wife doctor team, and his parents who do all the cooking. This place is a village with literally one street which sells some basic amenities. The larger town of Koppa is about 10 miles away. The ashram is three small adjoining buildings in a gated compound, with dense tropical foliage on two sides of the compound. Currently since it is the monsoon season, there is pretty much non-stop rain.

The rooms are decent, very clean, BUT, absolutely no frills. It is down to the basics here also - bed, chair, one table...and there is absolutely no sense of decor. If I was rating the place in hotel terms, it would be half star. There is an attached bathroom, all modern, very clean too. They give you only one bar of soap and one towel when you arrive....and you have to ask for toilet paper.

For food, you have to walk (20 seconds) to the doctor's...

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© 2015 by Priya Singh