Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mysore: India Lite

Last night I had dinner at Three Sisters in Agrahara. The food was excellent but more than that it was the space and the Sisters themselves. They are located in what appears to be an older part of town and their place is more like the India that I expected to find here. Mysore has become "India Lite" which is OK, but I get the impression that the western influence has slowly reduced places with the cultural ambiance of Three Sisters. I'm sure the shala moving from Lakshmipuram to Gokulam had a great deal to do with this as well. Gokulam is just booming with fantastical new houses with western toilets and hot showers. The next time I come I think I'll find a place in a less western part of the city. Sure I'll have to get a scooter or motorcycle to get to the shala in the morning, but it'll be worth it. Elle and Yatzik are living in Lakshmipuram and she drives into Gokulam every morning for practice.

I think I might rent a scooter for the last week I'm here, just to give this madness a try. Ok, hold that thought... I have a history with two wheel vehicles and this whole driving on the "wrong" side of the road thing is screwy. :)

Anyhow, thanks to a referral from one of the Australians, I was able to schedule a massage with Harini, who is one of the Three Sisters. I've heard she's is a bit particular about massaging men, hence the referral. I'm going to see her next Monday after practice. She supports herself with ropes as she works on her clients with her feet! I get the impression that her work is similar to Thai massage. I'm also going to be Christine's "body" for her massage "final" on Friday. She's been taking Kumar's massage class for the past two weeks and I knew she'd need someone to work on so I volunteered straight away.

It's Wednesday and I'm already feeling the crunch of time before I leave. I've so many things to do still. I want to get up to Chamundi Hill and go see in inside of the Palace. I might try and organize a temple romp on Saturday with a car and driver. Of course, if I'm going to do that I'm going to need to get on it. I also need to figure out my return train to Bangalore. I came in with a hired car but it was far too expensive (by Indian standards).

Practice was good this morning, but very hot. About half way through I became so thirsty that I actually would have drank water from a tap if it were near. I've never had a thirst hit me like that in practice before. I have to say that I feel I'm a bit under hydrated here and the past two days of practice have been very sweaty. I really don't know where the sweat is coming from. I'm probably kickin' some toxins from way back in 93! I swear I smell like fish and chips in practice. :) Ah, the wonders of Ashtanga never cease. I practiced next to someone the other day who drenched herself in what smelled like vanilla oil. I tell you, vanilla oil and fish and chips just don't go together. Of course, this line of thinking leads one down the path where the shala becomes this huge petri dish and we really shouldn't go there.

Notable quotes:
"There is no I in shala." Julian from Brighton after practice today.

I, in jest, berated him for moving the chairs and rolling out his mat in the wrong direction on the shala stage which prevented me from finishing there. I guess he got the "eye" from Sharath as well. I knew that after typing that I'd never had to finish in the men's room yesterday, I would end up in there today. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I do prefer the stage though. Look at me and my attachment! :)

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