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It has been a quiet day. We travelled home to Mysore this morning after a great trip to Bangalore. All the air-con has brought my feet back to their previous incarnation. I made brown rice with tofu and bok choy and we spent the day reading and hanging out under the fan.

My friend Tazra, who owns Wild Child Baby Boutique, sent me a list of baby stuff last week and I went through and picked out the things I liked. I was totally transfixed for about 2 hours.

See how funny I look? Pregnancy is ridiculous. I think my legs get skinnier everyday as my belly gets bigger. By the time I give birth I am going to look like a chicken.

But what is more ridiculous is how cute baby stuff is. I got tired of looking at car seats in about 3 seconds. But you know what my baby needs way more than a car seat? This:

Or maybe 10 in different colours.

Today is the Hindu spring celebration, Holi. You have probably seen pictures, the kids go around and throw pigment on each other. It seems like a lot of fun.

Someone at the hotel told us that it is a bigger deal in the north. This doesn’t surprise me because it is 35 degrees everyday here. How can that be spring-like? If no rain for months and 35 degree weather is spring, than summer is a terrifying thought.

I did see a few boys in our neighbourhood trying to pelt each other with pigment. They were laughing hysterically and trying not to get their picture taken.

The girls were all unscathed.

Happy Spring!

categories: Mysore, Pregnancy
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Tourist day in Bangalore. We got up and squeezed through traffic to get to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. The gardens were built in the 1660s – it was beautiful to be in all that green and shade.

It was also early enough before the smog sets in to see the whole city from the temple.

I think they must have found out about David’s authorization and my thrill-a-minute blog, because we had to take many pictures with the Indian tourists. Le sigh.

Or maybe we just look like freaks.

We walked around MG and Residency Road and looked at the huge Western shops and the amazing amount of Chinese restaurants. Because we are so cool the only thing we bought was silken tofu and some bok choy.

Bangalore is relatively quiet during the day, and right now at 7:30p the city starts to come alive. The bars are bustling and you can hear the beeping of rickshaws and taxis taking people to work so they can talk to people in the west. We are getting ready to go out into the fray for snacks.

I hope your day starts as wonderfully as mine is ending.

We did led primary, went to Sanskrit, and skipped out on the meeting because Sharath told us we didn’t have to go. Then we hopped on a train to Bangalore. We got AIR CONDITIONED seats on the train. It was freezing! So great.

There were only a few people in our car, because very few people brought their winter jackets.

I am used to sleepy old Mysore, so Bangalore is a change of pace. It is the third biggest city in India and the traffic is pretty nutty. Here is a picture from the rickshaw we took to the hotel. The traffic is squeezes about 5 cars/rickshaws across. The exhaust, the honking, the safety first mentality (cover your eyes and pray) – it is overwhelming.

But also really fun. We knew we were in a bigger city when we saw this magazine at a coffee shop:

Lesbian and gay poetry? That would never fly in conservative Mysore.  Tonight we are relaxing at the hotel, St Marks, which is fantastic and the bathroom is gorgeous. I tried to take a picture, but it didn’t do it justice. Here is a picture of David looking at the takeout menu while watching the Discovery Channel.One month without television, I’m so deprived! Got to go watch the Hindi movie channel!

Today I had a bad case of the chitta vrittis (mental chatter) during practice. I was squished in by the men’s change room and although I was only bumped into a couple times from well-meaning boys coming in and out, I was terrified of being knocked over. Especially in my dropbacks. I obsessed over this all practice: “Someone is going to walk out of that change room just as I am coming up to standing and I will be knocked over onto my tummy (I’m not sure how this would be possible but anyway) and I will cry and the boy who knocked me over won’t care and why did I get this spot and doesn’t anybody realize I’m pregnant…blah blah blah.”

But I did my dropbacks and no one knocked me over. Saraswathi gave me a big smile and after practice I sat on the steps and drank some grape juice. Everything was OK.

We registered again with Sharath for the next two weeks and we told him that we wouldn’t be able to come to the extremely important meeting. He said it wasn’t all that important. It was just to let students know about the new visa regulations that are being changed as of March. Now we need to have a student visa to come and study at the shala. Right now we are on a tourist visa. Since the blast in Pune, the police are starting to be more careful about yoga students – particularly because they like to hang out in the same spots in big groups and can represent soft targets for terrorism. It appears as though he is going through quite a bit of red tape just to register the shala as a school and accept student visas.

So, sadly there were no plans for a dance recital.

I thought today would be a good day to chat about bathrooms in India. People like to water the sidewalk outside their homes, sweep leaves away from piles of dirt and clean floors with a rigorous obsession. But no one will clean the bathroom. Remember the Paradise Hotel with the fancy 70s furniture:

Here is the bathroom – just 10 feet to the right of where this picture was shot.

Notice the toilet paper has been folded into a triangle shape. Fancy!

Here is the bathroom at the KPJAYI:

You can’t see in this photo but there are several long black hairs stuck to the seat. The floor is always wet, and you can’t really sit on the seat because that is always wet too and ready to fall off.

At the beginning of last week, someone threw a piece of trash into the corner of the shala bathroom. That piece of garbage has made friends with other pieces of garbage and now there is a pile of wet paper stuff in the corner.


Not to be outdone, we have two bathrooms in our apartment. One is really clean and new and we work hard to keep it spic and span. The other bathroom was so gross, we just decided that life was too short, locked the door and forgot about it. I opened it up today to take this picture:

True elegance! Try not to hate us.

Today I did a modified supta kurmasana (I can’t help myself – I pray this baby isn’t as stubborn as I am). I put the soles of my feet together and just let my hands rest where they landed on my back. I didn’t want to throw up the pear I ate last night and I wasn’t completely out of breath afterwards. Perfect.

Saraswathi did my dropbacks today. She is very sweet and smiley with me. She asked if it was a girl or a boy. I told her I didn’t know. She said that was better. In India it is illegal to find out the gender because of the rampant female infanticide.  I think it will be a fun surprise. But what is a surprise without a little anticipation. Do you think you know the gender?

The ladies who clean our floors were laughing at me as I was sitting dripping sweat in the afternoon. They made me a fan from an oatmeal box that they washed out. When we were playing around with it, the fan broke and so they laid it out in the sun for me. The power goes out often here, and the temperature hovers around 34 or 35. If the ceiling fan has no current, you start sweating. And your whole body gets covered in sweat. My bum even sweats – I didn’t know that was possible. It is hard to sit down for too long or else the sweat starts running down your legs. I like my oatmeal box fan, but I think I need one of these:

And someone to work it.

Big news: two days ago I saw Shrutti, Sharath’s wife, assisting in mysore with a CATFISH t-shirt on. Grant says he has seen her wearing the bright orange tee before. It really is a great shirt and a fantastic logo. It was fun to see it again.

The rumour mill is running full speed here over the cancelled/rescheduled meeting. There is really so very little for people to do but speculate and decide where to go for lunch. Anyway, some folks say the shala is closing 4evah and Sharath won’t be teaching for the rest of the year. I say the dance recital needed a few more rehearsals. Or MAYBE the family is thinking about changing the KPJAYI name to Catfish Yoga Shala. That has got to be it. At the end of the dance, there will be a giant fireworks display and the words CATFISH YOGA will be written in sparklers. It is going to be huge!

Too bad we will be in Bangalore.

That is it. I’m breaking up with supta kurmasana. Yesterday my feet were crossed but my fingers were flailing around my back looking blindly for each other, when I heard Saraswathi chime:

“Grab them! Grab them!”

Then she came over and pulled them together with a “Urghh”. And I started breathing like an overly excited dog.

Today, I tried again. And again, my feet were crossed and my fingers were traveling up and down my back looking for each other. But today I totally wanted to ralph afterwards, and it took me a while to catch my breath. I decided right then and there I would ask Sharath during my backbends (maybe in more civil words), “Supta K makes me want to vomit. Can I say goodbye already?”  But Sharath didn’t backbend me today, and he seemed busy so I thought I might ask tomorrow. David said I don’t need to ask and he is probably wondering why I am continuing to do it. I guess that makes two of us. Why am I so stubborn?

During class, Sharath made an announcement for all of the students to come to a very important mandatory meeting at 5:30p. David thought it might be a continuation of Shraddha’s dance recital that we saw on Sunday. We were also wondering what would happen if we made that kind of announcement at AYCT and how many people would come. Maybe 2, if they were in the area or teaching a class at the studio. Anyway, everyone showed up at 5:30, and the meeting was postponed until Friday. Perhaps the sparkly arm band costumes were not ready.

Sharath and Saraswathi work very beautifully together in the room. I have even heard them finishing each other’s sentences. It is nice to see a mother and son work so closely and so well together. Today I saw some animal friends with the same spirit of cooperation.

There was a pile of garbage outside the house from the huge party this weekend. It was getting stinky. And today the goats came by to clean it up. Thank you goats!This kid was also chipping in:

And I also saw a bird eating the flies off a cow’s face. Helpful!

Animal cooperation is the best!

It is Mercedes’ 20th birthday today. So if you happen to see her, sing Happy Birthday very loudly to her and insist on birthday spanks because she loves that kind of stuff. Loves it. So much!

When I first met Mercedes, she had just gone out with her mom to buy a back-to-school grade 3 outfit. It was a blue top with a matching skirt and she wore it to the movies to show her dad. She was pretty proud of it. Now she can buy her own back to school outfits, make amazing cookies, draw anything that moves, get herself to work on time, and a lot of other things that many grown-ups (including myself) still have trouble accomplishing.

For her birthday, we walked down to the apartment we lived in when the three of us were in Mysore two years ago. We were hoping to see her favourite cow, Crazy Eyes, but the stinky canal that ran alongside our old flat was being torn up and the cows were put away somewhere else. I did see one little calf, that I think might be Crazy Eyes’ offspring.

20 is a formidable number. Everything changes in 20 years, but there is this funny tie we have to our 20-year younger selves. If you told me that I was 14 only three years ago, I would be inclined to believe you. I’m not sure if memory has a timeline, it feels more like a bundle of disorganized papers that I am carrying with me into the future. Occasionally a piece of paper flies away as I bend down to pick up a few more.

20 years ago, David was pacing and waiting nervously in a hospital in Scarborough. 20 years ago, I was 14 in Rome, trying to decide if it was cooler to smoke Marlborough Reds or Camel Lights with my coffee.

What were you doing 20 years ago?

I had led primary and conference with Sharath today. Led primary is becoming my number one nemesis, and because Sharath was talking about people with bad thoughts in their heads today in conference – I will decline to comment on my practice. In conference, Sharath talked about parampara, the line of teachers in Indian and yogic traditions, feeling proud the tradition you follow, and enjoying being a student. He spoke about this in Toronto and his relationship with Guruji and it resonates with me still. I love being part of a community and a yoga studio that follows a tradition so closely and I do like passing on that tradition in whatever small way I can. But mostly I love being a student and I love practicing.

And then Shraddha, Sharath’s 8 or 9-year old daughter came in and did a dance with a bright yellow outfit and silver dangly arm cuffs. And conference was pretty much over.

**Update on the Neighbour’s party***

I mentioned in a recent post that I was amazed and impressed with how peaceful and calm the large, cymbal-loving party was at our neighbour’s a few days ago. I posted a picture of what I assumed was people taking down the tent the next morning. Actually, it was people putting up an even bigger tent. That party was just a warm-up for today’s pooja. EVERYONE came, ate, chatted, prayed and played the cymbal. No fighting, no screaming, and I’m not picking cigarette butts out of the tulsi plant this evening. It is incredible. I would live in a cardboard box in Kabul for neighbours like this.

2010 has been a tough year for great dogs. As some of you know, I am mildly obsessed with the Dog Whisperer. My favourite dog on the show is Daddy, Cesar Milan’s hilarious and dependable pit bull. Daddy helped Cesar teach other dogs to be sensible and good so they wouldn’t kill the mail carrier.  Like Dolly, Daddy fought a battle with cancer and survived, but he died a couple of days ago at the age of 16.

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Here is something to cheer you up! Beer belly!

It is supposed to get a lot bigger in the upcoming months. I’m scared!

Saturday is chore day, sheet day and lazy day. So, we cleaned house, washed the sheets and put them out to dry in the sun and then went to the pool.

Oh glorious cold pool! David rubbed my feet with castor oil this morning to try and relieve some of the swelling. God bless him. The combination of lying around being lazy, castor oil rub and swimming in cold water really helped. By the end of the afternoon, my feet were feeling much better. Sadly, I have to admit, they still look like misshapen lumps of dough.

David: (staring at my feet with a concerned look) So, how are your feet?

Stan: Oh, I think they are a lot better – almost back to normal. Don’t you think? (pointing and twisting one foot at a crude angle to show the ghost of a foot bone)

David: (not making eye contact, still staring at the feet) Yeah….yeah….mmm….(faintly) better….

My husband is the best!

Speaking of large extremities, yesterday in Sanskrit Lakshmish was helping a student with writing her vowel symbols and consonants. Most of the time in Sanskrit the consonants are the base and the vowel that proceeds it is a symbol on top, below or beside the consonant. He looked at her writing and shook his head gently, “It is like a small person with hands that are too big. It doesn’t look right.”

I don’t know if it was the sweltering heat in the that room or my large feet or what – but I started laughing hysterically.  Once I calmed down, he started telling a bunch of good, clean jokes. Here is one for the campfire:

Once there was a young man who was studying in university. He went into the ladies hostel (read: residence) and when he came out the principal called him into the office.

Principal: Young man, do you know where you were?

Young Man: Yes, sir. I was visiting my friend.

P:  You mustn’t go in there again. I am fining you 100 rupees.

The young man paid the fine and the next day he did the same thing. He went into the ladies hostel, got caught by the principal and paid a 100 rupee fine. This happened two more times. Finally, the principal spoke up.

Principal: You have paid this fine four days in a row!

Young Man: Yes, I was wondering how much for a monthly membership?

Bwahhhaa! Brahmin approved humour! Classic!

Got any good, clean jokes?

Quick question: who’s foot is this?

This foot is claiming to be my left. It is attached to my leg, but I am not convinced. My feet have bones and are relatively delicate. They aren’t lumpy pieces of pinkish-white dough with sausages stuck clumsily on the end. And my ankles? Totally AWOL. When my calves go, I am going to call the authorities.

But who am I to complain? The Body Snatchers may have done away with my feet and I am so sad about my gorgeous dog, but everyday life presents me with immutable beauty. When I go through the pictures of the day, everything is possibility.

Today, we went to led primary, worked on our new project together, walked around too much in the sun and then came home and acted like hammy hamsters with non-alcoholic beer.

We ran into a bunch of baby goats when we took a wrong turn.

We ate porridge and banana bread on our patio. Everyday is sunnier than the last.

If my face starts to swell, I’ll start kvetching again.