Writing and editing

I had a good practice today. No goods or greats, but I felt fine. Our new time slot is 6a, so I am trying to get used to hauling myself out of bed an hour earlier. If you have been reading this blog, you can understand that it would really mess with my incredibly busy schedule here in Mysore.

It s nice to practice a little earlier because the heat is becoming quite oppressive. Today it reached 35 and by Sunday it is supposed to go up to 37. By midday, unless there is fan trained on me and I am holding a cold drink, I start to having trouble processing basic information.

The other day, we went to visit Shiva’s pugs and he showed us how he kept them cool by spraying them with a water bottle occasionally. The pugs seem to love it. Today, David and I sprayed each other with water – it was fantastic. I made orange juice popsicles in the ice cube tray. I pray the electricity doesn’t go off for too long. I love orange juice popsicles!

The big news here is the Swami Nithyananda sex tape scandal. Nithyananda was quite popular, built many ashrams, and received donations from all over the world for his work. He has an ashram very close to Bangalore. This swami is young and handsome, and according to Lakshmish has at least 3 friends.

His followers are so upset they have burnt down his ashram and are now hitting his picture with their shoes (don’t do this to the computer screen at home, no matter how disgruntled you are about his friends).

I wonder how many Swamis have sex tapes?

I had a great practice today. Sometimes the energy in the Mysore room can really throw me off, but today I could just breathe and focus on my dristi even though I was on a ridge. Anyone who has practiced at KPJAYI, feels my pain. Basically, the room has a marble floor and is covered with several overlapping (sweaty) rugs. There are an infinite number of rugs, and sections of the room have no rug at all. So, sometimes, you end up on the cold hard marble, other times you end up on a ridge made from the overlap of two or three rugs, and occasionally you hit a sweet spot – no ridge, no marble. With all the bumps, valleys, and divots, you get positively sea-worthy after a ridge practice. Today I was a good sailor.

Here’s a pic of the shala I found online. I’m sure the rugs were straightened out that day.

This weekend we have two days off because of the moon day on Sunday. Torontonians – don’t be haters, I know your moon day is on Saturday but I don’t make the rules here. Ordinarily, I would have spent the weekend reading and lollygagging about, but AYCT (inspired by Liz!) is raising money for relief efforts in Haiti this Valentine’s Day. I just don’t feel right sitting around while my do-gooder yoga buddies are facing another full week of practice.

So, David and I are going to walk up and down the 1000 steps of Chamundi Hill and I will donate to the Canadian Red Cross Haiti fund when we finish and I regain consciousness. I’m actually really excited to see it again. The hill is named after the goddess Chamundi, or Durga, who slayed a demon at the top.

At step 800, there is a huge statue of Shiva’s bull, Nandi (sadly not of his pugs) made out of a single piece of black granite.

I know many of you have raised money for Haiti, but if you haven’t yet – Sunday is a great day to share your love and your good fortune. Plus the Canadian government will match your donation. At the very least, the idea of me hauling my big belly up Chamundi Hill in 30 degree weather will amuse you enough to give!

You can clickity click here to donate online. If the Canadian Red Cross gives you the heebie-jeebies, CBC has collected a list of organizations here.

Extremely Exciting Photos from the Day:

Me on the steps leading up to our apartment.

David put up a mosquito net around our bed, so we won’t be eaten alive while we sleep.

We made popcorn and watched a movie.

Thrilling, I know. Try not to have a coronary reading this blog!

This morning I woke up with two little bites on my wrist. I went about my morning, made tea and prepared myself for led primary with Saraswathi. Just as I was leaving, I saw my first cockroach of the trip. A big, fat brown thing shuffling sleepily out of our bedroom and into the next room.

I posited that it might be a Cockroach Vampire, hence the two little fang marks on my wrist. David told me that the cockroach would have to be dead to get undead, and that would be unlikely because they are notoriously hard to kill.

But think about it. They don’t like sunlight, they live in a nest, and they can live through a nuclear disaster. Plus when I googled “Cockroach Vampires”, I found this colouring page for kids:

Pure evil!

Vikram and Vanessa from AYCT arrived today after spending the week in Delhi.

I’m totally giving them the Pug-in-a-Basket-I’m-all-hooked-up crown. They got an apartment, negotiated their rent down by 3,000 rupees, and signed up at the shala AND Vikram got a discount there. Unheard of! Bastards. They totally deserve it.

We took them shopping for toilet paper, and we took a picture of lovely Vanessa.

But we forgot to take a picture of Vikram too, so here is a picture of a cute dog we met instead!

But let’s get back to the Cockroach Vampire thing. Let me know what you think:

I’m all hooked up. I’m so hooked up. I’m considering getting two pugs and throwing them in a basket outside my door.

The data card came today, I am currently writing this entry during a blackout. We moved into our new apartment with a new fridge, a gas stove, a pressure cooker and a chapatti pan. I bought a string of jasmine and pinned it to the window in our kitchen.

The rooftop is beautiful and huge. Here is the view from our roof.

And if you look straight down, you can see the daily rangoli drawn by Rupa our landlord’s wife.

The apartment has the cleanest bathroom in Mysore, and one bathroom that we just decided to ignore and locked the door to. We spent the day with two cleaning women scrubbing and making the place our own.

The women called me “Aunty”, which made me miss my nephew in Toronto. Six weeks is a long time to be away from someone who is seven years old. He changes so much when I see him week-to-week, I wonder what new and cool things he will be doing when I get home in March.

Cantaloupe is the name for the baby in utero. I have seen some cantaloupes recently, and I don’t think it is an accurate description anymore. Here’s the bump:

Here’s cantaloupe:

David suggested pumpkin, because you can really go up in size with pumpkins. The idea of a prize pumpkin freaks me out a bit.

Any suggestions?

Led primary today, and I didn’t have to practice in the toilet. It was fun. I did the whole thing, but I only held uth plithi for 5 breaths before coming down and smiling at Sharath like the pregnant brat that I am.

While at the hotel, we have been blessed with a generator and unlimited wireless. Our new apartment doesn’t have wireless, and we learned from our last trip that the connection takes two weeks to install. It hardly seems worth it when we are leaving in 5 weeks. So, we decided to get a data card.

The date card is (supposedly) a handy little device that plugs into your USB and you can get wireless where ever you can get a cell phone signal. Fantastic.

We went to an internet place. The young man told us that in order to obtain a data card, we would need to bring in a photocopy of our passports, a photocopy of our visas, a passport-sized photo, and a letter – signed and sealed – from a landlord saying that we were living in Mysore. I asked, half-jokingly, if we needed to bring in anything else.

“Yes, ma’am. A letter from the Commissioner in Bangalore.”

OK. So he didn’t want to sell us a data card.

Don Shiva, with the excellent pugs, sighed and gave us a flyer for a store near the shala that sold data cards to people who don’t have time to drive 6 hours to Bangalore and back  in order to meet and obtain letters from the mysterious “Commissioner”.

The man at the store didn’t even need our names, but asked us to wait in his stall while he made a phone call. A few moments later, another man on a motorcycle showed up with our data card in his backpack.


He made a worried face when we told him we were using an old Mac, but the store owner assured us it was a very easy installation.

No such luck.

The next morning, we brought the computer and the data card back to the store. The store owner tried to get it installed, failed  and then gave the laptop to his hapless assistant who drove off with it in a scooter to the ‘main office”.

David was worried.

That evening, we walked over big hills of dirt and rocks to get to the entrance of the store. Waiting for the computer, we watched the canal outside get slowly dug out by small, wiry Indians. Women with huge shallow bowls filled with mud and dirt, carefully balanced on their heads walked back and forth in front of us.

The “main office” couldn’t help. The laptop battery had run out before they fixed the problem. Manju, a man we had never met, would come by the hotel the next day to solve the issue, “in two minutes”.

Manju had a VERY IMPORTANT meeting that day for 30 minutes with people from Bangalore (maybe the Commissioner!). But 30 minutes became all day, and so he showed up the next morning after breakfast. After trying for 15 minutes, he put the computer in his backpack and went for support at the “main office”.

David was irritated and worried.

Later, Manju came back with a new data card. Excited and flushed, he explained that this one would work on the computer. And it did. But we couldn’t have that exact one. It was the office’s data card. Ours would be coming tonight.

“It is a promise,” said Manju.

“Really?” asked David.

“No, it isn’t like that.” pleaded Manju, hand over his heart. “I promise.”

And so we wait and the world keeps beeping, hollering, digging along with us.

In the meantime, I figured out how to text with our Indian cell. When you type in your desired letter, another letter pops up. Type in the second letter and the first letter changes, sometimes to the letter you wanted, but more often not to a completely different letter.

I figured out if I kept typing the same letter over and over again –  a little sign comes up: SPELL?  Weird that it assumes you aren’t spelling before that point.  Just typing in random letters hoping for some sort of coherency.

Two days ago, our new landlord, Raghunandan, was typing his number into our phone. He shook his head slightly and smiled.

“These things,” he said. “They make us stupider.”

Yesterday was conference with Sharath.  He spoke briefly and generally about the sastras of Ashtanga Vinysasa Yoga and he was asked a few of the usual questions: Why is uth pluthi so long? (mind control/suck it up) How many days can I take off on my period? (three) Can I close my eyes? (nope!). Then we watched the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Foundation movie, which I have now seen three times. I was hot and the room smelled like varnish. I like conference, though. Especially, when Sharath chants or discusses the sastras. I can’t help it, I like the rules.

I did my first mysore practice today. Everything felt great, and no one knocked me over during my dropbacks – an irrational fear of mine since I found out I was pregnant. I bound in Supta Kurmasana for the first time in a week (my belly gets in the way of the second leg going into my clumsy dwi pada). Sharath assisted me in backbending and he told me to do my own paschimottanasana instead of giving me a squish.

We visted Shiva for the third time in as many days, hoping to find an apartment. Shiva was a rickshaw driver, who networked his way into being the Godfather of the Shala student gringos. He has a long grey bread, wears bright orange exclusively, talks slowly and methodically, and is permanently stoned. For the past three days, he looks at us and shakes his head, “So many students, everyone wants something different. Hard to keep track.” David suggested he get an agenda. Shiva watched him with big red eyes. Maybe not.

Shiva owns two pugs, Maggie and Apu. Apu enjoys rolling about in his basket and chewing his leash.

pug in a basketAnd eating the fence he is tied to.

pug-eatingI love pugs, but those two make me miss Dolly.

apu the pug

I think we found an apartment today. They are getting a fridge and a stove put in, and the place needs to be cleaned. The landlord is great, his two-year-old son is a muppet head and is in love with David. They have a generator and a roof top patio. We should be settled in by Thursday, but I feel that might be pushing it. We are reserved at the hotel until Saturday just in case. I can’t wait to have a stove again. The kettle miso soup was amazing this morning, but I would love to start making some brown rice.

south indian thali

We had South Indian thali for lunch today, and it didn’t make us comatose for the next 5 hours. it came with beans, great soup and some pickle. I ate the whole thing with my right hand. Yum!