A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: victoria8

Last entry.....

and every moment anew...

sunny 42 °C

The overnight train to Delhi was pretty nice, I had a cosy bunk with a nice family. The father looked like an Indian Robert de Niro and the grandfather snored soundly, wearing one of those fleecy smurf style hats that tie under the chin that elderly men (including Pattabhi Jois) seem to favour here. I actually slept very well and then left my luggage at the train station locker room. There was a queue of people all waiting to leave luggage and it occurred to me how much I'll miss little things about India, like being ushered to the front of queues by smiling men when I start sighing and acting petulant- I could never get away with that shit at home! What will I do without the attention? How will I live without my Greek chorus? I was walking around looking for an internet cafe and this big woman came up to me demanding a donation for her school as she pinned an Indian flag on my hoodie... This came in handy because she then negotiated with a rickshaw driver to find an internet cafe for me- hey, 50 rupees instead of 200!!! But it was a cycle rickshaw and my God, that guy must have thighs of steel as he cycled uphill for a good 5 miles pointing out landmarks as he went (so I paid double as it seems so unfair they should earn less than the autos). Getting an open topped cycle rickshaw in rush hour Delhi is an experience- you have to grip and engage all your leg muscles to avoid falling into the wake of a passing buses and clench your butt really hard to avoid completely dislocating every bone in the lower back.... And once more I felt like a colonial character in a Merchant Ivory film, holding on for life and primly clutching my handbag. Fear's not even an option. Because here you have to view the traffic 'organically' and have faith all will be well. Actually, if you're walking along the same applies.
So we got to Parhaganj and happily ended up outside the Lord Krishna Hotel which I had been told about by Angel in the Ashram- they have a beautiful rooftop cafe and I had some porridge and relaxed. And the staff there are just lovely, kind and helpful. On the table next to me was a famous British actress- I think the one who was in the '60's film, 'A Taste of Honey'- I can't remember her name but she was looking great, tanned and relaxed with a handsome man....
And I checked in online for my BA flight tomorrow... It actually seemed that I had a good window seat reserved, so maybe my upgrade (courtesy of Scott) came through! Or maybe they responded to my bitchy email of complaint I sent after the flight out...
Anyway, its a beautiful day here, the sun is shining, Delhi doesn't seem as dirty and difficult as last time. I actually wish I had some more time here, to stay in Paharganj, make new friends. I'm going to have a little walk, a few conversations and then its on to the airport for the last leg of the journey...
Its been an amazing trip.. Amodini said to me the other day that I should approach life in the same way that I've travelled through India- with an open heart, an open mind, ready to try anything, talk to everyone and yet at the same time completely looking out for number one and never letting your valuables out of sight... It doesn't matter where you are at the end of the day does it? You carry your woes, fears, talents, joys, memories and love with you wherever you are, despite the change in scenery. People say going to India changes you. I don't know about that, but I've been given a space that I didn't realize I needed so badly. Its made me look at my health and not take my high energy levels for granted anymore, but to rest, to accept what I feel, let it in and then let it go. I didn't realize how very tired I was when I arrived here, or how sad. I will come back though, I will. After all this has assimilated and change is not a quick process..
The advice I would give to anyone coming to india is........ 'Bring an empty bag man........!'

THE END (just for now)

Posted by victoria8 22:06 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

Bathing in Holy Waters

washing it all away...

sunny 3 °C

Its been such a beautiful last two days that I'm quite gutted to be leaving Rishikesh. It feels so familiar now, and I think I'll be leaving a piece of my heart behind. Last night it rained and rained for quite a while. It was even cold again, as if the universe was preparing me for my return to England. I had my last day of Panchakarma yesterday, the last steam bath and I feel great now, really calm. My pulse has stabilized and all the spinach I've been eating seems to have worked. And I haven't even rushed out for a cappucino this time, I've decided to try and maintain it. I did my last Ashtanga practice here this morning. The wind rattled the shala and little birds who couldn't understand that you can't fly through glass (unless you're really really really good at Yoga) pecked at the windows. I talked to Louise about the Yin Yoga sequence some more as I think thats the way forward to mastering the Primary Series, which I intend to do. I'm also considering breaking the practice up- doing the standing sequence in the morning and the sitting/lying/backbends/inversions in the evening. That might make more sense and stop me rushing. I'll miss practicing there, its like a magical and relaxed Northern outpost of Mysore sans ego. And the views...

I know that I should have had my fix of astrology by now, but I got talking to a guy called Neil here. He told me about a woman called Dr Amodini who he had been to see and he said that she was so good that he was going again. I thought it sounded tempting, but I didn't have the time. So he offered me his appointment and said I really should. So, it felt like I should- oh, and she does tarot too, and having a passion for the cards I went to see her yesterday. I had called with my birth details the day before. What she does is take the date, time etc, meditate and sleep on it, consult the beyond and then make extensive notes on it. It is Vedic astrology with an emphasis on the karmic aspects of the chart. It was the most thorough reading I have ever had. Astounding. And I liked her a great deal too- her interest lies largely in Tantra and she has written a lot on the subject, she's also very candid and not in the least embarrassed to talk about anything. Funny too, and unpretentious. Anyway, it took over 5 hours without really stopping for a break, except for some chapatis and great green pepper curry when I started to feel faint from all the information. I don't believe in making things 'fit' but there was a lot there that exactly echoed certain experiences I have had and things I want to do, both now and in the future. There was a point where she said that from time to time I have to 'retreat' in a way and then I come back stronger, like a phoenix- maybe thats why I was so drawn to getting my tattoo of a phoenix like entity, it really spoke to me and I've never felt the need for another. And, as Amodini pointed out- its a phoenix with sharp teeth.... Teaching came up again, and study, as always. One thing she said was that it struck her that my chart had a lot in common with, of all things, a nuns. Considering I wanted to ask about lovelife etc that didn't sound too great, but on reflection I suppose it is. Why am I sucked into some bullshit nuclear family ideal of happiness when if I lived that way I'd probably die of boredom.... And theres so much I won't put up with that other people generally do that it makes sense... So now is the time of work and study. Lots of links to work and study abroad too... I'm hoping to go to Spain to do the Vyayama Yoga course if work allows. Anyway, it was a great reading. She also told me that I should bathe in the Ganges, the holy river, before I left, as it is a great cleanser. It was still cool last night so I went for a walk. Rishikesh was like a painting after the rain, the sky was a gentle pure blue mixed with satsuma orange and the hills and mountains seemed to go on forever. It was a lot like this dream I had years ago, of a mythical landscape, like a Poussin painting that was suddenly lit up for me, and there was a castle in the background. It was beautiful.

So, after practice today my mission was to go for a swim in the river. Not only do you have to find a good spot, safe and preferably away from hoardes of staring boys, but you have to watch out for the currents as they can be dangerous. So I was wandering around when I suddenly bumped into Sebastien who I hadn't seen for a few days. On his big sexy motorbike! He's a sweetheart and he ended up giving me a lift to a great spot to swim and sat by the river smoking and looking brooding and handsome while I splashed around like a duck and floated on my back for a while. Its an amazing experience bring immersed in the water here. It makes you tingle all over- its like a tingle that has nothing to do with the temperature, but its like a burning cleanliness. I swam underwater for a while too. Amodini was right, I did feel like a lot got washed away. And PJ Harveys voice echoed in my head singing "throw it all in the river.... to be washed away slow....". Afterwards we went back into Laxmanjhula, it has to be one of the highlights of this trip, that ride along a narrow road next to the Holy Ganges under the sun, with the wind caressing us, going very fast. In fact, it was one of the highlights of my entire life, no fear whatsoever, even though Sebastien started to go obnoxiously fast until I squealed a bit and clung to him in an obligingly girly way...... You know, something occurred to me. Over the last day or two I was thinking about how nice it would be to meet up with Sebastien and go out on the bike but we were both busy etc. Then just at the best possible moment there he was, on the same street as me, nowhere near the hotel. Made me think that something was listening. And then it occurred to me that even if theres not a grand plan or higher purpose it's certainly worth believing in, and certainly acting as though there is because it gives you a certain freedom and autonomy. Oh yes its definitely time to go home now....

Then we came back to Swiss Cottage and went for food, I had a meal that wasn't khichri! Tofu sizzler, it was like a proper Sunday lunch and was a perfect last afternoon here. I was talking to Dipen who works here- he's a talented artist, he was showing me some of his sketches, and has been tattooing for a while in Nepal. We both reckon that Rishikesh would be a great place for a tattoo convention so I gave him the emails of anyone I thought might be able to get involved. That would be a great trip back! I am SO going to miss it here. Its a place I will certainly return to. Sebastien left today too. We were sitting outside under the trees and he got all his stuff together and packed up on the bike. He held my face in his hands and said "Goodbye Vicky, I think you will come back. Next time you'll come back with full power, happier yes? YES?" and kissed my forehead with real tenderness and then he zoomed off in a cloud of petrol fumes and smoke... I leave for Haridwar this evening, I'm getting a taxi to the train station and then arrive in Delhi tomorrow morning. I've a few hours so I may try and visit the Red Fort before I have t be at the airport. Then two flights. Its not so bad. I actually enjoy the travel...

Posted by victoria8 04:46 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

Storms over the Ganges

and begging techniques...

rain 32 °C

I have made it to most of the Ashtanga practices this week. Although I'm having a bit of a plateau in my practice in some respects, things are getting easier and I've learned a lot this week. Louise went over some Yin Yoga practices with me, to balance out the Ashtanga and to gently bring flexibility and awareness to the stiff areas. Like most people, I have a tendency to skim over what I find difficult or uncomfortable and so staying in an asana, using support where necessary is a good thing. Thinking about it though, what I find difficult/easy changes and sometimes swaps places... I find the standing sequence in Ashtanga easy and exhilirating and have got slightly unbalanced as I am very strong now but don't always find it so easy to let go.
This evening I braved the Usha Devi Iyengar class again. It was actually a great class. She was shouty, impish, very funny. This evening it was all "Oh do as you like, you do not care what I say...". She gave everyone a long pep talk. She said that even if you have been doing Yoga/asana practice for 7-10 years you are still a beginner and she was talking about how it frees you from both mental and physical bondage. How it gave her her life back after a serious car accident. She was saying that Iyengar practices intensely every single day so that he is not a slave to his body and the natural deterioration that can occur with age. And how when your body is properly aligned and doing what it can naturally do there is no risk of injury. And we were focussing on upavista konasana and its variations and I could feel a relaxing and lengthening of my inner thighs that felt good and comfortable. I've also completely stopped bending my knees to modify an asana and how found a new and better approach that protects the knees and reduces the risk of injury. It made me realize how much I miss the Scaravelli classes in Brighton- the multitasking awareness of a posture and then completely being in it. Oh, and one of the guys from the Ashram teacher training course turned up! The same one that nearly drove me crazy taking photos, but he didn't have his camera tonight, I'd like to have seen what Usha would have made of that kind of conduct!!
I went to a Sivananda class last night and it was then the Heavens opened... Rishikesh is beautiful in the rain. This was a full on storm though, with thunder, lightening and flooded streets. It was so loud we could barely hear the teachers instructions. I walked through the rain afterwards to go to the Madras Cafe for some hot food and then spent the rest of the evening reading, wrapped up in blankets and listening to the rain. There was a mist over the river and the hills turned into a bluish watercolour that seemed to extend forever. It was truly lovely.
vics_camera_139.jpg

I've spent a lot of time exploring in the past couple of days as my time heres nearly over. Thinking about karma etc and what the astrologer said I was sitting near Laxmanjhula bridge yesterday. A blind saddhu was singing a beautiful mournfula and soulful song. I listened to him for a while, it was quite moving. Then I went and put a few coins in his lap. Clocking this, the old lady next to him who had appeared to be in a trance suddenly burst into song too....! Theres a lot of people begging around here and some of them have some quite interesting techniques- painting themselves red and offering blessings, taunting snakes for entertainment. Theres one who site near Swiss Cottage and we have this conversation every morning;
Saddhu- "Madame! Hello! Namaste! (holds his arms in air) I can feel God! I can feel God in you! I can feel Goodness coming from you!"
Vicky- (sarcastically) Gosh! Can you really?
Saddhu- "Why yes Madame! And how are you today?"
Vicky- "I'm very well thankyou. And how are you?"
Saddhu- "Oh very well thankyou! Except there is no eating of the food for me today.. Perhaps you could be so kind as to spare 20 rupees...."
etc.... But the atmosphere is strangely good natured. I've seen crippled people on the bridge who walk on their knees, it looks medieval to me. But they smile at you and theres a light and contentedness coming from them which can't be faked. And believe me, I know how that sounds. I can't stand people that go on about how happy the poor in India are bla bla, this country has a lot, a LOT of problems. But you see some of these people and how they are accepting their present situation and not bemoaning or fantasizing about what they do not have. Its worth bearing in mind...
I had to laugh this morning though. I went to buy a bottle of water from a small shop and as usual, no change. The boy sprinted around everywhere with my 100 rupee note with no luck. The only person who had change was one of the saddhus who counted it out of his money purse in an organized fashion.... I tell you, God only knows where all the 10 rupee notes go.......

Posted by victoria8 06:30 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

Whitewater epiphanies

Karma and new characters

sunny 42 °C

The last couple of days have been amazing. Intense in all ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Theres been a lot of things on my mind bugging me, to do with the past and not being able to let go as I would like. It seems to have manifested itself as a dull ache in my hamstrings and butt. Truly, I keep catching myself tensing the muscles involuntarily. Also I notice my shoulders are tense like they were with work stress a couple of years ago. I'm trying to welcome this physical acknowledgement because if it surfaces it can be dealt with. And I tell myself that every morning before Ashtanga. The panchakarma is ongoing and doing what it should but its not always comfortable, a couple of times I've woken up with what feels like a hangover (chance would be a fine thing) and just slept in but the last couple of days I've been on good form. I try to be in the present, to focus on my own practice, to be aware of my drishtis and breath and not be judgemental but it was hard this morning. With the regular practice though, I'm becoming far more aware of what feels like a 'quiet fire' within me, in my core. Also, in sun salutations your flexibility and energy increases immeasurably when you feel the fire within you connecting with the sun without. You worship the sun as a part of the sun and become lost in it, moving like one of those plastic fish that wriggle around according to the heat of the hand it is placed upon. Its sometimes hard to get up early and trek down to practice but I am always so glad I did.
I thought I'd try a different class last night- I went to the Iyengar class at the Omkarananda Ashram, taught by Usha Devi. She is a very long term disciple of Iyengar. Someone had said to me that when she is in the room it is like being in the room with Iyengar himself. I can see what they meant. She's a remarkable woman, someone who 'glows' with their calling and truly lives Yoga. She's involved in all kinds of projects, mainly teaching children and setting up more schools here. She reminds me of one of the teachers at my boarding school. Strict, no-nonsense. Expects high standards as she works so hard herself. A lot of heart and a dry sense of humour. No leotard clad bunny who runs Yoga retreats for Guardian readers on Martinique is she. It was an intense hour and a half of "No! Thats wrong! Again! Do you speak English at all? Well, if you don't understand you must learn to use your eyes! Not that ankle back (slap!)! I meant this ankle (slap!)! Is that a dirty foot? It makes me so sad to see a dirty foot! Anyone who has dirty feet tomorrow will be sent out straightaway! What is this? WHAT IS THIS? Look, this is me doing what you are doing (slumps with comedy lazy face), up, up and again..." and so on.... Her knowledge of anatomy and physiologys fantastic and I liked her a great deal, she's very thorough. She actually said that you should not modify an asana by bending the knees as this can be more risky for the hamstrings. So I've stopped doing that, rather, I'm cultivating patience. I may go to one or two more of her classes but to be honest I really love the Sivananda classes and I've got quite into the flow of them. Also with doing Ashtanga in the mornings and the Panchakarma I don't think nows the right moment for Iyengar shouty classes of an evening.. However, if I decided at any point that I wanted to become a professional dominatrix I've met my inspiration... Oh and the man on reception there is thoroughly cold and unpleasant. Those Iyengar folk... they do insist on keeping it real.....
Yesterday I decided that I should get out and explore a bit. So I went whitewater rafting down the Ganges. It was incredible! Its very romantic, rowing down the river, it has a very 'Legends of the Fall' vibe about it. You row past all these saddhus who have little self built huts by the river. They sit there in faded orange robes watching the world and feeding goats. There are little beaches with glittering silver sand and its stunning. The water is turquoise and crystal clear, fresh and charged with energy. The trip wasn't too hair raising, only a few occasions when the boat was vertical and nearly tipped us out. There was me, a couple of nice Israeli girls travelling and a bunch of Indian guys who kept insisting we stop so they could jump off rocks. Oh, and who thought it was really funny to stop rowing and let me at the front do all the rowing on our side. I turned round and shouted at them a few times but they just smiled indulgently at me. Its incredible being out in the middle of really rough water- so I have a new hobby because I HAVE to experience it again, its amaxing. A bard in Wales once said to me that being in wild water is like being immersed in pure Awen- the Druid term for inspiration or God energy- the Celtic version of Om. It truly is.
In my last five days of Panchakarma now. Been doing some interesting cleansing techniques and eating a lot of khichri and drinking a lot of water. I cracked at the weekend and had some cake (oh, and half a can of beer but that, erm, wasn't my fault) but I'm back on the wagon now. I've been feeling more sensitive of other people. Like I can see whats going on with them better than I could before. And my day to day relations with people are feeling very good at the moment, if thats a measure of progress at all. Theres been moments of feeling utterly miserable too. But they're few. And lightened by people I meet. Funnily enough I bumped into one of my old work colleagues from American Express in Laxmanjhula today! Totally unexpected! We went for a cup of tea and made plans for Sunday lunch before I go.
So today I went to see a Vedic astrologer. I went to see this guy because he's young, about my age, and speaks excellent English. Which is good because I wanted to ask him things and the older traditional astrologers just tend to bark out the same old phrases at you about how you will not have any accidents and how big your house will be bla bla bla.... He's called Dr Aksh Dubey and it was great. He really knew his stuff and I was impressed. He explained to me some of the basic differences between Western and Vedic astrology- how Vedic astrology is far more concerned with the Moon and its nodes and Karmic issues. He asked me why I was sad and I nearly welled up but managed to compose myself. He knew things I didn't tell him about my life, personal things (like he started talking about my father and how he hated spending money). And he managed to help me to see that no-ones judging me or my life as harshly as I am. That I'm not getting old and its all bleak. He said something I've suspected for a while- that I've got this gift of freedom, that here I am, in India, learning things I never thought I would. Doing things that millions of people aren't in a position to; there is nothing, nothing, holding me back from having the most incredible life but I've chosen to spend a lot of it lately moping over someone who didn't even have the get up and go to change his filthy bedsheets.... I might as well fly up to Heaven and chuck a brick through Gods lounge window if thats all the gratitude he gets for my liberty... I think thats whats called an epiphany.
And so at this time I'm influenced by Jupiter and must forge ahead and not lose faith or confidence, dare to break the patterns. He said my strengths are communicating, teaching and writing and there are exciting oppurtunities around 2010 if I work hard now. Also there'd be an important relationship next year- I could get involved with someone sooner but it'll be the same as before so I should look out for number one, oh, and stay healthy, not too much wine as its energy draining. He also said I should do some Karma work to appease Saturn- to give black coloured items like t shirts, pens and dark lentils to the poor on Saturdays- I said I would but didn't want to offend people by going up to them and offering them free rudimentary groceries etc- he said its ok, in India people are familiar with the paying of karmic debts procedure. We had a good chat after the reading. He's into the study of Occultism and recommended John Woodroffe as a great source of information on Tantra. And he reckons that Christianity in its original form is a branch of Tantra, which started to become popular in India around 600BC. So I left with a lighter heart , fresh resolve, and a booklist and went to Sivananda practice and enjoyed a beautiful and quiet class.
I went to the Madras Cafe to end the day with some fragrant vegetable pulao and curry. As if to illustrate what I learned today I met one of the great characters of my trip. A tall, rangy 63 year old Scot named David. A retired psychology lecturer he's been living on and off in India for 40 years. He had the misty eyes of Peter O'Toole and his dress was elegant. He was passionate about Scotland, passionate about India. He professed to have no interest in religion or mythology but gets up at dawn to meditate. He told me that he's been married for ten years, he met his wife, a Swiss lady, on a train from Amsterdam and she never got off at her station and thet haven't been apart since. And he said when that happened he thought he was going to be alone and so you never know whats around the corner. Hs eight year old daughter wakes him up to order him to meditate! He also made this observation that Western women find it difficult to wear saris becuse they reveal all- not in the sense of the flesh, but in the sense of the nature of the wearer. We talked about books and Indian history and he completely, completely charmed me and the two American ladies who came to sit at the table as well. A very very interesting man... Its been a very enlightening day. Its been wonderful..

Posted by victoria8 07:01 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

The Nescafe Princess

practising under Panchakarma day 13...

sunny 34 °C

The last few days have been pretty good. The Panchakarma is going well though its much tougher detoxing for 3 weeks than it is for 8 days. I've had all kinds of symptoms I didn't have so much last time. Patches of dry skin coming up, complete and utter weariness, sleeping loads and feeling quite introverted and just wanting to read and be quiet. Feeling as chilled as a Buddha statue and having the most lucid dreams. Last night I was chasing around the backstage of a theatre looking for polish for a pair of cowboy boots... Don't know what that means... Also was feeling too stiff to go to Ashtanga practice for 2 days and just slept more. Then I was in a bookshop in Ramjhula and bumped into this American guy who's doing it too, and is about the same stage as me. We compared symptoms and his were very similar. Another weird thing is how hungry I've been. Its not a 'diet' because you can eat as much as you like as long as its unprocessed, vegetarian, not fried, sugary, too spicy etc so its easy, but two nights ago I'd had curry, rice and vegetables followed by some fruit and it was a good portion too- 30 minutes later I ate most of a loaf of bread (sattvic, wholemeal, handbaked naturally) as I was still hungry. Then a big bag of mixed nuts and raisins, it was crazy but my stomach felt completely empty rather than it being wanting to eat for any other reason. Dr Arora said that hungers totally natural at this point and its a good sign that I'm healthy and I should eat if its a natural hunger because I'm just stocking up on minerals etc and I need the protein. And he said I could eat some paneer too if I wanted (Indian cottage cheese, very very good, especially in stuffed paratha bread). Anyway, the insane hunger seems to have eased off today, and this morning I woke up with boundless energy and went to Ashanga which was great. It was just myself and one other person, we worked on the primary series and chatted to Louise quite a bit. She studied with Pattabhi Jois for years and has some great chat. She was saying that Pattabhi Jois always liked to work on a very individual basis and was less prescriptive than people tend to think, offering different modifications for different people, and even telling people to have lives! In other words, to go off and do stuff like have families rather than just doing asana practice all day every day.. I think from what I saw in Mysore, a lot of people have forgotten that Yoga is a tool for you to live more completely in the world, not camp out in Gokulam for months and stroking rather than transcending your ego... Speaking of which, since I've accepted that its going to take me another two years or so to be able to get all the way through the primary series my practice feels better. Freer.
I've been attending the Sivananda class most evenings for two hours. Its a beautiful practice, not dissimilar to the Bihar sequence- as in, once you've done Pranayama, sun salutations and some preliminary warm ups you start with the headstand followed by shoulderstand. Its a slow, gentle and meditative practice, great to balance out the Ashtanga. I love the way that theres not the injury paranoia/ fear of being sued issues that there are in the UK. Basically if you're not ready to do something you don't do it and you're credited with some intelligence and take responsibility for what you do. The woman who teaches the class is great. She cames around and hoists you into a better position, sometimes not too gently. And she has to spend a lot of time chasing monkeys away! There seem to be more and more baby ones hanging around and they are so sweet but we've had to start putting our flip flops inside as too many were being stolen for toys...
Sandra left a day ago- to go to Delhi to finish up some work and stuff. Rishikesh is now a much quieter place! I miss her but we're in touch and I have to go visit her in the South of France sometime. Another French person showed up, Sebastien, on a motorbike. I was talking with him at dinner last night, he's been living in French Guyana for years and has many tales of jungles and malaria.. He's like a character in a book.
I also finally got around to going to visit Soma at his ashram- the Gita Ashram in Ramjhula where he's lived pretty much all his life. Its a huge place with loads of grounds and a beautiful temple but its quite rundown and the swimming pool is dry. Theres a nice vibe there though and I met some other students of Yoga and drank some tea. I was discussing stiff muscles with a couple of people and they recommended a good Iyengar teacher who's an expert in what to do when you've over extended yourself- the backs of my knees are feeling tender- the joints and bones feel ok but I need to revisit uttanasana, formerly one of my favourites but currently we're having a rough patch in our relationship and I need to reconnect with it... So I went to the Omkarananda Ashram and signed up for evening classes in my last week. I'm going to go to the Gita Ashram again, its interesting. Its a very similar set up to the Maharishi Ashram, it really needs some funds though. I asked Soma if he was planning on staying there all his life. He said "I will be here. Unless I go somewhere." with Indian astuteness. He's got a nice flat there and he teaches Yoga and does Reiki too. Reiki's very popular here, as is astrology and palmistry.
The last night that Sandar was here we were feeling very silly and theres this man on the bridge who's been pestering us to get our palms read for ages, chasing us up to the bridge brandishing a huge magnifying glass... Anyway, I gave in and got my palm read (again, I know, I know...). He's got this huge moustache as do a lot of Indian men of a certain age- they sport the kind of well tended walruses you see in Victorian photos, I wonder if its a remnant of colonialism?! Mind you I've seen ancient Celtic sculptures of warriors with huge handlebar moustaches so maybe its part of an ancient Indo Europen tradition that goes back much further... Anyway, his reading was fab. He said that all the small moles on my forearms were lucky, that I was going to have all the love and peace in the world, that I was going to live like royalty, have a fabulous lifestyle, a fantastic man etc etc.... And that things would be so wonderful I would be able to drink Nescafe coffee EVERY day!
Well I'm easily pleased:).............................................

Posted by victoria8 00:19 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (1)

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