This is exactly where I need to be right now. I am at the source, and it has been smoother and easier than I expected. I mean, so far. It’s only the third day.
After nearly thirty hours of airplanes and airports, I arrived in Bangalore on Sunday morning at 2am, where I had a car waiting to take me to Mysore, a three and a half hour ride. I was drifting in and out of sleep, but most remarkable were the number of speed bumps on the main roads (every five or ten minutes) and the almost constant lines of chai and news stands on the side of the road. And of course, the fact that in India, the lanes are more of a suggestion than a rule. Honking is frequent and not rude at all, just a way of saying I’m behind you! or I’m coming around you! or I’m next to you!
Sunday was a day off in the shala because the family was going on a short trip, so the street was very quiet when I arrived around 6am. I woke up one of my new roommates to let me in– her practice time is around 4:15, so she was enjoying the opportunity to sleep in. Oops. I was too wired and excited to sleep, and hoping to avoid jet lag, so I met up with a friend from San Francisco and we went to have breakfast at a delicious dosa stand called Sri Durga. After that, we made the cafe rounds, then took a rickshaw to Regalis, a fancy hotel with a pool, where I got horribly sunburnt even though I totally applied sunscreen. After pool time it was on to the Green Hotel for lunch, then back to the Shala for registration, where I was given the latest practice time with Saraswathi: 9:30am. That’s practically afternoon! A coconut at the world-famous (ok, Ashtangi-famous) coconut stand near the shala was my dinner.
All in all, the first day was full and lovely. I went to sleep easily around 8:30 and slept until 5:30 or so, and the jet lag has yet to really kick in.
Since then, days 2 and 3 have been filled with cushy late practices, leisurely breakfasts and lunches, and afternoon trips to local stores for the necessities: a bucket for showering and washing clothes, a shawl to cover my scandalous shoulders, a bag big enough for sunscreen, water bottle, hand sanitizer and a Nokia phone that I’m borrowing and still can’t quite figure out how to use.
I really love it here.