Back to the Swami Darmandanda lectures. Today I arrived early and Swami said he was pleased with the class, though there weren’t as many people there today. About 20, when usually there are 30, though nobody showed up late.
On the way there the baba without a blanket who turned down my offer of 5 Rupees a few days ago – I can’t buy a blanket with 5 Rupees – called me over to him again. He made out he just wanted to chat to me, but he tried the same thing two days ago when I asked him if he had a blanket. He said he did so I kept on walking.
In the street below my balcony a cow is going through some boxes, making a lot of noise.
Having breakfast the fruit salad I ordered is taking ages to arrive. I’ve already had my coffee and cinnamon roll – would have preferred it if they’d come later, but you never get things in the order that you want them in India. I tell the waiter that if they haven’t done the fruit salad yet then I’ll forget it because I have to go, but then he shows up with it.
Mangoes always taste like vomit. The rest of the fruits are good though: pineapple, banana, apple and one or two other things.
Sitting in the cafe overlooking the pedestrian suspension bridge across the Ganges. An Indian guy in a turban comes in and goes over the the corner table and whistles towards the bridge. He then takes out a mobile phone and looks at it but doesn’t make a call. He sits down at the table where a tourist is sitting on his own smoking a cigarette. A short while later the friend he must have been whistling to on the bridge comes in and sits down at the table next to the tourist. There are other empty tables but they choose to sit at this one. In India there appears to be a different conception of personal space to that in the west. Someone sitting at a table doesn’t own that table. Another Indian comes and sits in the last vacant seat. The tourist gets up. The guy next to him lets him out. The tourist goes up to the desk to pay. Another Indian comes in and sits down at the table.
More lecture notes coming up. Print them out and memorize them if you want to become enlightened.
Hatha yoga – prana energy
Raja yoga – mental energy
Kundalini/Tantra yoga – primal energy
Hatha yoga, in the west, is mainly for health, to make the body more active, but its higher purpose is to make the body steady, inactive.
The Japanese woman sitting in front of me in the lotus position wears a Tintin in Tibet t-shirt. I arrived early to the lecture this morning so got myself a cushion to sit on.
But as soon as I’d made myself comfortable we had to stand as Swami’s wife came in. Today is her birthday. She comes in with a younger woman – their daughter? I wasn’t sure she was his wife at first, since he was calling her by her name, Mutterjee I think, but seeing her she looks the same as the woman in the photo, though a few years older, which I’m sure he said yesterday was his wife. The photo now has a garland of purple flowers around it. She sits on a throne of cushions in front of her photo and then we’re all allowed to sit.
Got up late, but just in time to get to the yoga lecture with the Swami. This time I took my notebook and wrote notes:
Soak mangos overnight to get rid of the chemicals that are often used to ripen them.
The other morning when my alarm clock went off I kept turning it offf but it wouldn’t stop bleeping. For a while I couldn’t work out why, but then I realized I was turning it off in my dream but it was ringing in my reality.
Sometimes ceiling fans look like they’re in danger of falling of the ceiling.
The yoga didn’t happen. I was the only one who showed up and the woman who offered to teach it has been ill so she’s rescheduled for 7am Sunday morning.
Sitting in a cafe this morning with one of the two American women I met on the flight from Bangkok I got chatting to an Australian woman here with her mother, who was from Darlington and still has an English accent though I guess she’s been in Australia for some time. The daughter is a yoga teacher and she offered to give us a yoga lesson this afternoon, but the American women have gone now and I’m wondering whether to go along on me own. I told her I’d never done yoga before and so was worried about the embarrassment, but she said she’d make it gentle so maybe I’ll give it a try. This is the yoga capital of the world so I feel like I should.
I’ve moved into the room the American women vacated, which is much nicer than the one I moved out of. I now have not jsut a window but a balcony as well, overlooking the footbridge over the Ganges, which I’m nervous of walking across. Everything I’ve bought in India has fallen to bits – a pair of trousers and a bag – so not too confident about the bridge.
It’s now a quarter to five. I’m going to change into something more yogalike and go down to the bridge to meet the teacher. Maybe she won’t show. At least then I’ll be able to say that I made the effort to do yoga but it just wasn’t meant to be.