Thursday, June 12, 2008


So, at the latest, everybody's done w/ the shala by 8:30. You've got your post-yoga buzz going, you go home and gorge on tropical fruit, maybe out for a nap and it's not even noon. What's a yogi to do?

This is Jeshee. He's something of a resident philosopher/pandit/smart dude in town. We heard about him by word of mouth and have started dropping by for the talks and Q & A sessions he holds four days a week at his house. He's currently talking his way through the Yoga Sutras. He and his wife have started a very small organization w/ the aim of passing along yogic teaching, Sanskrit, chanting, etc. It is supported by free will donation. The quality of these talks is really remarkable. We sit on the floor, usually with less than ten other students, in this dingy library surrounded by bookshelves stacked two-deep. Jeshee is that wonderful combination of authentic Indian charm - head wobble, wry humor - and beautiful, eloquent English. The man can also really drop some knowledge. Though we are usually talking ancient wisdom, he's always throwing in modern physics, medicine, etc. It really is a treasure to head out and just listen.

And not a single vinyasa.

On the other end of the extracurricular activity spectrum is the quintessential yoga bum pastime: hanging out at the coconut stand. Look at these sorry saps. They're not even having coconuts!!

Just taking up space, waiting for it to be time to eat or sleep or something. This is why we need lead class twice a week. Mysore yogis are the type that need very clear instruction, otherwise they just drift. Sad, really. Notice that at least Kelly has found something better to do: she's documenting the tragedy.

Speaking of Kelly, she loves a good autorickshaw ride. You hop in, say the word, and watch the world speed by in a blur of cows, near-accidents, and odd stares. It seems to be clear that we are "not from around here." Note: "autorickshaws" are most known just as "rickshaws" although actually rickshaws pulled by people don't seem to exist here. A business opportunity perhaps?? Rather than "rickshaw," you can even say "rick," if you're schedule is too busy for full words and complete sentences. Many of the yogis here rent scooters or motorcycles for transportation, but we feel that it takes a special kind of crazy to take to these streets. Small town life has left us a little wary, and so instead we hop into a rickshaw a few times a week, get dropped of somewhere in the city and, sooner or later, become lost. Not capital "l" Lost, like the show, but just regular old dumb American lost. It really is an art when you take the time to perfect it. It's great to know that at any given time you can give up, flag down another rickshaw, say "Gokulum" and get home. Otherwise we might spend all of our time at Coconut Corner.

Hey look - it's Kelly again. Another option for free time is cooking. There are many enterprising Mysore-ians willing to teach any old yogi with enough rupees and some free time how to make this crazy food. So far, one of our favorites is dosa, which is like a savory crepe. They eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner here and we thought: "Teach a man to point to dosa on the menu, feed him for one night. Teach a man to make dosa, feed him for life." So we gave it a try and seem to have had some success. It was a bit like attending a private taping of the newest Food Network show: "Indian Kitchen". We watched and participated, but mostly just ate. And ate. And still there was food, so we continued to eat. We have declared it "over-dosa," the symptoms of which are sluggishness, irritability, bloating, and inability to jumpback. We are certain that Sharath has the cure, though it may be worse than the disease.

Finally in our tour of extracurriculars, we have these fine gentlemen. There is construction all over Gokulum, which involves large piles of sand, cement, and gravel in front of houses. We'd guess that these fellas are construction workers and decided to take a break but, then again, it's also possible they were just walking by and decided to take a load off. Perhaps too many dosas. We tried not to be offended when they left after we snuggled up between them.

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