This is #2 in my series on India. If you are new to my blog and would like to start at the beginning, just follow the link below.
WARNING – this post contains some fancy foreign words you may never have bumped into before. See the bit at the bottom for a glossy glossary. For any others, Google it.
After a bumpy, 4.5hr bus drive (in air-conditioned comfort, of course) we turned onto the tree-lined driveway of a tropical mini-village, laid out in boxes with tall coconut palms planted in rows. We are devoid of any gurus here; just Ayurveda and semi-traditional Indian living. Each cottage is twin share and has a western toilet and shower, but with some very Indian additions; a spray hose bidet and a large bucket for splash washing if we prefer to do our ablutions like the Indians do.
Upon arrival, we ate a coconut-y South Indian thali and were allocated our rooms. We sought out WiFi (best found at the reception steps) and the shaded rooftop cafe where we can recline and request young coconuts to be chopped open for us by the kindly lady with a rusty machete. We had a welcome ceremony with our hosts, a protective ‘gow pooja’ to witness and a welcome circle with our crew. I listened to my partner speak about herself and then introduced her formally her to the circle. In turn, she did the same for me; it was quite an honouring thing to be introduced to the group this way, but I felt I did a bad job and sounded nervous with my words.
A sudden sneeze just splattered all over my laptop screen, which gives you an idea of how my allergies are going. I awoke in the night to the smell of smoke and sound of my own wheezing. The webbing skin of my right hand is bumpy from humidity (my face also has plenty of pimples) and I have a sore throat from sleeplessness. All very fiery, pitta dosha tendencies. My room mate, although very likeable and ever so kind-natured, has a persistent snore of varying volumes which kept me awake from midnight until pre-dawn. I don’t know what the rest of our week will be like; but I hope not too sleepless. I cried with frustration at myself for being so light a sleeper and being so irritated by this noise even when it is, in reality, harmless. It is association that inhibits sleep here; being anxiety-riddled at nighttimes, resulting in a tendency toward poor diet of sleep.
On the bus ride to Maitreyi, I chatted with a lady originally from Scotland. A TAFE teacher and a good egg. She gave me her window seat after halfway and I was grateful. The view from the window was a constantly moving, brilliantly painted picture; a panoramic movie showing semi-rural Indian village life. So many small, roadside retailers of mixed business: tiny bananas, bottled sugary drinks, plastic water pots, satellite dishes, dried banana chips, SIM cards and rust-coloured chicks by the dozen. I captured some of the people; hare krishnas alighted from a bus beside ours, headed for a temple. Everyone seems to amble slowly here; I would too if this heat was to be expected each Autumn in Sydney.
Tomorrow we consult with the ayurvedic doctor who lives part time on site with his wife (who is also in the business of ayurveda). He will further determine our doshas and embarrassing imbalances before recommending treatments from those available here. Can’t wait.
We have arrived.
Thali – a selection of various yummy dishes served on a plate (the serving ware itself is called a thali as well as the food)
Pooja – a prayer ritual performed by Hindus to honour and worship one or more deities. A bit of a fancy ceremony with chanting, fire, incense, flowers, a conch shell and lots of sitting cross-legged pretending that doesn’t hurt.
Gow – cow
Dosha – in ayurveda, dosha means what ‘type’ of person you are. Dosha types express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics in people (SO.. what dosha are you?)
Pitta – the fire dosha. Means I have a lot of inner fire, guys. If you know and love me, you’ll agree with the research:
“Pittas have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate. When they’re in balance, they are good decision makers, teachers, and speakers. They are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and often outspoken. Out-of-balance pittas can be short-tempered and argumentative.” – The Chopra Centre. http://www.chopra.com/article/understanding-pitta-how-feed-your-inner-fire
Want to keep reading…?
5. India: Pitta