Monday, December 20, 2010

A few snaps (more to come)

Me, Sparsha & Santhosh at the last reception

Lokesh giving me a lift (sari sidesaddle) to the reception after an afternoon with his family

On my way to the last reception - black sari
Me, Santhosh & Sparsha on their wedding day
Meeting the bride & groom at the first reception

The bride's sister - and her amazing outfit

Anna & I in our saris
Silk sari

Wishing the bride and groom all the best


Sparsha & Santhosh during the wedding

Sparsha's mehendi

Me & Anna at the wedding

The silk/cotton sari I wore to first reception

Friday, December 17, 2010

Missing India

Not a surprise to many, but I am missing India.  I have been home just over a week now and while it has been nice to catch up with people, I miss India for lots of reasons.

For starters in India I do not have to go to work, though the reason I get to go so often is because I work!  Nevertheless I am now back at it and watching my leave balance accumulate.

Of course I am missing the food, particularly Sandhya's food, and have made an attempt to cook it here.  The salads worked out the same - which is good as my favourite thing was the carrot salad.  I have also made Prabhaka's carrot cake and it is nearly the same - maybe I will make it again tomorrow.  I also miss the chai, particularly the stuff near Mystore on the opposite side of the street where I used to go with Ismael.   Oh and I miss the people I met, most definitely those in the house - Carryn, Francisco, Ismael, Maida, Prabhaka, and the lovely women of the house.  And now no contact with anyone :-(.

I had drinks last night with some old friends who have also recently been to India - we laughed lots about the absurdities of the place, but reminisced about the wonder and awe it has to offer.  To me all that it has, even the bad and annoying makes it what I love about her, and how I am counting the days til I return.

PS. I am not missing the spitting and hacking up of lungs everywhere!  And I love having my yoga teacher back, and a nice clean studio!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homeward bound

I want India back.  Arrived in KL last night after a great flight with Air Asia - three seats to myself, exit row, so had a good sleep, and boy I needed it.  Bed was late on Sunday night after the last of the wedding receptions.  I wore a black sari and lots of Indian jewellery, it was fun and I got to say my goodbyes to a whole bunch of lovely people, including Santhosh and Sparsha, the newly wedded couple.

Sunday was busy, last shopping, and then over to Lokesh and Sukas place for some sweet chapatis.  Suka then helped me dress in my sari and then Lokesh dropped me at the reception on his bike, me sitting side saddle in my sari, very Indian lady style!

I was up early yesterday for the last practice - Ajay didn't come as he was apparently sick, so I had one more session of bad adjustments, and actually had a very half hearted practice, it was cold in there and I was pretty tired after the wedding and packing half the night.

Here I am in KL.  I am scared to go home - three Christmas trees here in the hotel lobby, I am not ready for this - how India has protected me.  Next time I will stay post Christmas.  I want India back for lots of reasons, I already miss her, the colour, the saris, even the smells.  Oh and I just had breakfast - yes add food to the list of things I miss.

I did however have my first beer last night in over a month, and it was nice.  I suspect with the silly season in full swing at home, it will not be the last for a while.  Melbourne here I come!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All good things must come to an end! WHY??

I am soaking up my last days in beautiful India.  I am trying to fit so much in I fear I will need a holiday when I return, actually there has not been much "rest" the past week, with wedding fever etc., thankfully today is Moonday and there is no practice.  Actually I have decided that is what the plane is for - rest, what else is there to do.

Last night I went with Ismael my Spanish friend to Mahesh Prasad Hotel (no booze hotel) for my last butter naan, then we went for our ritualistic and last ice cream sundae at Corner House.  This morning Sandhya and Jaya spoilt me with ragi rotis with chutney, followed by chapatis with banana, jaggery, cardamon, coconut and cinnamon.  Mmmmmm.  I also had to have one with just jaggery, my favorite.  Last night I bought a kilo of the jaggery I love to bring home, as if I don't have enough baggage.  Today I went in town and did my last bits and pieces (translation = shopping), and this afternoon I am off to a friends for some sweet chapatis and cake, followed by the wedding reception here in Mysore.  I have my new sari ready, with some nice OTT jewellery to match.

I have been reflecting on the many things I will miss about India - here's some:
  • the laid back chilled out life style
  • the colour and daily visual and sensory overloads
  • the lovely people, rich and poor, people are generally so beautiful - I always miss this
  • Sandhya's cooking, and Jaya and the girls
  • food glorious Indian food - I have had very little Western food at all this time - I love the food hence the waistline
  • sari shopping and wearing - maybe I will get into this at home
  • cheap transport - rickshaws, and hooning around on the back of my friend's scooter in thongs and no protective wear whatsoever!!
  • shopping, shopping, shopping
  • not having to work
  • proper chai - my little chai stand on the road
  • coconuts after practice
  • the carrot cake - though now I have the recipe
  • jaggery
  • being treated like a celebrity
  • that there is no mention of Christmas, no carols, no trying to make you buy crap you don't want, all the major things I hate about Christmas - so far Christmas free here!
  • Being called madam
  • too too much to mention.
What I wont miss:
  • Noise, stinky smells like you have never smelt before that burn your nose and stay in there for hours
  • fire crackers - too many festival = too many excuses to let off crackers that sound like the city is being blown up - oh and mainly just at the yoga student's bed time
  • walking into a store, looking at something - any randon reason for a shop keeper to say in a gruff tone - "what do you want?" - not "how may I help you"
  • Asking for something in a store and they get out everything but the thing you want
  • prices - just tell me the god damn real price - let's not make it a guessing game, or who ever cracks first - I am the master of the walk away!
  • Rickshaw drivers that like to try and rip you off
  • cockroaches the size of small birds, and rats on the way to practice
  • people hacking up their lungs whilst chatting to you or at any given opportunity, oh make that also farting, belching, better out than in!
  • Bad or unnecessary adjustments in yoga class.
I am however looking forward to a nice vino, but really I could give it up for Sandhya's cooking and a good supply of good jaggery.  I am really looking forward to seeing Rob, Pixie and Chief too - but it would be nice if they could just come here.

Well best I get on my merry way, I have engagements to attend.

Goodbye from India - as always it's been lovely, I hate to think about leaving, but it must be done I guess.  Til next time, and there will be, thanks for coming on the journey!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh I am in love.......

with wearing saris, looking at saris, buying saris, the list goes on.  Who would have known, particularly as I have always thought only Indian women look good in saris.  That's not too say I think I look good, but I don't think I look horrid, I will review the photos and decide. It just feels like dressing up and very special occasion, and I guess it was, my friends wedding.   I will post some shots next week along with my favourites from this trip.  But seriously it is sari fever here in my heart and wallet, I just purchased my third to wear to the reception on Sunday, after wearing one a last nights reception and today's divine wedding of my friend Santhosh and his gorgeous bride Sparsha.  Man it was sooooo beautiful and long too, but really the rituals looked lovely, despite the photographer bossing and yelling at them throughout.  There will be many photos of mine to come, all so colourful, the women in particular looking so beautiful - I had total sari envy, I now look at them in a totally different way. 

I am also in love with Indian weddings.  What a beautiful couple of days I have had, first Santhosh's grooms day, then the reception yesterday evening in Sparsha's home town, followed by the wedding today.  And not a measly 15 minute or hour ceremony, it went for the best part of today.  We stayed last night at the divine golf club in the little town following the reception, and then the most of the day at the ceremony.  It was just wonderful, I will now take every opportunity to attend Indian weddings, so please if you are having one - invite me!  I now have a growing sari collection, and waistline following the wonderful food at the wedding and reception, and also too many of the sweets that were at the wedding from Santhosh's sweet store, Khova in Mysore. 

Anyway I wish Santhosh and Sparsha all the happiness and a lovely future together.  I am so blessed to have been invited to their wedding, and sharing this lovely occasion with my friend and his bride, and around a 1000 others. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's all happening now - well all except yoga practice!

The days are flying by with so much to do so little time.  Many of my new Mysore friends are leaving or have just left.  I took Carryn to the station the other morning for her first ever Indian railway journey, and also bought my ticket out of town for next Monday.  Others in the house have left leaving just Ismael from Spain and I, as well as Sandhya and Jaya of course.  Ismael and I have been zooming around on his scooter, and have recently rediscovered the ice-cream parlour, where we are currently trying to eat our way through the sundaes menu.  Spanglish continues to be the lingo of the day!

Yesterday was the first of the wedding functions, where they do pooja in the home and get the groom ready.  It was really lovely, though Santhosh told me just to come casually, so I dressed nice yoga casual (that's all I have), only to arrive to find all the ladies in their sari and jewellery finery.  So the purchase of another sari was in order and occurred yesterday afternoon so I don't do the "just casual" routine again.  It is black and white with some red and a gold border - it is a bit Sass and Bide do saris I think, anyway it will make a few nice outfits later and did not cost a fortune.  The one I really loved I could see would end in disaster as it was silk chiffon with a fantastic gold border with a bit of green, with a grand price to match.  Problem is you love all these wild colours here, and get back home to the land of dull and black and discover you were a bit out of your mind.  Anyway I hope I can pull them off - it's all very exciting.  Also have a raft of bangles and bling to go with the outfits.

Today we leave for the town where the wedding is - tonight there is a reception, and tomorrow morning at 9am the marriage occurs.  I have a fancy sari for that occasion.  On Sunday evening there is the wedding reception in Mysore.  Sunday is also Moonday so no practice, and today I skipped vinyasa class as I feel all stuffed up - it is a little cold here at the moment, and I have to swan around in saris over the next few days.  And you know I am a bit over the over-adjustment, adjust you in ever damn pose for the sake of it class - and if anyone plays piano fingers on my back or shoulder again I will scream!!  Looking forward to practice back at home with Karyn.  Anyway I only have Monday morning now - so will get my ass out of bed for the last time at 4.30am then. 

Well it's time to head off to the wedding festivities.  Full report tomorrow night!