Wednesday, February 20, 2008

India - Fourth Post

Being here in India has given a lot of time to reflect. I find myself thinking about how much emotionally stronger I have become since the last time I was here. Every time I turn around, my experiences show me that I have developed a greater tolerance for the unexpected. It's a truly wonderful feeling, to be so relaxed, flexible and dynamic in my responses to India's little annoyances. A few examples come to mind.

In 2005/6, when I first visited India, I would have been seriously irritated by:

all the mosquitos I attract
...but now I'm not. Even though they seem to love to nosh on my face, and I am left with pretty sizeable swollen welts on my cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, I don't let it phase me.
I imagine that these blotchy red bumps are there on purpose, to camouflage the real me. Trixie told me that when an Indian child is thought to be extraordinarily beautiful, the parents will put black marks on their face with charcoal to avoid attracting attention and to reduce the likelihood of the child becoming excessively vain.

the fact that my sandals are disintegrating and changing colour
...but now I'm not. Although they were in great condition when I arrived, something about all the dust and sand and heat has dissolved any glue that attached the bottom to the soles of my shoes. There is no shoe cobbler here in Arambol, so I had to consider my options. Since it's pretty important for me to take care of my feet and wear comfortable footwear, and since comfortable footwear just doesn't seem to exist here, I have resorted to duct tape. The miracle travel companion. My left shoe has already undergone this duct tape treatment, and now the right shoe is getting ready for it's operation. Jose, a Spanish friend from the yoga course, wondered if this was a Canadian fashion...

Often, when I leave the internet cafe,(having left my shoes outside when I arrived), I cannot find my sandals and for a split second think they've been stolen. That's because I'm looking for the blue coloured Columbia sandals I arrived with, not the brown/red sandals they have become.

the constant barrage of "hello, taxi" or "taxi m'am?" each time I walk past the taxi stands (which happens probably 25 times a day)
...but now I'm not.
There are 2 clever ways to deal with this. First, technically, when someone says "hello, taxi", it is appropriate to say "my name is not taxi" and continue to walk on by. And when asked "taxi m'am?", I enjoy patting my thighs or pointing to my feet and saying "THIS is my taxi!". That always gets a smile! Especially now that I have my duct taped sandals...

all the errors in English spelling

...but now I'm not. Why should it bother me that a "margarita" is listed in a menu as "Marge Rita" and a "Strawberry Daiquiri" as a "Srawbenny Diquiri", or that a "treadmill" is described as a "threadmill"? And what exactly is a "Veg bugger", "Pitch Snaps" or "Hot & Tengy Squids with salt, paper and fresh baizel"?

Yup, I've come a long way these past couple of years! I just celebrated my one year anniversary of discovering the best "cocktail" for me. Gone are the moments of terror, utter helplessness and numbing anxiety that were once a daily ocurrence. Now, I'm blessed with a freedom of spirit that is still foreign to me but a very welcomed guest that I hope decides to hang around...

(I have been working on this post for about 5 days now. I am adapting to what feels like a dial-up connection although everyone insists it's not...I have been unable to upload all the pictures I'd like to because it seems every computer in Arambol is not equipped to do what I need it to do!!!!)

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