beginning a journey

I like to read a little before I go, but in a non-commited way. I did read Alan’s blog on Ashtanga and life in Mysore.

Now I feel nostalgic about those days where you could just arrive and that was ok.

I did just that, perhaps in the last few months when that was possible. My plane touched down in Chennai, I had NO idea how I was going to get to Mysore except I did see a rail line on a map, so I igured: if there’s a train then I’ll just get on it. NOTHING is as easy as one might think and it was very interesting how incredibly difficult buying a train ticket can be and how many windows and offices I had to go to, and stairs needed climbing with a phenomenal amount of luggage. Traveling light? Not me.. It was like moving a mountain each time I had to go to another window, and they sent me back and forth and my did I need the toilet…

Eventually I got my ticket (just as I thought perhaps I should book into a hotel and try with an emptier bladder and lighter load). I sat among a crowd of people who found me blowing my nose incredibly fascinating. I have never been watched so intently, for 3 hours. If the cow really stood among the crowd I can not say with certainty now, but I think it did.


As soon as I found my spot on the train a second or 3rd tier bunk, inches from the ceiling I had just about enough time to marvel at the ‘air conditioning system’ (a flock of metal ventilators attached at all angles to the ceiling) before falling into a very deep slumber.

When I woke we were barely 2 hours from arriving in Mysore. I still had all my luggage which I had chained with the cheapest little lock to something and then fell asleep on top of it. The view outside disappointed me, so many plastic bags.. how could that be? The scent of Mysore Train station met me unprepared. I got out of there as fast as I could.

Then a rickshaw, to Gokulam. With no idea whatsoever if we were driving in circles or going straight there. In retrospect I now know the rickshaw driver was super helpful and drove the most direct route. He drove me up and down streets and I was tired and weary. And eventually I was dropped at Tina’s breakfast place. About which I had read in the not so high brow ‘Yoga School Dropout’. It didn’t take 6 hours and I had been taken under the wings by Agnius, who passed on his scooter, introduced me to Shiva, who arranged a place for me for less than I expected to pay.

In the afternoon I went to the shala, told Sharath that I spoke to Guruji on the phone and he had said “you come” and that was that.

By the end of the first day I had friends, a bed and was enrolled at the shala.

Overall I like to have a rough idea, but I do like to arrive and just trust that everything will be just right. I frequently show up in cities and countries without the faintest idea where I will sleep. I like it that way, but one does need to be prepared to be very tired, too. I once arrived in London and just trusted the world. It was 4am before someone took me in. On reflection THAT was not the very best idea..

But it worked fine and well in Morocco, Thailand, Spain, Cambodia and India.

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