Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mysore 'thank you's...

I have three days left in Mysore. 

I never thought I'd say this but I am really sad to be leaving India this time. Following my previous two trips to India I came back ill, vowing never to go back and informing my mum that if I ever mentioned travelling to India again to give me a smack around the head! (She has saved the emails I sent her during my 2005 trip, they'll be a good read in a few years :) 

The last trip my friend and I were so ill with bacillary dysentery that we were both willing to spend the 500 GBP we were given as compensation for an overbooked outbound flight to fly home early from a David Swenson retreat in Goa! Sounds ridiculous, but it was that awful! But despite food poisoning and a subsequent case of giardia, I have had no other illnesses *touches wood*, (apart from a bit of nut stuck in my tooth resulting in a trip to the dentist), and I have lived to tell my Mysore tale! 

This time there is no doubt about it, I am coming back, the only question is when. I have a ticket booked for the 10th February from Thailand to Chennai. But it gets HOT in March and that would give me only around 6 weeks to practice (and live) comfortably, you need 3 months minimum to get the most out of a trip here I reckon. The other option is to forfeit the ticket completely and head east to west to Aus, Hawaii and LA, Colorado and Toronto/Montreal. Then work for a couple of months to save up and come back out in September for the season. I'm erring towards the latter because it gives me more time and I get to see the rest of the world as I had planned for this trip and allows me to change my life for a while at least to begin to incorporate a stint in Mysore every year to study with Vijay. This of course would be in an ideal world, but I am optimistic, lots of people here do it, this life is completely do-able. 

I could even teach Mysore Style painting to help pay for it! Tomorrow I have the last day of a course I've been taking with a local artist Anand, learning the techniques to paint in the Mysore style which uses elaborate gold embossed patterns and very fine detail. I even got into the Mysore Times rag, as a local journalist was interested in us westerners learning the Mysore technique! I am painting a 'Patanjali', it's already looking awesome, I cannot wait to see the finished piece! Anand has just finished his biggest commission for a two sided 13 x 7 foot piece for Bangalore Airport! It's amazing...and he's just about to begin one for Mumbai Airport - exciting! He also has a huge old dog called Rocky who lies in the centre of the room most of the time asleep and dreaming with his limbs jolting around every time he dreams or one of the Spanish girls mentions cats...or bones! So Anand lives in a 3rd floor flat with outside terrace. Apparently Rocky has fallen off the balcony no less that 3 times chasing cats and birds and has broken numerous limbs bless him. Thankfully Anand got him an acting job in a Bollywood film which paid for his operations! 

Our little Spanish Art Group

So my days recently have been consisting of Practice, breakfast, art class, lunch, nap, catching up on emails/Spanish homework, dinner, bed. Days appear to be getting shorter too...a trip to the Regalis for a bit of a swim/sunbathe was cut short as the sun went behind the hotel building at about 3:30pm, not ideal! Sunset is about 6:15 now, so after that it's not long until bedtime! It sounds strange, but Mysore literally shuts down at 9pm. You'll find it hard to get an auto after this time, or a driver who doesn't charge extortionate prices. Mind you, last night on the way back from a friend's house all I could hear was some kind of dance music which literally resonated rave-esque across the whole neighbourhood! Sitting on Mary's roof terrace we were all like, 'where's the party?!' Mysore is strange like that sometimes. Never know what's going on!

Oh, and between places you'll find me driving down the wrong side of the road! Yep, I went all out and learnt how to drive a scooter! One of the best things I've done...and it made the whole Mysore experience so much easier and less stressful. Turns out having to deal with rickshaw drivers is the No.1 bug-bear of westerners. They are just downright nasty, give or take one or two, and will rip you off at any given opportunity. Take this out of the equation and Mysore life is sweet. It's one of the most liberating experiences I've had here. I can flout the western driving rules, but in a strangely safe way, go round islands the wrong way if I want and drive down the road the wrong way for a short while whilst I'm joining the rest of the traffic! Feeling the wind in my hair/on my face whilst driving a two wheeler has, like surfing, been missing from my life. As a result I will be taking my motorbike license as soon as I get back to the UK.

So it's Diwali on Monday...guess where I'm going to be? That's right, sitting at Chennai waiting for a flipping flight out of the country! Grrrr! I will miss all the festivities! Gutted. 

But I won't be as gutted as I will be leaving this place... I've fallen in love with it. I can't leave without saying thank you to all the people who I have met here who have made this past 9 weeks one of the best experiences of my life. 

Katy, you are so inspirational and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for introducing me to your guru :) Anna, sweet, sweet and intelligent beauty, thank you for teaching me to drive the scooter and gain my independence here! Mary, Footsie, beautiful, hilarious and a pleasure to be around especially for shopping and good times, you have kept things real for me, thank you for looking after me and preventing me from overdosing on antibiotics! Isabelle, you beaute, my angel in Goa :) and thanks for introducing me to Melanie, the curious, cute '27' year old, I can't wait to come to see you both in Quebec!! Kamilla, always great to see your stunning smile and enjoying 'good' yoga teachers! Crazy Matthew, thanks for introducing me to the phenomenon of 'shaking' - I will definitely try it and I will never forget you in your women's yoga pants ;) !! The stunning Lisa - it's been a pleasure enjoying breakfast together and seeing your practice progress unbelievably - you should be so proud of yourself! And to Vijay for recognising what I needed from day one and pushing me just enough to keep my practice progressing at a pace I can cope with without breaking me - although I've been close...thank you for making me believe I can do things when my mind and body have thought otherwise... 

I'm ending this before I cry.

Who knew Mary and  would find a wine festival in Mysore?!!


  1. It's wonderful Michelle to see you so happy and your fluent writing style of course. Meeting such a range of people is I find(on occasions) like an injection of joy where you begin to find yourself through the reactions of others.
    My book "George Singer's legacy, his home, his family" is nearly complete and should be published in a few months.

    Love as ever,

    Richard xx

  2. Hey Michelle,

    I arrive Fridaynight by 11pm in Mysore. Do you have any advice on a budet place to stay? It seems quite hard to find online and I have a feeling Mysore will be quite dead when I arrive and it might be hard to find a place...