Have settled into the “best” room in White Rabbit and it was quiet last night apart from the Israelis having a good old chin wag and giggle til 12 outside. Not sure why but there are probably more Israelis here than Indians or Tibetans. Universities are on holiday apparently so its swarming with them and what must be lecturing staff. Will show you round my “pad” in a future post. So, so far today has been a day of ups and downs. I decided that this was the start of me being good to me, so I took myself off to a morning Hatha Yoga class with Sami, who normally teaches Ashtanga so really put us through our paces! I cannot tell you the last time I did a headstand at 9 o’clock in the morning…oh yes, I can…NEVER! But I did it this morning and it actually felt quite liberating! I was by far the oldest there next to the guy in his 40s who had never practiced yoga before so wasn’t totally surprised when Sami came up to me at the end of the practice and asked boldly in front of everyone how old I was? Seems he was impressed at how flexible and strong I seemed…. although he stopped short of saying, “for my age”. Lucky escape Sami! But it gave everyone a wee laugh though when I told him off like I was his mum…because I am old enough to be his mum. I then took myself off on a walk up to the Bhagsu Falls, a beautiful spot of cascading white water, wild goats munching on the shrubs, and rocks glistening in the morning sun. But it was also teeming with the Indian Youth and littered with little tea and snack stalls selling fried stuff and crisps which took away from the beauty and peace of the spot. But I found a quiet bit to be with my thoughts and was soon joined by a middle-aged Indian couple (she was wearing the most beautifully coloured sari) who asked me all the usual questions about who I was, why I was here on my own and about Scotland and the weather and I said it was hilly and rained a lot like here but not as warm or sunny and she said, “Yes I can see that by how red your face is. Is it always like that?” Down…earth…bump…But, and Jenny Forsyth will appreciate this, I have so far been asked for two selfies with the locals. I am very proud that someone wants me in their holiday snaps for future posterity. The only reason they wanted my photo and the only reason the couple sat with me was because I smiled at them. I make a point of smiling at everyone. They will either think I am jolly, mad or in pain but its amazing the effect it has and how people open up to you simply by contracting the two muscles either side of your mouth. Go on, try it! Even if there is no one else around smile, even a teeny wee one and notice what happens.
Sitting in a café with my Americano (a wee luxury, don’t judge me) before Sami’s class, the Gayatri Mantra came on in a jolly version I am familiar with from a long drive last year in India where the driver had it on repeat, and I started singing along (not loudly I promise you – just mouthed the words along to the tune) and a wee school boy, in his finest pressed school shirt and tie, sitting on a bench opposite started mouthing along with me. And we smiled and had a laugh and a wave as he skipped off. It was one of those moments where age, language, culture, religion, wealth and all the differences that we use to create barriers as human beings on this planet just melted away.
There is a guiding principle in Ayurveda that we all came from the same cell and we are all in essence, therefore, one and the same person. We might all have 120 trillion cells in us (don’t quote me on that but am sure I read it somewhere) but what differentiates us is simply where we have ended up in this life. That’s the Ayurvedic take on evolution which is a tad different to Darwin’s but not by a million miles. So, the rest of my day, apart from smiling at everyone like a simpleton, will be spent going over all of my old course notes, watching a few lectures and getting myself prepped for my start tomorrow. Of course, I want to be ahead of the game, people, I’m a Pitta! I even turned up a day early!