I cannot believe I’ve been here a week! You are probably expecting me to caveat that with, “and its gone so quickly”, and it has. But it also feels like I’ve been here forever. And I mean that, not in the homesick sense, but because I do feel so at home here. Last night we had the most horrendous thunder and lightning storm I have ever experienced. If someone had been in the room with me you would have had to have shouted during the thunderclaps to be heard! And I found myself laughing! It was 2am, and I had only just got to sleep about 12 due to the Bollywood wedding going on in the neighbours’, but it was this immense sense of being present that made me laugh. The ridiculousness that I was actually here in my fiver-a-night, stone floor room, in the foothills of the Himalaya in the middle of a thunderstorm seemed just suddenly totally and utterly ludicrous! In our busy, gotta-pack-it-in lives we often miss out, without knowing it, that sense of what we call in Sanskrit Ahamkara, or identity, as in male/female, mother, partner, colleague, neighbour etc etc – it means stripping out all those labels and layers and coming back to who you really are. And at that moment when the building seemed to shake with the power of nature I felt that sense of self. Might sound like hippy-shit to you, because that’s just what it is, but that’s what 4 days of intense History and Philosophy of India does for you! Its had a real impact on me, making me think deep-shit thoughts.
I spoke to my niece and great-niece yesterday..sorry…strike that…I spoke to my niece and Snow White yesterday…and it was pure joy. It wasn’t just a video call, under normal circumstances that’s jut what it was but with the headspace I am getting ..it was a connection, and wee reminder to appreciate whats in our lives. Even if its mundane, household, family ramblings and goings-on. That’s just the way life is. Full of ups and downs. And its wonderful.
Being here for 5 weeks will be so much different to going on holiday to a place. Firstly, the study schedule is going to be brutal, but you also start to get to know people once they know you are not quickly passing through, and already, having tried many of the wee cafés around here I know that Bibi makes the best Indian sweet breakfast of fruit, rice flakes and cashews, Ras has the best coffee and the coolest “Om” tattoo (tempted…seriously tempted!) , Biscuit the dog seems to know exactly when I do my morning yoga practice and the wee kid next door and I do wee waves in recognition of each other. I hope these connections and more develop.
And another thing I think that has made me settle into the groove of Bhagsu so quickly is the simplicity of it all. I am living with the barest of resources and “stuff”, but I have all I need (see the wee video tour of my room on my page) and it’s enough. No one round here has all the gubbins we accumulate. (Spoiler alert – I feel a big clearout coming on when I get back, Forsyths!). I left my window open all day which might shock some people but if someone feels the need to steal my capsule wardrobe and solitary book then they probably need it more than I do so fill yer boots. Its like I’ve stripped back all the layers of life, been able to shed responsibility (although am still on hand to discuss garage bills, the house electrics etc but without having to do anything about it.), and for that I am truly grateful. Grateful to the universe for giving me the resources to do this, grateful to my employers for giving me time to get this kind of headspace to study, grateful to my family for holding the fort while I am away and supporting me to do this, and for Dr Arun Sharma who I think singly may turn out to the most influential person since my parents to shape me as a person. (More hippy dippy shit on its way, people! Watch out!).
So as I slip into a new routine, which today, since it’s the one day a week we have off and the monsoon is raging, and the power has been off most of the day as a result, I am using the time to catch a yoga class, wash my smalls, read up for my first test tomorrow, and generally hang out with my new classmates….most of whom are 20 years younger than me with sharper brains so may have to cheat! Just remember friends, in the words of Charaka, one of the founding fathers of Ayurveda, “Disease can come from unnecessary sarcasm”. Chew on that for a while…you will know if that applies to you…or was that sarcastic? More deep shit on its way……