Monday, 28 April 2008

First Taste

Here I am in my room at the Ashram with the fan furiously blowing hot air around me. I'm lucky that I arrived in a cool spell after the first rains of the approaching monsoon season. Still it's 32ยบ and humid all day and all night. The Ashram sits on the shores of a lagoon which promises respite from the swelter but a leap off the jetty is rewarded with a slightly warmer, slightly wetter sensation than on land. The better recourse is to draw a bucket of water from the well in the garden and douse yourself in it's invigorating contents.

The surf, not epic but building day by day, is reached by a 20 minute paddle across the lagoon then a short walk across a sand spit to the Arabian Sea to Baba's Left. The sea is warm and the only crowd in the water, or even on this huge sandy beach, are the crowd you go with from the Ashram – which so far means Dustin (a SoCal devotee living at the Ashram), Krishna Priya (wife of the top dog – i think that's the correct Hindu term...), Satya & Shyama (two krishna kids from the Ashram) and David (the only other guest here, from San Fran).

The most profound, spiritually rousing thing to happen so far on the sub-continent (at least to me) is the stealth upgrade bestowed upon me by Jet Air from Mumbai to Mangalore. As I checked in at 4am on Saturday morning I could pay no attention through my sleep(less) encrusted red-eyes to my boarding pass. Only as I climbed aboard the plane and prepared for the usual traipse down the aisle to the cheap-seats at the back did I glance down to read the numbers on the pass, numbers of lottery winning magnitude:

The seats, with cloth of finest cobalt blue, were wide as the Serengeti, the legroom as bountiful as the Grand Canyon. As I eased into my seat I checked my ticket again... surely there's been a mistake, someone will notice in a minute and manhandle me through the curtain-of-plenty into the cattle class behind. But as the hot towels and complimentary mineral water arrived, with a smile of recognition, I relaxed into my new found, yet richly deserved, status... yes, this was how it was meant to be...
The food was an inedible concoction of boiled egg in marie-rose sauce with a bizarre sausage and the flight was over in 45 minutes... The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the 6 months since your last blogs you clearly haven't lost your deft literary style. Your postings are a pleasure to read. I love the contrasting cool Icelandic and the HOT HOT Indian images. Great that you were upgraded, let's hope the Good Lord arranges the same on your next long haul flight. Is the food at Ashram better than on the plane and did I read that it's strictly vegetarian and that there is no alcohol allowed. Oh dear. Doesn't sound like you. Keep fit and well.
Love, Mum