Read the fine print.

I love coffee. I brought my own supply of French coffee to India with me, as I had heard there were differences in preparation, etc. A French press was my coveted, most needed appliance. A morning cup or two of coffee starts my day. I am quite thrilled with the expression, no coffee, no prana. It fits me and my habits enabling my need to drink a cup of Java before doing anything else.

Within this ritual, I enjoy coffee with half in half, whole milk will do in a pinch, and life in India was all a pinch;) Milk is not in cartons in India. Rather instead it comes in pint sized plastics bags.

20140406-091909.jpg

Many people still have it delivered every morning by a milkman, left in bins outside their doors. I was picking it up at a local bodega. I was in awe the first time, with the packaging, figuring out how to get it open, not spill it, and then transfer my precious milk to another container for safe storage in the refrigerator. Yes, I know, quite a bit of thought just in milk, but my coffee is important, and I really don’t enjoy it as much black, though desperate times can call for desperate measures.

I didn’t think much of it when the packaging was a different color one morning out replenishing my milk supply.

20140406-092646.jpg

However, I was wrong. The next morning, as I poured my lovely milk into my precious coffee, and went for my first glorious sip, I almost choked! I thought maybe the milk was spoiled but it was also spicy? Was it goats milk, or something else?! How could milk be spicy? Well, in India it can be. I read the packaging, and there were ingredients, beyond cows milk. Unknowingly, I had been given buttermilk accidentally by the store clerk. Unlike the buttermilk here in the States or elsewhere, this had spices in it like cumin and coriander, not exactly what I wanted to be flavoring my morning cup of Joe…sigh, it was stomach churning and yet as with everything there being so precious, I felt so wasteful in not being able to consume it. Joyfully I had made enough coffee for a second cup, which I drank black, but at least not filled with cumin. Funny how something can seem heaven sent, even when it’s not your ideal, as it’s better than none, or at least palatable! Another lesson learned, read the fine print, no cumin in my milk please.

Advertisements

Random acts of kindness

I have only not written this immediately, because I still tear up every time it think of how wonderful all the people were who helped me get home from India. My friends and family of course, and I adore you all the more, but in-between the Bangalore airport and finally arriving in JFK 23 hours later, was a lot of sick, pathetically weak me, needing compassion and help and getting it. I did my best, truly, but it wasn’t very good considering I had checked myself out of the hospital against my doctors advice. I was pretty much a feverish lump with a pulse. She really didn’t think I was well enough to travel, and I’m certain she was right, not without help. I’m pretty sure I looked like deaths door, but instead of dread or fear, I was met with offers of help as people asked if I was ok.

Lufthansa’s flight crews were wonderful. Doting on me, with teas and crackers, extra blankets, stretching out in their private areas. My seat mate from Bangalore ensured I was taken care of in Frankfort to make my next flight, as there was only 50 minutes, a jaunt through security and need of a wheelchair. He soothed my rattled nerves on board as well, my coping skills were spent and old fears of flying had crept into my thoughts, he saw it, and occupied me with conversation until he knew I was tired enough to rest and sleep. Once on the way to New York, my legs swelled on board the next flight from my electrolyte imbalances and the air pressure. It was very painful and terrifying, but the crew called out to all the doctors on board. They not only came forward, but read through my medical reports, checked my vitals and assured me I would make it to New York alive. One German surgeon stayed with me, for pretty much the rest of the flight, ensuring I was alright, abating my anxiety.

My wheelchair and attendant in NYC’s JFK was a charioteer, gently but quickly getting me through customs and baggage all the way to my husband and then helped us out to the car. I’m pretty sure world records were set for expedited customs and luggage. It was so needed. My prayers that day were for everything go flow smoothly and they were answered in the kindness of strangers. I thank you all from the depths of my soul. As much as this week has been one of physical recovery for me, it would have been so much worse, without the help I received. I am forever grateful xo.

Temple Run

Sunday was a full moon day, no practice in traditional ashtanga. I decided to explore some history and culture of the surrounding areas. A friend who had been here before suggested we take a group trip out to see a few ancient temples and waterfalls. I was quite excited at the prospect and most assuredly I’m really glad I went. However, I had not quite grasped the driving. I’m guessing sleeping in the four hour trek from Bangalore airport to Mysore had saved me more than being tired!

I had asked how far, and all those types of things, and though I thought I has a basic understanding of driving here in India, I was wrong. There were four of us in the group, plus a driver in something similar to a small suburban, but with no seat belts or air conditioning. This was not the car from the brochure. The air conditioning, however, was really the last of my worries. I was terrified, truly frightened beyond the ability to even scream at one point, and cackling with nervous laughter at others. Highway driving or countryside driving as I’m not sure what moniker to define it with is more like driving in a video game like Mario Cart, Frogger or Temple Run. Ahh yes we were on a temple run, so why not? There were golden statues at the end!

20140318-161007.jpg

The driver, who seemed completely at ease with two busses barreling at us in a road only the size of one and a half lanes, with one veering off at the last second, just to have a car be hidden right behind him that we somehow magically squeezed between like the knight bus in Harry Potter, just absolutely deserves a medal. Some of the major roads are done relatively well and new, but as with many things, the infrastructure of transportation is very much still a work in progress. There were at least three different times we had back ups and waits just to have a bus try and fit past other cars or trucks on single lane roads that now have two way traffic, built long before cars were a major or even minor part of daily life here.

Marc, one of my fellow adventures noticed as we were stuck on a bridge in one of these instances, that the steel from the bridge came from a British company he was familiar with. This bridge shook and shimmied from side to side as we waited for the bus to eek slowly forward through the bottleneck that had now formed packing our whole side of it. I commented back, that I was relatively certain the bridge dated back to colonial British times. I could see as I snapped pictures of the boaters below us that new pillars were being set for a new bridge, and I’m happy to have avoided the present one’s failure, I hope all continues to work until the next, improved larger one is complete!

20140318-160438.jpg

I loved every minute of it. I certainly would never attempt a drive like that myself here, not without being in India for some time, but as with many things here, it is a point of trust and surrender. This insanity works here, at least the majority of the time, and driving through villages, rice paddies, sugar cane fields and the majestic and vibrant landscape was a gift to all my senses. The Keshava Templein Somnathapur in of itself was worth it, everything thing else was the cherry on top.

20140318-162929.jpg

20140318-163025.jpg

20140318-163044.jpg

20140318-163109.jpg

20140318-163137.jpg

The rings in the last picture and corner stone they are linked too are all cut from one stone together, but I loved the ceilings best of all!

20140318-163648.jpg