Friday, March 19, 2004

Tinted windows 

Here, too, I watch the neighborhood come alive, earlymornings. Sit on a generous terrace at auntie Geeta's palatial home in the affluent suburb of Gokulam in the beautiful city of Mysore and have a cup of morning beverage- these days green tea with honey and boiled gingerwater for the throat, hoping for the croak to turn into a deep husky voice in the next few days, the rasp to be tranformed to even, if not deep, breathing.

Opted for the Tipu Express down from Bangalore; 198 Rs. for a 2.5 hour journey, versus 400-600 for the Shatabdi Express for the 2 hour trip out. Let my host talk me into purchasing “chair” A/C reserved class: airplane seats and tinted windows and regurgitated cool air, as the countryside rolled by as if on a screen. Ventured to the second/reserved class to find uncrowded open-air bench seats and glorious sinlight and wanted to be there, instead. Sure, I got more stares- but that is more the norm than the businesspeople coralled behind the dark windows, by now. The first class moremoney thang only buys you less, or in any case more discreet stares- little more. There was one Western couple in front of me from one of the Skandinavian countries and we talked, briefly. They were traveling all along India’s southwest coast, from Bombay to Kerala on the southernmost tip. I really wanted to ask them why they chose to travel through tinted windows, but didn’t. I am not doing that again- no need.

About half an hour from Mysore, grabbed my ticket and sunglasses and made my way to second class, where I stood with glee at the mouth of the separating car, one hand on a pole the other free, inches away from branches and earth and feet away from workers and families and homes and shanties and bullocks and goats and coconut trees and rice fields, the wind tugging at my kameez as the sun and wind and a sense of movement and freedom swept over me. That’s what I am talking about.

Spotted Mysore in the distance, and a surge of emotion overcame me, as tears threatened to spill over and a smile found its way to my face, equal parts disbelief (“I am actually doing this!”) and gratitude (“I can’t believe this is happening!”). This is the tribute trip, a pilgrimage. This is where Guruji lives and teaches, where so many students and teachers and students of teachers have come for so many years before me. And now I, too, embark on this same journey. Same, but different each time- much like the practice itself.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?