Day twentyeight: The way

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My last day at the Ashram start­ed with a silent morn­ing walk to the lake, fol­lowed by chai out­side Shiva Hall. At chai (I have mine with jag­gery), the raves for my emcee­ing last night con­tin­ued to pour in. Swahilya even gave me a super warm hug and a cou­ple of yum­my cook­ies — both much appre­ci­at­ed after 28 days at the aus­tere Ashram, but so did the rants from the one per­son who was not hap­py last night. The curs­es, threats, and more accu­sa­tions of play­ing favorites con­tin­ued from the dude, who lin­gered around me and broke into every con­ver­sa­tion.

Whatever. It’s all good. Go file a com­plaint and leave me the om alone. I have noth­ing more to say to you.

On the left sits the guru and on the right his stu­dent.

Shiva stage reminds us of prop­er med­i­ta­tion tech­nique (click to enlarge).

Asana class was busi­ness as usu­al. I said good­bye to Sadashiva and thanked him for his con­stant help with my head­stand. After kar­ma yoga (also busi­ness as usu­al) I did some last-minute shop­ping and had a final juice at the Health Hut with Corinne, Mariko, et al. (has­ta luego Ambica!). Said my good­byes to Janaki at the lec­ture (Me: “See you soon!” J: “Come do the TTC in Canada!”).

Lakeside yoga with Udayan (head­stand, woohoo!) then back­pack-pack­ing and quick show­er.

Our morn­ing yoga instruc­tor does a bal­anc­ing pos­ture.

I found two of my favorite peo­ple wait­ing for me at the court­yard out­side Shiva Hall: My love­ly friends Nami and Bau. Bittersweet hugs and good­byes, then I almost lit­er­al­ly had to shoo them off to their 6 o’clock din­ner (the con­nec­tions I’ve made at the Ashram over such a short peri­od of time make me feel so blessed!).

Final good­bye to Ananda. I was leav­ing her a note but she showed up say­ing Swami Vishnu-Devananda (who died, or as they say “left his phys­i­cal body,” in 1995) instruct­ed her to leave din­ner ear­ly and hur­ry over to meet me.

Corinne and I checked out, and the Ashram’s final words to me over the exit were:

Health is wealth. Peace of mind is hap­pi­ness. Yoga shows the way.” — Sivananda.

I timed my laun­dry for max­i­mum amount of clean clothes the day I leave.

I say good­bye to my bed.

And to my dorm.

Camera-shy Bau hides behind a leaf.

Taxi ride to Kovalam was brief and pleas­ant and we were relieved to learn from our dri­ver that Trivandrum Airport will only be a 20 minute dri­ve from there when we leave in two days. Upon arrival, we looked around for a mon­ey exchange shop (hard to find on a Sunday evening) and then made our way to the inn (which we knew well since we’d already lunched there twice on our pre­vi­ous vis­its to Kovalam). There we found our old friend Nissan, who was our wait­er on both those two occa­sions and with whom we nego­ti­at­ed a killer deal for the biggest room in the place all the way down to Rs 700 a night. Now we were set for 3 days of won­der­ful noth­ing­ness. A so-so din­ner of fish and prawns at The Coconut Grove was fol­lowed by a brief walk along the beach.

In Kovalam, who needs key­cards when you have a bolt?

After we set­tle into our room, Corinne and I head off to din­ner.

Kovalam has numer­ous and var­ied sou­venir shops.

There were lots of odds and ends to find.

These pointy wood thin­gies intrigued me, but I was too lazy to ask.

The beach is lined with fusion-style restau­rants.

Ganesha, the “remover of obsta­cles,” takes a rest.

Corinne got my par­ents one of these papi­er-mâché ele­phants.

We wait for our din­ner at The Coconut Grove.

The food was so-so, but super cheap.

We ordered mild, but it was still spicy.

My jour­nal, the source of these words, was tat­tered.

This sales-kid would not bar­gain.

Like most Indian peo­ple we met, he liked to pose.

Om.

Kerala is com­mu­nist.

This fab­ric was good but way over­priced.

Same same but dif­fer­ent India.

Un éléphant qui se bal­ançait sur une toile toile toile toile d’araignée.

I got to bed at 10:30 but didn’t fall asleep for a while because a swarm of tiny but per­sis­tent mos­qui­toes were appar­ent­ly impressed by the acoustics of my ear canals, and kept com­ing back to prac­tice their winy con­cer­tos. I had intense dreams (for the first time in a while) in which my par­ents’ apart­ment over­looked a fan­cy rooftop gym with hun­dreds of col­la­gen Beiruti socialites clum­si­ly but very proud­ly doing their sets of 12 mediocre asanas.

DAY TWENTY EIGHT SNAPSHOTS • Click on each image for a larg­er view.

Snapshots tak­en on my phone.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

SOOLY April 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

I like the new pictures.
The loading is much faster then before.

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SOOLY April 26, 2010 at 8:31 am

I really like the new design of the blog.
Can't wait to see your blog after finishing from your India.
You introduced me to PhotoJournalism, and I loved it!

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Meedo Taha April 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

I'm very glad to hear that. Much much more to come. <3

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Meedo Taha April 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

Yes. All the media on meedosite has been optimized for super fast loading speed without loss of quality. In fact, if I may say so, it is so fast you can use it to test your web connection!

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Samsam April 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I couldn't help but read Day Twentyeight this morning before leaving to uni (I was 15min late but who cares!)! I really loved it. I felt like it was me who was saying goodbye to all the characters that I got to know through your adventure! :)

And about the new design: WOW!

Keep surprising us with new stuff!

Love,

Samsam.

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Meedo Taha April 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Your sweet comments make it all worthwhile. As for the design, most of the credit for that should go to you and my wonderful friends whose feedback and suggestions literally made it what it is. x

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Samsam April 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I love the tag cloud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

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Meedo Taha April 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Yeah it's addictive! I can't stop playing with it. Oh and it's gonna look great when it's populated with more tags. Now it's a cloud but soon it'll be a hurricane!

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