Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hello Good-Bye

In Mysore, you are also saying Good-bye to people leaving and Hello to the new arrivals.  It’s expected but I never get used to it, plus I hate good-byes.  Social dynamics (who you see during and after practice, who you go to breakfast &lunch with and who you hang out with) depend to a large extent on what time you practice.  If you’re done with practice at 6am, chances are you will not be waiting to have breakfast with someone who only starts practice at 9am.  So, you tend to mingle more with your friends who practice around the same time as you.  And if you don’t hang out at the common eating places, it’s not uncommon to miss even seeing people.

As we near the end of the 2nd month of practice, we approach another changeover  ie. people who only signed up for 2 months are leaving, leaving gaps in the shala.  It happens at the end of every month but as we approach Christmas, more people are leaving now versus the end of the 1st month.  January and February are typically the ‘’peak’’ months but it’s unusually packed this year.  The Led Intermediate class has been full the last 2 weeks (ie all 4 rows on the carpet + the last half row on the marble floor).  In comparison, last year, there were a few classes where there were only 2 rows who started and about 4 people who finished the full Intermediate series.

Sharath has already started  to move people up to earlier time slots, allowing for the new people to come in.  He’s working a long day; the 1st batch starts 430am and right now, the last batch is starting at 915am (so he’s in the shala till almost 11am, which is over 6 hours).  Don’t forget that he’s up at 1am to do his own practice before he starts teaching us!

I know I haven’t been written in a while but I have good reasons:
- I was busy sewing to meet my 3 Christmas stockings in 2 months deadline.  Thank goodness for laptops, thumbdrives and downloadable&sharable movies and TV programs to keep me company.
- I was also asked by Sharath to assist in the Shala for the 2nd month.  It was really weird because he asked me about 2 weeks into my 1st month, after he helped me in out of a pose.  Very random.  Because he didn’t move away, I landed awkwardly and I was so blur, I had no idea what he was talking about.
My reaction … disbelief followed by awe then as realisation set in … fear!

So my 2nd month has been something I have never experienced in all my previous visits here.  I assist from 430-630am and then wait for a spot in the shala to open up before starting my own practice.

It didn’t help that my shoulder started acting up again.  Lifting legs (sometimes higher than my head and sometimes very heavy legs of very tall people) wasn’t ideal to ‘’rest’’ my shoulder.  It was pretty awful the 1st few weeks so much so I went to do a MRI (‘’frying’’ my credit card in the process because I forgot to take it out of my pocket .. haha).  To cut a long story short, practice has been quite hard the last 3 weeks.  I am able to take it easier in Mysore classes but for Led classes (especially Led Intermediate), it’s pure survival mode.  Definitely not a pretty practice; actually quite ugly :o)

The assisting has definitely been an experience.  Just being in the room and observing what is going on from another perspective is amazing in itself.  As with everything, there are positive and some scary aspects but overall an honour and definitely a key Mysore memory.

It’s nice to be able to watch Sharath adjust. He makes everything look so effortless.  He knows exactly what is going on in the room and he also watches the assistants as well.  With his sense of humour, he teases a lot … told 2 assistants that if any of them managed to bind a larger guy in a pose (which he’s been stuck at for over 5 years), he’d buy them pizza for a week!  He will scold us too, if we adjust in a way he’s not happy with or if we’re doing something he deems incorrect.  I have been lucky so far .. haven’t been scolded or fired!

Tomorrow is my last day of assisting.  It’s a shame that it took about 2 weeks to get used to the people and vice versa.  I think it’ll take a little longer to sort out what’s happened this last month in my head too :o)

PS.  Finished my stockings with a week to spare, so set up my Christmas card photo before I give them away :)

Merry Christmas from India

The shot with the local bystanders

The final cropped shot, cutting out the local bystanders :)