Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Up Early and Giving Thanks

Last Sunday…31 Oct 2010

There are two days of led classes at the shala. The first one we experienced on Friday at 5:45am. The following Sunday it was at 4:15am. Sharath’s classes are split into 2 groups. The first batch goes early on Fridays. The later batch goes early on Sundays. Fair enough, but still hard on one not used to getting up at 3am (ahem, such as myself)…

Getting up wasn’t too bad, but practicing at 4:15am in the morning takes, I am hoping,
getting used to.

Overall, the practice was hard. My mind, I fear, played tricks on me. There was that shadow lurking in its shallow crevices, being bad, being defeatist. I finished worn out, tired. The class required alertness and strength, both were a challenge to call up so early in the morning—for me at least.

We were home by 6 in the morning. I went directly to bed, I took savasana there which was followed by a 3-hour nap, in which I awoke much like 6 hours earlier: still tired.
No matter, we had a full day ahead of us.

We were invited to a puja by Claudia’s painting teacher. A thanksgiving feast organized to celebrate the sale of Anand’s paintings—an entire collection. Waking up to a similar time as ourselves, Anand’s family had gone to the temple, chanted, made sacrifices and then slaughtered a goat, which they were cooking in a huge pot when we rocked up to the house around 1:30pm. In fact, there were several large pots stewing on the rooftop. The smells were divine.

It was a lovely gathering of Indians. Mysore natives and even family members from Bangalore were in attendance. Claudia, her classmate Arancha and myself were the only foreigners.

They cleared out Anand’s studio, laid out mats along the wall on which people sat, cross-legged mostly. In front of each person was placed a plate made out of dried leaves stuck together by bits of toothpick. We were in the process of wetting our plates as instructed when we were informed that vegetarians would eat separately downstairs—a custom, it turns out, to keep veggie food from being spoiled by any meat—maybe that ends up in the air. We happily obliged.

It was a delicious meal of spiced rice, sambal topped the rice, curd rice, string beans with lentils and a dessert that seemed like overcooked noodle in a soupy sweet concoction—all served by Anand’s lovely daughter. In fact, the family served the entire time, as is custom. Before we dug in, we each were spooned prasad water into our right palm, which we drank. It tasted a little like milky roses.

Later, Anand would proudly tell Claudia that he and his family fed 120 people that day. What a beautiful gesture of gratitude their whole effort made—to celebrate their good fortune by sharing it with friends and family.

For Art Lessons, contact:
M.S. Anand
Tanjore & Mysore Traditional Painting Class

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