Monday, January 24, 2011

Mysore Extracuricular: Crochet Club

At Anu's with Rich, Jenn and Harish. Jun Pe snuck in.
The itty bitty hat I'm holding is my first hat--
which is obviously too small for my head.
At Anouki's. With Rich, Katherine and Alin.

This is a seriously inappropriate hobby to have in the tropics, I think to myself as I make tidy little balls from yards and yards of thick woolly yarn, no doubt the strangest thing I brought back from India (in pale pink, purple, green and gray).

In the first stages of my "Mysoresickness," I even insisted on wearing the leg warmers I made (1/3 of a set of triplets, Ursula in Osaka and Deva in Mysore have the other two, Heidi in Helsinki owns their cousin--all of them have the right to be wearing theirs) to practice. Sure, it was cool for the Philippines. It was 5:45am cool in the Philippines. But who am I kidding? It is not only hot, it is humid, and I've totally missed the two week period in December when there's an ever-so-slight chill in the air mostly in the evenings only warranting a long sleeve shirt or a shawl. Otherwise, it is plain old hot and humid.

After my second day of forcing the issue, my friend Christina when boarding the car saw the thick cold-weather leg warmers on the passenger seat, pointed at the them and asked with concern, "Were you wearing these?" Christina, a model slash DJ and my most fashionable friend, looked horrified. The fluffy, cozy winter-warmers have no place here, she might as well said.

I haven't worn them since, though I've been tempted to blast the AC on high in order to make use of them in the morning on the way to the yoga studio. I'm still crocheting, however. I just can't stop myself. I'm finishing a hat for my niece in Singapore. Again, tropical weather, inappropriate present.

Still I continue. I feel calm doing it. And it reminds me of Mysore.

When I first arrived in late October, crochet was all the rage. Everyone seemed to know how. Guys and girls. You could find diligent enthusiasts at the shala gates whiling away the waiting by hooking and pulling, hooking and pulling their string of yarn into homemade creations. There were pockets of the crochet community everywhere, meeting in private homes and in public cafes.

I started over chocolate almond smoothies at Anu's cafe, where a group met to crochet in the afternoons over their evening tea and smoothies. Richard from England, along with Alin from So Cal was almost always frenetically at it. Jenn from Canada was all pro and was knitting. Katherine was doing a refressher. Juliana was a natural. Me, not so.

Richard's enthusiasm for the sport was catchy. Before long I had purchased my own yarn and and crochet needle and was knotted up and stumbling on my fingers. Richard was patient. And many others helped give me little tips along the way.

The Odanadi Fundraiser in late November was
the crochet event. Many an amateur craftsman and craftswoman donated their creations to sell for the benefit of the Odanadi street children. In all it was a testament of the shala students' commitment to helping the local community AND their love for crochet!

I was a total newbie at the time and was still on my first hat, which though was meant for me appeared to be shrinking in size. In the end I had produced a rather small hat suited for a baby. Such was my learning curve. My second hat completed by Christmas was a perfect elf hat--quite by accident.

But I kept at it. At home. In front of the shala gates at 4 in the morning. At practically any dead moment.

In a way, it's become a sort of sitting meditation. Something positive and creative to keep my vata self occupied. It's been good to learn something new, to see my own progression, to improve with each project--much like life at the shala, practice and patience, practice and patience.

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