Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Before I left the States, a friend who has been to India said when I got off the plane I would know by the smell that I was in India.  Sure enough, when I walked out of the airport I knew I had arrived.  It was like a mixture of tropical fruits, flowers and pollution.  It was quit welcoming actually.  It was 7am, about 65 degrees and the huge sun was just rising over the horizon.  It was exhilerating and terrifying all at the same time.  After 36 hours of travel, I was extremely jet lagged but still on a mission to get to Mysore which was 4 hours away.  I opted for the bus because I thought it would be the safest and easiest method, and the information booth at the airport didn't have the train schedule.  I didn't arrange for a taxi because I thought I'd have flight delays and cancelations due to the ice storm in Atlanta.  The bus was an interesting learning experience, but I'll definitely do the taxi next time.  

It's confusing and disorienting to travel half way across the world and land in a country that is so different from America.  It took several days before I found a place to rent in Gokulam, which is a rich suburb of Mysore where the Yoga Shala is located.  I stayed in a hotel near the city center which also turned out to be a very interesting experience.  I felt like I was just thrown into the Indian culture to fend for myself.  For good reason I felt extremely cautious and paranoid, very much on guard, especially being my first time in India.  I felt vulnerable being a woman traveling by myself and was worried about being taken advantage of;  many Indians look at Westerners with dollar signs in their eyes.  It would have been very helpful and comforting to have a place lined up to land before I arrived.  I think all of this comes with connections and experience of traveling to Mysore;  I feel like I've been figuring it out on the fly.  Hindsight, I appreciate the experience of staying in the city and having to befriend a ricksaw driver, but during the experience it was a little scary.

After being here for a week, I feel like I'm starting to catch on and feel a little bit more comfortable in day-to-day interactions.  I feel totally grateful to be here safe and that's it's all working out as it should be.  I love the house I'm renting, the yoga community and practicing in the Shala.  I really love that it's sunny and 75 everyday!  Power outages are common in India and my power has been out for the past day and half- I don't love that.  As my landlord said, "This IS India darling;  Welcome."