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brad’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 24 Jun 2007

Location: Mysore or Bust, India

MapAfter 3 weeks of ayurvedic treatment I'm itching to make a break. It's not that I don't enjoy daily massage, re-balancing my health, being waited on hand and foot and catching up on all the books I neglected to read last year. Considering Mum has another 2 weeks of treatment to go, has found her rhythm and settled into a home away from home I want to take advantage of an opportunity to visit Mysore, a town in the next state where 2 years ago I lived and practiced yoga. Furthermore it frustrates me as a budget traveler who has a long road ahead to hand out my hard earned cash paying inflated foreigner rates for ayurvedic treatment. The treatments, people and experiences are great, but the fact remains I find no real justification in dual pricing for foreigners other than taking advantage of those who don't truly know the real value of the rupee.
I will miss being here, the daily rituals, marveling at the Indian
processes, humored to a point by the function and dysfunction. I
applaud the comedy sketch when Mum requested a box of tissues yet received toilet paper and was told "same", a few days later her request for more toilet paper produced a box of tissues again informed "same". Some days treatments begin on time, others on Indian time. I wait in anticipation, boney butt to wooden bench a cotton G-banger all that remains (psychologically) of my dignity. As the rain teems outside I swat frantically at mosquitoes in the screen-less room, an interesting warm-up to a relaxing therapy. With this weather comes an apparent need for a herbal powder, rubbed on the head to prevent cold. A powder which smells like the breath of an old man on his death bed. In additon warm showers must be had, somehow from a solar heating system that stares despairingly at grey cloud skies. Thus a daily conundrum, to smell like death breath or brave a cold shower? As treatments take only 2 hrs of the day and there's only so many books a man can read, soon enough, like the rain boredom is consistent, assured. However relief is prophesized and with much excitement and dramatics (on my behalf doubt) television arrives and is installed and cable connected with an unheard of efficiency. That same night the monsoon turns up the fury, trees topple, power surges and seven new TV's explode. HBO ends as dramatically as it began. The monsoon, a known phenomenon surely validates the need for surge protection, surely someone …. Ahhh India…. I'll just read my book while listening to the cow in the paddock talk cow, watch the huntsman on the ceiling slowly creep, observe an army of ants remove the body of a dead insect from the floor and contemplate sufficient punishment for the cheeky chameleon who drops a turd on exactly the same floor tile every night while I sleep, directly in path between bed and toilet. Or perhaps I should focus my efforts on avenging the theft of my flip flop by a feral dog that frequents the area.

Against doctor's recommendations for fear of me getting sick I decide to visit Mysore. I plan to arrive back here in time to hang with mum for a week, then see her to the airport where she'll return to Oz and I'll catch a flight to Delhi. Instead of doing as I'm told, staying put, relaxing, chanting (I fear I'd have to take chanting to the streets and busk in order to pay my way), I book an overnight bus, a modern luxury coach where I have my own bed. A grand idea in theory but in practice it's like caviar on chameleon shit. Indian roads are atrocious. My bed was comfortable, if not a little small and the 9 hr journey I likened to attempting sleep on the back seat of a car while the driver does donuts in a cow paddock.

The weather in Mysore is abysmal. Overcast, scattered rain, a wind
that tosses polluted air and sickness. By day two allergies have a
firm grip on my body, by day three I'm coughing mucus from my lungs the consistency of cooked pasta but no where near as appetizing. Bedridden, humbled by sickness my Mysore visit is a right-off. Desperate for a quick recovery I reluctantly chow down antibiotics that shift the feeling of ill from infection to that of chemical poisoning. The dreaded green lurgy detects a swift defeat and retreats to my middle ear concentrating all his efforts and reducing my aural capacity to mono. After many days rest and now without fever I make a break for it, jumping an overnight train and come crawling back to the Ayurvedic Ashram prepared for the "I TOLD YOU SO" sermon.

India works in mysterious ways. A lesson in every event. The feeling
is I'm meant to back here and should disband concerns of expense, hold only to gratitude for health in body and environment, time with mum and the great wisdom of ayurveda.