29 May 2016
This morning my body woke me up at 5am. I laid down and tried to go back to sleep until 6am, but at 5:30am, I arose and read outside. At 5:45am, chanting came from the streets, and I scurried over the window to view the commotion. It was a group of 10 men dressed in white attire chanting throughout the streets just outside the hospital. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the nature of the commotion or the reason as I did not understand a word being said in Hindi or Tamil, not English. Also, as I read the sun was rising and the birds were squawking or chirping. At one point, I wanted to go back into the room, grab the camera to record this as it was unreal! maybe another morning I will.
Meds arrived at 6am, and Anish (the medicine man) conversed with me. At this hospital there are cottages, rooms, and general ward for a total of 57 beds for patients. We discussed the differences of an American hospital and this one in broken English . . . of course.
Sarah awoke at 6:15am for meds and prepare for her early morning treatment. She requested an early treatment for today as Antima (a lady our age) invited us to a Isha Yoga retreat today. Sarah asked permission to leave the hospital for this retreat, and permission granted as the main treatment for Sarah doesn’t start until tomorrow (Monday, 30 May).
We ate our typical breakfast of dosa and idly (1 of each) then chit chatted,read, lounged, & waited.
At 10am, we met up with Antima (antzdoodles) to adventure out of the hospital by 25km to attend a retreat at Isha Yoga (ishayoga.org). The taxi arrived at 1015am, we loaded up, and were off. Sarah chuckled as I immediately grabbed for the seat belt only to find the buckle piece tucked away out of my reach. In Sarah’s world and public transportation, she does not regularly wear a seatbelt, whereas it is my first instinct when I am in a car. The drive out to Isha Yoga, not sure the exact location or city, lasted for 45 minutes. During our drive, Sarah & Antima discussed the ‘freedom’ felt during this excursion outside of the hospital. Antima has been at Ayurvedic Treatment Center (the hospital, compound, institute, etc) for the past 42 days. Even though Sarah and I had only been here a week, Sarah felt the freedom with this adventure. Antima informed us of some tips and tricks within the hospital. She explained her journey to us.
We arrived at Isha Yoga! Unfortuantely all belongings had to be left at the front gate: shoes, cameras, mobiles (phones), packs, etc. My disappointment displayed on my face as my camera didn’t enter with me. The sights and statues and rituals were beautifully displayed. The people leisurely strolled along the grounds. We passed over a lily pond filled with lotuses and lillies of all different colors. Meditation started at 1145am in the temple. We headed directly there and arrived on time. We heard chanting from the temple and drum playing while we waited to enter the temple. We entered the temple for 15 minutes of uninterrupted meditation inside. After meditation, we took a dip in the mineral water. The water felt refreshing. We slowly made our way through. After the dip, Antima suggested for us to have lunch at the retreat center. We made our way to the Canteen. I did not have a clue as to what to order, so I suggested Antima order 3 dishes for all of us to split. She ordered mushroom rice, chapati, and another rice dish with a cinnamon stick on the bottom. All of the dishes were delicious and flavorful – more flavorful than the hospital food. Antima ordered me a sugar cane drink, which was dessert like in flavor. After thinking about it, I think this is one of the non-water drinks I have had since leaving the states, not including the Singapore Sling in the plane ride to Tokyo. However, we also ordered dessert- homemade chocolate for Sarah and ice cream for Antima and myself. The ice cream came hard packed in a clay/adobe like little pot. Unfortunately with all of my future travels, it will not come with me. On the taxi ride back to the hospital, we discussed our experiences and the freedom we felt with our little adventure.
We arrived back at the Ayurveda Institute just in time for afternoon tea. During this time, Sarah and I chit chatted about the experience. I mentioned my disappointment of not being able to take pictures, and she mentioned that the experience was heightened as we were ‘all there’ without the distraction of a camera or a phone, which I totally agree with her. We read, rested, lounged around, walked, and waited for din din. During the adventure, we walked a mile, and I was determined to walk more. Sarah returned to the room while I explored the immediate surrounding areas outside of the compound. Even though I have explored these streets daily, every day I continue to see new things with new experiences. One of these day, I’m sure this walking will get old, but for the time being, I’m enjoying being immersed in Indian culture without time constraints.
I returned just before dinner. Sarah’s dinner arrived. Even though Sarah and I spend lots of time together, I enjoy our meal times and conversations. However, the flavor of the food at the Canteen far surpasses the flavor of the food delivered to the room. The hospital food delivered to the room needs to be easily digestible for the patients. Therefore, Sarah and I have agreed for me to have one non-hospital meal a day for me to experience more variety of foods. One of these days, I will venture out into the streets and try a different dish.
After dinner, we met up, walked around the compound, chit chatted (or interacted – because up neighbors speak broken English) with our neighbors, and read. We stayed awake until 9pm and promptly fell asleep.