Nov. 30, 2008 – Invite to Local Family Celebration and Buying New Clothes, Indian Style and Being Alone…

November 30, 2008

Nov. 30, 2008 – Invite to Local Family Celebration and Buying New Clothes, Indian Style and Being Alone…

Buying Clothes

Buying Clothes

I am sitting on my rooftop terrace as the sun goes down and I can never get enough of this. Having easy access to outdoors is the big thing I miss at home in my flat. I have a terrace but it is not the same. I find it so peaceful up here (usually alone), and since I’ve begun cooking for myself, it will be very easy for me to fall back into the “hermit” pattern I find myself in at home in Israel. I don’t have to go downstairs for all my meals which means I “hang out” less with other people. I honestly don’t miss it. With the weather still beautiful, I am very rarely IN my room either. But my room is situated such that unless you actually come up here to see me, you never see me, and I like it that way. As usual, if I choose to be around people, that is no problem. Tomorrow for example I am meeting a lady I met at the clinic while she was also doing panchakarma, and we will go out for lunch. There are plenty of these opportunities, but I don’t really go looking for them. I basically am the same person here as I am at home and do relish my “aloneness”. Below is a copy of a poem I wrote during one of my stays in India, and I thought it appropriate here:

ALONE
Why?
Why are others always an intrusion?
I don’t seek them yet they find me…
Must I become invisible to be ALONE?
Or is this part of who, what I am
Flowing along and blending into the river of common pain
Floating as a log for those drowning to latch on to.
Where is the log meant to keep me afloat?
Or have I been given the strength to stay afloat ALONE?
Do I draw my strengths from my ALONENESS?
Or from the giving OF myself?
Who will be there to keep me from drowning
When there is no more strength to draw on?
I am surrounded by heavenly love and protection…
Spiritually I am never ALONE…
But…
I am physical as well
As is my life…
All the new that awaits me…
All the changes to be made…
All the wonders still to reveal themselves…
Are not meant to be experienced ALONE
My soul, my heart, my body all yearn
For the one with the same yearnings
To continue the journey together in our ALONENESS…

Can there be such a miracle?

I have these feelings often but the poem expresses the depth of my confusion very well.

And now on to the regular post for yesterday and today.

Nov. 29…. Yesterday was a lovely day which began with my waking up feeling very tired and still with a slight headache which I had been having for a couple of days (It is gone today). I can only imagine it has to do with the weather changing…it was kind of “chamsini”, and perhaps I wasn’t drinking enough…who knows.

Anyway, I had forgotten to soak my dried fruit for porridge overnight, so ordered a Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 28, 2008 – One of “Those” Days

November 29, 2008

Nov. 28, 2008 – One of “Those” Days

Yesterday evening I cooked my own dinner for the first time. I’ve already begun cooking my own special porridge in the morning. I might have even mentioned this. I order a glass of milk and then cook in my room. I cannot really keep milk as I have no fridge, even though they would let me use the one in the kitchen. But it is just as easy to order a glass of milk each morning.

So last night, I made my own dinner…cooked kitcheri, and it came out pretty good. The spices here seem to be much fresher than those at home, and so it was a little heavy on the seasoning, but otherwise, very good. And there was enough left over for another meal tonight. That is stored in the fridge downstairs. Of course, I now have to wash dishes, which I do in a bucket in the bathroom as the bathroom sink is much too small, but I manage.

For some reason I was very tired yesterday evening, and by 8:30 I had fallen asleep, only to wake up at midnight. So I read for awhile, and eventually fell back to sleep. Woke up still tired this morning, with a headache…perhaps I didn’t drink enough, don’t know. Anyway, I had to go into the market and that is how the day began, following breakfast.

Got dressed, went into town to pick up the Reiki workbooks I had Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 27, 2008 – Tour Guide, Family Dinner and More Insights into Indian Life and My Eyesight!

November 27, 2008

Nov. 27, 2008 – Tour Guide, Family Dinner and More Insights into Indian Life and My Eyesight!

Still sitting up on the rooftop terrace. The People in the next room just finished eating and left some dishes with some scraps on the table. The place is now filled with birds, getting ready to roost for the night…and picking up some tidbits along the way, make an enormous amount of racket about it…crows, and what I think are magpies, but I’m not sure…but it is fun to watch them and hear them and hear them squawking away.

So, my friend’s visit. This is the guy I met during my first trip to India, from Chennai, and whose family I staying with during my 2nd trip, for 5 weeks, in Chennai in the south of India. But now things were reversed, and I became his tour guide for rihiskesh. Although he speaks Hindi, it is never easy to be a tourist in a new place, and we had two really lovely days walking around, seeing the sights, the ahiva aarti which he enjoyed so much we went two days in a row. And for the first time he explained to me the meaning of the various chants, so it had even more meaning for me. You can also look above at the VIDEO tab and see a nice video I took of this puja last year…

Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 27, 2008 – Catching Up

November 27, 2008

Nov. 27, 2008 – Catching Up

I will do my best to catch up on the last 5 days. I simply haven’t written as a friend of mine was here visiting from Chennai, and that took up all of my time. I will write about that visit, the dinner I was invited to at Dr. Arora’s house with a few other friends, my eating habits changing, an amazing change in my vision as a result, apparently, of panchakarma, as well as a nasty lesson I learned the hard way about viruses and computers. But first, just a look at today!

Today was actually my first day, since I arrived in India on October 11th, that I have had entirely free, to myself, to do as I please. I know this sounds strange, but first I was in Delhi, then I arrived here and began panchakarma, and as soon as I finished, I did all, or most, of my errands to get my room set up before Ravin arrived for his 3 days visit.

So, today, I woke up as I usually do, automatically opening my eyes at 6:45 for some reason. Did my bandha work, pranayama, prayers, meditation, mantras and yoga. Then I cleaned my room, which I hadn’t done in over a week. And then, for the first time since I am here, cooked my own porridge for breakfast. First of all, it really tasted much better than what I buy here, and of course was much cheaper. I’ve decided that instead of buying milk and worrying about it spoiling, or asking a favor to keep it in the refrigerator in the kitchen downstairs, I would just order a glass of milk in the morning. It costs 10 rupees. So breakfast, which used to be 35 rupees for the porridge and 10 for the milk, is now only 10 rupees, and much tastier. I use part of the milk for my porridge which also has dried fruits and almonds which have soaked over night added to it, as well as ghee and cinnamon, and the rest of the milk to drink hot with my chanwanprash (tonic which I take to continue strengthening my systems following panchakarma).

Then I showered, got dressed and went out shopping. As much as it is nice to be able to cook myself, there are two definite drawbacks. Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 23, 2008 – And Yet Another Lesson in Living in India – Hospitals

November 23, 2008

Nov. 23, 2008 – And Yet Another Lesson in Living in India – Hospitals

No, don’t worry, it is not me! Just a recap of yesterday’s post about my friend Jacqueline, the French lady with the broken elbow:

… she is 66 and while in Varansai recently, she fell and broke her arm just above the elbow. The first doctor she was taken too told her it would cost 600 rupees for a cast but she must return immediately to her own country for an operation on her elbow. She didn’t want to do that so went for a second opinion. The second doctor said he would put on a “special” cast for 5000 (!) rupees and she would not need an operation. Who do you believe? Anyway, she went with the second guy and arrived a few days ago in Rishikesh. Just to be sure, today she went to an orthopedic surgeon some people recommended, and he took new x-rays. His diagnoses was that the first cast was not even done properly, the angle is wrong, the material wrong for this type of fracture, and they she definitely needs surgery, but she can do it here in India. He sent her to a further specialist, who she will go see tomorrow, but she is now so concerned she is in tears. He told her if she doesn’t have surgery very soon, she will never be able to bend her arm again at the elbow (it is now set at a 90 degree angel).

I feel so bad for her. She has been in India for years, much lie me, but is now at her wit’s end and totally confused, and alone. I don’t envy her.

So, today, I took her to the recommended hospital which several people had already told us that it is an extremely good hospital where people come from all over for even brain surgery. I did Reiki to her most of the day, on and off, whenever I could. I forgot to bring my Rescue, as did she, but the Reiki helped alot to keep her as calm as possible under the circumstances. We got a taxi to take us at 10 this morning. It was a lovely ½ hour ride up towards Dehra Dun, through lovely forest roads. This is the area which my favorite Indian writer, Ruskin Bond, always writes about, as he lived here most of his life. I’ve always wanted to see the things he describes, and today I did! We arrived at the hospital, only to find that it was basically Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 22, 2008 – Living in Rishikesh

November 22, 2008

Nov. 22, 2008 – Living in Rishikesh

Just one quick comment about the surprising results of Panchakarma which I forgot to mention previously. The other day, I was rubbing lotion on my legs, when I felt a funny felling. It was as if I had recently shaved my legs and stubble was growing back, but I haven’t shaved my legs since I got to India (one of the things I like about being here!) . I looked more closely and saw, in between the very sparse leg hair I have had for the past number of years – a perk of getting older I guess – less body hair to worry about – I noticed, to my astonishment, hair growing. Still to short to really see but it is definitely hair and light in color (or perhaps grey?). I asked Dr. Arora about this and he was ever so pleased. He said if the body is truly cleansing properly , than this is one of the results. Hair and nails it appears are another way in which the body releases toxins, and if everything is going well, new hair would be a sign of very deep cleansing…he said my head hair would probably get thicker as well. And of course I already mentioned, I think, the fact that my nails are cracking at the finger line. His explanation is that the old nails were very weak, and the new ones, being stronger, cause the old ones to break leaving only new nail to continue to release toxins more efficiently. I find this not only exciting, but quite fascinating as well. I can’t say I am particularly happy about having more leg hair, but the concept is interesting.

The last two days, and tomorrow as well it seems, will be devoted to simply “living in Rishikesh”. Yesterday I finally got my cellphone problem sorted out and I now have a life time validity on an Indian phone number and hopefully this will work as promised every time I come back to India.

Today I began equipping my kitchen for simple cooking, and you never really realize how much stuff you need for cooking. I already realize I forgot to my a grater and am sure I will find other things missing as I go along. So far I purchased a small storage unit (you can see in the pics)


and a saucepan, frying pan, colander, a couple of mixing bowls, storage tins, food warmer, serving tray, cutting board, knife, measuring cups, wooden utensils , spices and containers for them, this all came to about 250 shekel. Not cheap but I bought good stuff as I plan to leave it in storage Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 20, 2008 – Visit to Devi

November 22, 2008

Nov. 20, 2008 – Visit to Devi

This is going to be a difficult post to write, just as the actually visit was difficult. When I first began Panchkarma, Devi, one of the massage therapists, the younger one I mentioned, 21 years old, had henna on her hand one day. I asked her about it and she said she does it herself, and if I would like, she can do for me when I finish pachakarma. I said I’d love her to do it for me, but never imagined she would actually remember almost 4 weeks later. The day before I finished, she said “tomorrow you come…I do henna..you eat lunch..Thik hei?” Well, of course Thik hei (OK).

So, I finished my last day and headed off wither to her house. She lives on the other side of the bridges, between lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula, but closer to Ram Jhula, off the main road. On the way, she began telling me about the conditions she lives under. You remember I told you they are 5 daughters, the oldest married, the other two of marriageable age waiting for enough money for a wedding before arranging a marriage. Her 24 year old sister is first on the list, and then Devi. They have no idea where the sum of 100,000 rupees (minimum) will come from for each wedding, but are hopeful. The father doesn’t work, and hasn’t for many years and so her small salary of a little over 1000 rupees per month for a part time job, and her sisters salary as a nurse/midwife is what is supporting the family.

Her two younger sisters, as she and the older two, have no access to proper education as they do not have the money for a good school. (Remember I told you about the poor education the village kids get as the teachers either don’t bother teaching or don’t even show up). She asked if I’d like to see the school

where her youngest sister learns and of course I said yes. Well, when we arrived, all the kids were just outside or roaming around talking to each other, or sitting and chatting in the classrooms. I assumed it was recess, but she no. This is what the school day is mostly like. The several teachers were sitting inn the “teacher’s room” chatting and the kids were out and about. They DID seem to have some form of learning as there was a blackboard Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 20, 2008 – Just some more stuff – and the story of Hari’s Girlfriend as Promised

November 21, 2008

Nov. 20, 2008 – Just some more stuff – and the story of Hari’s Girlfriend as Promised


Just before the full post, I am including pictures of henna that was done to my hand yesterday when I went to visit Devi. The visit to her house requires an entire post, which I hope I will get to today. But enjoy the pics. She did it with lots of patience, at least on her part (she also wanted to do the top part of my hand, but I couldn’t sit any longer), and then I had to wait 4 hours until it dried properly. So I couldn’t even pee as you cannot take your pants up and down with only one hand. It was all very funny. She had to put my shoes on for me when I left, wrap my shawl around me, take 5 rupees out of my wallet for me to hold for the rickshaw, and still part of the henna wiped off before the time was up. The second picture is still with the wet henna, and the last one is after I washed it and it was completed. It should last for a week now. Fun I guess.

As I was posting the last two posts at the internet café, a new downpour began. But I don’t have far to go and got up to my room without getting too wet. Wonder what tomorrow will bring? (Woke up to another beautiful sunny, warm day and am back in short sleeve summer shalwar kameez!!)

At any rate, I continued my celebration of food with a lovely plate of pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. After a full month of no pasta , perhaps a record for me, it was like a full gourmet meal to me! The waiters, who have been waiting for me to finish panchakarma, began celebrating with me this evening with my masala chai and apple crumble, and were all smiles when I ordered the pasta. I am actually feeling a little stuffed right now, but ever so happy!

It is again cold, but have pulled out more warm clothing from the original parcel I mailed to Delhi before I came to India, and am “snug as a bug in a rug”. I have on two pair of pants, one a training pants and over them Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 20, 2008 – Panchakarma – Day 28- Last Day of Panchakarma – First Day of Rain!

November 20, 2008

Nov. 20, 2008 – Panchakarma – Day 28- Last Day of Panchakarma – First Day of Rain!

First Rain

First Rain

Woke up this morning to a sound I haven’t heard in a long time. RAIN! I was quite surprised as I just wrote yesterday how lovely the weather is and there really has been no sign of rain. Turns out everyone is just as surprised as me. Even the weather report did not even predict a possibility of rain. And it was COLD! When I began writing this post this morning, I was wearing 3 layers under my outer shirt, with a sweatshirt on top of that with hood. And a warm shawl covering that. I also put on a hat as my head was cold. Under my jeans I wore stockings, sox and heavy woolen knitted “booties” on top. I covered the whole thing with my heavy blanket shawel and then was able to go down for breakfast. But by the time breakfast was over, the clouds parted, the sun came out and by the time I got down to Dr. Arora, it was getting comfortably warm. It was the kind of chilly which makes your cheeks red but not cold enough to be uncomfortable. Perfect walking weather. By the time my massage and steam bath were over, I was able to remove one layer of shirts, my stockings, hat and sweatshirt. I was going down to Devi’s house today, so left all the extra clothing at the clinic, and by the time we started walking to her house at 1, it was a beautiful sunny day, with a pleasant chill in the air.

I will tell you about the visit to Devi’s house in another post, and am including below some farewell pictures of the Arora Clinic and staff, but first just a few comments about the panchakarma.

Today, my last day, it rained as mentioned. I thought this was a good sign of final cleansing, and when I arrived at the clinic, doc was very happy and said according to the Indians, if there is an auspicious occasion or special day (like last day of panchakarma), and it rains, it is a great blessing from God. So, again, I’ve been blessed!

In the past, I had always finished panchakarma in a weakened state and having lost between 2-4 kg. which I really couldn’t afford to loose. This time Read the rest of this entry »


Nov. 18-19, 2008 – Panchakarma – Day 26-27 – New Energy Levels – Newfound Freedom and New Insights

November 20, 2008

Nov. 18-19, 2008 – Panchakarma – Day 26-27 – New Energy Levels – Newfound Freedom and New Insights

The past two days have been like a rebirth, or like coming out of hibernation. For the entire past month, except for the two days at the beginning when I went for the motorbike rides, I have been going to my treatments in morning and then pretty much staying close to my room. A few times I went out for supper to a nearby restaurant, Tulsi, but other than that, I stayed put.

Yesterday, feeling completely energized after my massage, parantha, kicheri, ear and nose cleansing, I came back to my room, showered, changed clothes, and went out for a lovely walk. (If you want to get an impression of the area I walked around in, or at least a small part of it, check out the “video” tab above and look for the video about lakshman jhula.) Yesterday I exchanged 6 books I had finished reading for a couple of new (used) ones at the bookshop near the Lashman Jhula bridge, had a fruit salad sitting overlooking the Ganga, and then slowly walked back up to “house”, and joined a private yoga lesson. My friend einat just got certified as a yoga instructor and she is practicing. Then had dinner and spent the evening with this lovely Canadian girl, Sara, who to Rishikesh for 3 days and has been here for almost 10 already. She copy movies off my computer, we talked, watched some stand-up comedy and just had a good time. Then einat came in and we did some Tarot reading, more talking, and finally they both left. Then my friend from Delhi that I stayed with, called ( at midnight) to ask me to save her two rooms for her, and two friends who were visiting from Canada. They were coming to Rishikesh just for the day. I fell asleep after one and woke up bright and early to meet them when they arrived at 9 AM. Great seeing her again, even for a few minutes before I headed off for my treatment.

Today I had a massage and sirodhara (oil on the forehead). If you remember, the first time I did this it was very difficult for me. I was restless to the point of feeling trapped and claustrophobic, and the next two times, following the doc’s instructions, got easier. This last time was so lovely, I simply Read the rest of this entry »


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