January 5, 2010 – The Doldrums

January 5, 2010 – The Doldrums
The doldrums was initially a term used to describe a sailing ship calmed for any length of time on the ocean due to lack of winds to power it forward on its course.
Well, the last 5 days here have found me in my own doldrums. I never do well in cold, dreary wintry weather, without sun, but this is the first time in all the years I’ve been coming to India, and especially the last 3 years in Rishikesh, that I have encountered an extended period of time like this. Even on the worst days in Mcleodganj, there were always brief periods of sunshine to brighten up even the dreariest day and lift the spirit. And the last 3 winters I spent here in Rishikesh were glorious. There was never extreme cold, very few days of rain, and even on those days where it was cloudy, overcast or foggy, there were always periods of sunshine during the day.
Today is the 5th day where the sun appears to have disappeared completely. It is not only that the sun cannot be seen, its warming energies cannot be felt through the dense blanket of damp fog. It is not raining, but the air is wet, as you might find in a small bathroom after taking a very hot shower and everything is steamed up and misty . But the mist is not warm hot shower air, but cold, and chilly. Today, the high was 10 degrees and, as everyday this past week, there was also no electricity for most of the day, so no heater and not even any hot water to fill up a hot water bottle!
The cold is not as bad as the lack of sunshine. If the sun was out with its glorious light and stimulating energies, I would be completely content. But being cold, as well as despondent, is really difficult for me. There is also not a drop of wind, like a true doldrums at sea, and this is one of the reasons why we remain covered in fog and mist. Usually there is a fierce
wind which comes up each evening and increases during the night lasting until 9-10 in the morning. This is what keeps the skies clear most of the time. But these last days the air is completely still.
My panchakarma is over and this should be the time where I am out walking around in nature, or just exploring the market and the bridge areas, or walking up through the villages etc., but instead, I am pretty much stuck close to my room. I have forced myself out each morning for breakfast, and yesterday even took a walk down through Laxshman Jhula, thinking to continue around to ram jhula and back home as I often do, but the cold and dampness was exhausting, just as much as a very hot day would be, and had to change my plans and come straight home. Today I also planned to have a nice day as I was supposed to have a cooking class, learning to cook Malai Kofta, Shahi Paneer, Rajma and Samosas, 4 things I’ve never learned to cook on my own. When I arrived at the lesson, seems the teacher, my friend Lalita, was on her way to the hospital for emergency tests for a chronic neurological problem she has. Again thought I might go down to do some errands, but it was even colder than yesterday and so came back to my room.
Did some reading, ate lunch, visited my friend Seema where we had chai and sat bundled up in the dark with blankets around us to keep warm, went to the internet just to pass the time and am now back in my room. I did yoga for an hour to warm up, and now the electricity is finally back on so at least the dreariness of the dark is past!
The unexpected weather is still in the headlines and I can only be hopeful that it won’t last longer than another day or two and I will get my life back on course.
The Kumbha Mela first bathing days are just a week away and I have things I want to get done before the hordes turn up here, when it will be practically impossible.
My second parcel home is pretty much ready to ship and just have to check out one more thing before getting off to the post office.
I am grateful for the movies I have on my computer (although I’ve seen just about all of them already), and for all the wonderful books I’ve read (the last of which I finished just today and also have to go down to the bookshop to get more ). I will be extremely pleased if there is some let up in the weather and I can get at least these two things done tomorrow. My plans are to get out in the morning no matter what and do my best to get out of the doldrums, despite the weather.
And with this, the end to this gloomy post, I still feel blessed. I have friends to spend time with, ways to keep myself warm, and time goes by much too quickly . I still have enough time to do all I feel like doing before coming home and over the last few days, having nothing much of anything else to do, spoke to lots of members of my family on skype, messenger, facebook etc. There is no doubt that this is by far the most difficult few days I’ve spent in India in a long time, but I still am grateful for each moment I have here and do my best to enjoy each of these moments to the fullest.


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