Indian Time

For me entered  India  is like falling into a dream. A bit Maggi in wonderland,  the dream has of course, nightmarish bits. Arriving at Bombay airport at midnight. You’d think that the Indians might sleep occasionally but the international terminal was teeming.  After exiting the airport itself I entered an arena, then the weirdness really kicked in.  All the hotel drivers stand around a wire fence, (mind you there used to be no fence) as we the exhausted travellers look for our name, our hotel or something that will wisk us away from this dusty, sultry field to clean sheets and a horizontal stretch.
My other arena companions soon found their lifts to the next phase of their life.  Me I didn’t, I had the hotel name and knew it offered a shuttle but I was not on anyone’s list.  I found my hotel’s man on the ground but the nightmare continued.  Okay I thought, can I get a cab to this airport hotel, ” No madam will be waiting here for 5 minutes.” It’s been a while since I entered Indian space and five minutes means anything over a half hour. FYI if anyone says to you ” Madam will be waiting 2 minutes,” it is usually closer to 15 minutes.
So I sat amongst the chaos of Indian men in suits, uniforms, and casual attire waving their arms, swapping stories, cigarettes, playing computer games, talking fast and loudly.
I should be relishing this my first taste of Indian in 6 years but you know I was really grumpy, go figure, hard to imagine eh? 
Suffice to say that after a sufficient time had passed to temper me and habituate me to Indian time I was whisked away to heavy cotton sheets and air conditioning.
 A week later I sit on a cool balcony at Arogyaniketana Ayurvedic Ashrama in the village of Hariharapura. I have undergone a treatment to remove toxins from my body that was difficult, but with time and that I have in spades in this quiet corner of the world, I’m starting to feel lighter.
I have been reunited with my beloved Ayurvedic doctor Dr Ashwin Sastry his care is, as always, careful and intelligent and he’s one of the most pleasant men to be around.  
I am in the after math of my time as a conduit for toxins and am about to walk to the river.
My time here is unstructured other than the actual treatments, there are no classes, lessons, demands other than healing. I have produced some watercolour paintings and am exploring an abstract art form called Tattwa that symbolises the five elements, aether (space), air, water, fire and earth.
India is a teeming country, colour defines it and ugods move over its dusty surface. The ages of gods seem real as dark eyes gaze at my feral whiteness with luminous curiosity.  The school girl giggles and asks, “What is your name?” The round faced boy asks, ” Coin, madam.” “Golly,” I reply, ” We haven’t even been formally introduced.”
India is becoming more modernised, sort of middle class, with better housing and education yet in its humming atmosphere the ages hang in every breath, I feel dwarfed by its visible and invisible history. Time stretches into eons, each cycle of time a Maya-Yuga covers over a million and a half years and the creator Brahma’s day is made up of a thousand Maya-Yugas. 
We struggle through a sub cycle now a Kali Yuga, a dark age when ” property gives a man rank, when wealth is equated with virtue,when passion becomes the sole bond between men and women, when falsehood brings success. ” ( Sauman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children)
My day is just beginning, I can hear prayers sung, deep voices intoning, birds and the moon moves towards full and is twisted a full 180 degrees, the constellations have upended themselves and I sit stretching time into folds of my personal history that is inexorably linked to this teeming continent. 
Tandavar 1

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