Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who would have thought?

I have been busy this week, crocheting (since last Saturday) a pair of mittens, a set of legwarmers, and four toques*, in a last minute rush to beef up the stock list for the Odanadi craft sale on Nov 27th.  Everyone I have bumped into in the last few days has been offering to help in any way they can to make our event a success, from cash donations to just having an extra set of hands around on the day of the sale, but one person went above and beyond to help out.  My friend Boonchu offered to create a poster, and in no time at all, he came up with a masterpiece.  I couldn't be happier with it!

In return for his kindness, I made him a very stylish toque, dark charcoal grey with a acid green trim.  And when he went into the yoga shala to ask Sharath (our teacher) about putting up the poster, he also showed off his hat.  And now Sharath wants me to make one for him!  Talk about pressure!  The other thing that is really cool is the amount of support I am getting from the Mysore crochet community.  Last Saturday the craft session on my balcony reached new heights with about 12 people showing up with their yarn, hooks, and a big smile.  Underage Grandmas (and Grandpas... we had two gentlemen crocheting with us) unite!

Big surprises this trip... crocheting is cool, and a special order to make a hat for Sharath.  Who would have thought? 

*Toque:  For all you non-Canadians who will most like be left scratching your heads over this gem of a word, it is a snug fitting wooly hat generaly worn in chilly weather, sometimes called a beanie in other parts of the world, pronounced like "two" with a "k" thrown on the end.   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crafty Saturdays and Diwali Mayhem!

The last few weeks in Mysore have zipped by very quickly, undoubtedly because they have been action-packed.  After the dog bite incident I postponed ballet classes at Odanadi and started teaching the ladies how to crochet... a nice quiet sitting down activity was easier for me to handle with the flesh wound.  Because everyone was so keen to keep up with it, we are now planning a craft sale in Gokulam at the end of the month, and hopefully all the yoga students will flock to craft corner (a.k.a. the balcony I share with my lovely neighbour Sonja) to purchase some little handmade projects and support a very worthwhile cause.  Crocheting seems to be in this season; I have taught about 20 friends over the last two weekends between some one on one lessons and Saturday craft time, asking simply for a small donation to help fund the supplies for Odanadi.   Now I am getting stopped in the street and asked about single stitch versus double stitch and how to finish a toque.  Who knew my dorky grandma hobby was actually a cool hobby in disguise?    The great part is that everyone is really excited about it, and it is nice to see people getting creative with their projects and ending up with something fantastic, handmade, and original.  And also the toque-wearing population at the coconut stand is increasing much faster than if I was the only one making them.  Long live the toque!

Last weekend, the big event (other than crochet Saturday) was Diwali, and for the last couple days I have still been feeling the after-effects.  On the first big night of fireworks I ended up in front of the yoga shala with a group of friends and we were setting off all our explosives with Sharath, our teacher.  Might I add that I bought said explosives at the local elementary school? 

Walking down the street during the daytime was the closest thing I can imagine to a war zone with crackers being set off every few minutes and in every direction.  I wouldn't be surprised if heart attack rates go way way up at this time of year.  The second night of the festivities there was a huge crowd gathered on the street corner just under my apartment, and everyone was taking turns lighting fireworks and setting off crackers for a solid two hours. My nervous system was on major overload after all that, and I think I am still twitchy every time I hear a loud noise.  But I also wouldn't trade in the experience for anything.  It seems like the Ashtanga practice has a tendency to make people a little hypersensitive to sounds and large groups and things like that.  And so it makes perfect sense that everyone is so into crocheting!

Friday, November 5, 2010

When things go wrong in India, things go really wrong in India.  Like people receiving news that a loved one has passed away, or getting dengue fever, or a hernia, or in my case, a rabid dog bite.  What is interesting though is that the community here, comprised of people that you have generally known for a limited time, is somehow able to generate a network of support and love that is pretty unbelievable.  Everyone is perhaps a little more sensitive than usual while they are here, and I think a heightened sense of empathy is the result.   On my first trip when I was pretty desperately ill, on more than one occasion, I had rehydration salt delivery and company from a generous soul, and this time around after being chomped on the ankle by a sick dog, I have received more compassion and concern than I probably deserved from friends and complete strangers alike.  Many people have been checking in on the healing process on a daily basis, and just having so many people offer to help in whatever way they can is something I can only express gratitude for.   For a tight-knit community to be formed in such a short time frame is quite special, and I think there is a little Mysore magic involved; I can't begin to fathom this happening anywhere else in the world.  

***Blogging teaser: Crochet-aholics/Underage-Grandma-Club and Diwali mayhem posts coming soon!