Thursday, February 2, 2012

The dreaded eject button and stupid-o-clock

I've officially got an exit date from Mother India, and it is causing me some anxiety.  Buying plane tickets has never been so stressful!  My first visit, I was suffering enough with whatever was living in my belly and wreaking havoc with my digestion that I was ready to go after the three months, but both last year and now, it feels like I have to hit the eject button, or it would be possible to stay for ages.  Booking a ticket the other day made it feel like it is all happening much too soon, so I am make a conscious effort to be present and enjoy the last month that I have here, instead of dwelling in the 'maybes' and 'what ifs' that seem to be defining the next few months.  When I leave here, I will go to Indonesia to pick up some things I left behind, thinking that I would be returning to teach English for another year, and then back to WA to do the same, and then the plan is just to head east.  A destination is yet unknown.  There is something about no having a plan that is very alluring, but at the same time choices will eventually have to be made.  I am trying to stick with using the word 'choice', as opposed to 'decision',  because I have been told (can't remember by whom, but it really stuck) that the word 'decide' comes from a family of words with less than pleasant meanings.  Think of words that end in 'cide', what comes to mind?  Suicide, homicide, genocide, insecticide.... you get the idea no?  By using the word decide you are essentially killing the option that you didn't take, but by using choice, the alternative is still available (not dead?), you just didn't opt for it.  The power of words really resonate with me, and sometimes looking at something as simple as that can make a world of difference in the perception of a situation.
That was not what I intended to write about, but I have a feeling that I know why I am going off on a tangent.
Stupid-o-clock.
What is stupid-o-clock?  It is possible that this term has come up on this blog before, so perhaps some clarification would be advisable.  Waking up at stupid-o-clock in the morning is what you do if you are practicing on the early shift in Mysore, or practicing before teaching an early class, or taking an early flight, or starting an early day at work.  For me, it means setting my alarm to 3AM, shala time (fifteen minutes fast, so this means it is really 2:45AM), and then trying to function as a normal human being for the rest of the day.  Being in Mysore means that yes, you can take a nap, and yes you can do almost nothing all day, and yes you can go to bed as early as you like, but however you look at it, getting up at 2:45AM means your day starts in the middle of the night.  Some side effects are there (both positive and negative). 
*It is next to impossible to not have a certain degree of undereye circles, because if you do need 8 hours of sleep at night, it means you are going to bed at 7.  It isn't quite dark at that time, so I don't think it happens for very many people above the age of 5, or below the age of 95.

*Dinner doesn't really exist, except on Friday nights, and the day before a moon day.  Chai after practice ensures you get enough calories in the day as long as you also incorporate breakfast and lunch. 

*The locals are just starting to get ready for dinner at about 8PM, so the streets are busy and the sounds of family life echo through the streets of Gokulam at the prescribed bedtime.  This does have a flipside though; in the morning walking down to the shala there is a hush in the air that can't really be experienced at any other time of day.  For a few moments in those wee hours, a stillness slips over the neighbourhood that is a welcome respite from the constant multi-sensory stimulation that is India.

*Anyone in the first batch of students has the time and opportunity in the morning to practice, drink coconuts, go for chai, shower nap, do laundry and eat breakfast, all before the last bunch of students head in to the shala.  You can get a lot accomplished by waking up so far before the crack of dawn!

*The air in the shala at 4:30 in the morning still has oxygen in it.  The room starts off cool, and the the heat and humidity levels just keep going up until the room starts to empty out again somewhere probably around 11AM.  Anyone with a 10:30 start time probably needs scuba gear just to get through practice. 

*Some interesting conversations can be had when everyone is a bit sleep deprived... this morning at the coconut stand there was talk about catching the legs in backbends, and one of the guys said his leg hair is like velcro, which sent a few of us into poet mode... an ode to leg hair.  Shakespearean, it was not, but entertaining, absolutely.  Or maybe you had to be there...

Anyways, enough rambling.  Stupid-o-clock wake ups result in stupid-head blog posts.  It is official. 

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