Dancing, Elephants, and More Gobi Manchurian

Dancing, Elephants, and More Gobi Manchurian

My time left in India is shrinking!

In the last week, I’ve been traveling to a new place almost every day, making my way to Sivananda Ashram ( http://www.sivananda.org ) this afternoon, where I’ll stay for a week or two to do some yoga. So many quite remarkable things have happened that I’d like to present them for you in a montage. Hum your own favorite montage song while reading (“Chariots of Fire”, “If You Want to Sing Out” from Cat Stevens, a little Miles Davis… whatever you go in for) and imagine me Making Progress Toward a Goal, Learning Valuable Life Lessons, or Having a Ball.

Auroville… entering the Golden Golf Ball of Utopia (Google the├é┬áMatramandir) for a bit of meditation, riding my moped around and feeling really independent in a new way here (Auroville is a small place with very little traffic, so for those of you who were worried imagining me without a helmet, it was fine and it’s all over now) …. saw a traditional Indian dance concert, sat on the beach having my palm read by a German amateur palm reader, ate fresh shark with a Slovenian couple and watched an old Russian slapstick about escaped tigers on a ship…. visited the energy healer in Pondicherry, ate an extravagant meal at the hotel where international embassadors stay in Pondi…

Took the overcrowded bus to Villapurum and the third class (open seating) train to Trichy… met a family on the train whose daughter had a human growth hormone deficiency who asked me to help them get cheaper HGH ($180 a month for 10 years) but I wasn’t able to connect with them…. stayed at a hotel with a swimming pool for the first time, and that was the day it started raining here… rested in Trichy, watched In the Line of Fire on cable and had a long hot shower……

Train to Madurai, stayed at the Hotel Supreme… bathroom smelled like puke (but fine otherwise)…. met a woman from Jersey (near England, where the cows come from) and we strolled around the temples at night and had dinner on the roof… in the morning, I went to the flower market and bought lotuses and roses and took pictures of the bustle… saw the Gandhi museum, felt inspired and humbled….. walked outside and videotaped a soundbite for a P.S.A. on eye care (I looked into the camera, with generosity and care in my eyes, and spoke this line for them: “We, too, donate.” Can we get a grammarian out here please??)

Took the 4 hour bus to the Periyar Wildlife Preserve…. but on the way I was listening to Sean Hayes on my iPod, and, overcome with a sense of expansion and love, I turned to the woman next to me and gave her a rose from the flower market…. she invited me to her home for tea in Cumbum (yes, Cumbum)….. her daughter called me Auntie, and I met everyone in the neighborhood and spoke to their whole family on the phone….. one family fed me sweets, the next showed me how to make dosas and applauded when I did it, then ten people watched me eat….. the girls pumped up the Indian music and danced for me (!!!) and then I got up and we all danced together–they know all the moves from the Indian music videos, and it was just like choreographing dances to Young MC in sixth grade, but with added hip shaking and Indian head nodding…… JaiLakshmi invited me to stay, and I said yes…. she made the bed for me and they slept on the floor……

Took the morning bus to Periyar and stayed at Coffee Inn where I stayed in another raised thatched-roof hut overlooking the wildlife sanctuary….. met people, toured a spice and flower garden….. bought great spices and teas…. I feel a bit like a successful version of Columbus…. took a boat tour and spotted FIVE wild elephants!! ate a feast with friends at Ananda Bhavana, some paper dosa, gobi manchurian (hello Gobiji), mulai kofta, coconut rice…..

Stood for six hours on a crowded train to Trivandrum as the rain poured down, saw water buffalo… met a guy named Francisco here who is working on his PhD… he helped me find a room here, and we had dinner…… his FIRST time ever eating with a woman!

So I’m off to the Ashram for a week or two…

About Administrator

Alicia Dattner is a comedian and speaker who jousts with such topics of love, time-management, money, environmentalism, politics, spirituality, and creativity. Her first solo show, The Punchline, recently won Best of the Fringe in the San Francisco Fringe Festival 2008. Her second show, Eat Pray Laugh won Best Storyteller at the NY United Solo Festival. Her company, Making Light, is dedicated to bringing humor and lightness into spirituality, relationship, and every day life.

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