Day Thirty-Seven: Apartment Scored
I woke up this morning with some pretty high expectations. Today would be the day we’d land our home away from home for the next 2+ months -- something safe, well lit, spacious and hopefully in the company of other locals or practicing yogis. Intention set for the day.
On our way to our usual breakfast joint, Pure Soul, we decided to take a quick detour and check out an apartment that we had spotted the day earlier. We went to the adjacent yoga ashram and asked the Canadian receptionist if she had any idea who the landlord was, and she pointed us to the ayurvedic health center around the corner saying they likely lived in that building and could help us out.
Gotta love that old school, pre-Craigslist apartment hunting style.
As fate would have, Dr. Harsh and his wife Arti runs this center and did in fact have one apartment open for us to check out! We walked in and instantly, I knew this was it. A cozy living room with comfy colorful looking arm chairs, a well lit kitchen with real counter space, a big bedroom with closet space, and not just one but TWO balconies overlooking the beautiful Himalayas. We would have to provide our own small fridge and figure out the wifi situation, but otherwise, it was just perfect.
We struck a pretty solid deal as far as rent, and decided paying a bit more at the cost of having doctors as landlords and living in the good company of local Indian families was totally worth it. We could move in as early as the next day and finally live out of real closets and not backpacks for some time, YESSSSSSSSS PLEASEEEEEE.
The rest of the day was for wandering and scoping out the scene for markets, banks, health product shops, and other spots for our basic living needs. We tried out different roads (Rishikesh is not that big – only 7km from one side to the next) and found ourselves on a main street that didn’t appeal to me much. An alley piled with garbage caught our eye as our favorite animals jumped around, yep you guessed it, monkeys. We got our National Geographic live fill in, just staring at their playful and peaceful ways. New monkey friends in Rishikesh? I think so.
We took out an orange from my backpack and Wylie went to throw the orange at the monkey perched right in front of us. Monkey friend put up his arms in perfect form, ready to make the catch just like a real human. It was amazing to watch him chew out the orange, removing bits of unwanted orange white flesh and seeds, making juicy chewing sounds with enjoyment in his eyes. After consuming his treat, he jumped down to the ground and made intense eye contact as he passed by us. Not sure what was about to happen, I just froze up but luckily he kept on walking doing his own thing. Wild animals are just that -- wild. Who knows what’s going on in those brains, but hopefully we’ll learn more about their ways, as we’ll soon be neighbors.
We walked about some more passing yogi stores everywhere packed with harem pants, sandalwood sticks, meditation books, singing bowls, and all other types of spiritual trinkets.
Later that day, I decided to check out Conscious Dance for Women, being hosted at a spot called Sattva Center for Yoga, right across the Laxman Jhula bridge. Rooted in the Five Rhythms practice of movement meditation, this was right up my alley and just what I needed after long laborious travelling and relentless bouts of having my stomach stripped down to nothing.
Sandra, who hails from Spain and spends 5 months out of the year in Rishikesh, opened up class explaining the practice followed by a meditation to ground all seven of us women in the space. I should mention the space too – windows peering into incredible views of the Ganga with candles sprinkled amongst various altars. We then spent the next two hours moving through the five rhythms with spontaneous bouts of howling, primal screams and ecstatic release. Limbs splayed in all directions, beats manifested in tribal stomps and shakes –an unexpected gathering of goddesses in a diverse movement of collective expression, union, healing and power.
As we descended back down into shavasana, bodies completely sunken into earth, I was reminded of the beauty of women coming together and grateful for having reclaimed some semblance of strength, though I have a long ways to go. All the anxieties of being in a new place and starting from a blank slate withered away in that moment of stillness and presence. Body has amazing intelligence.
This basically sums up how I feel…