Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 07 17. Friday.

2009 07 17. Friday.

This morning I don't hear any Archana chanting going on so I figure they're showing another Devi Bhava videocast. So I do the 108 Names in my room and go down for chai shortly before 6am. I wait till about 6:10 and still no sign of chai. Hmmm. Strange. I've never seen chai come late. Up on the stage in the big hall the guys are chanting Archana so I go there and wait a little longer. 6:20 and still no sign of chai. On the screen they're showing the closed drapes of Amma's stage room where She changes clothes for Devi Bhava. I've got some things I wanted to do this morning so I'm getting a little frustrated. At 6:25 I think "Well screw this. I'll get my own chai." Then it hits me that that is a horrible thought. I mentally make a quick apology to Amma. My mind can go to some real crappy places sometimes. Yuch! I gotta watch it carefully. I went to one of the little shops next to the ashram and got my chai.

At breakfast I saw the iPhone guy and returned it. I was in a better mood so we had a good laugh about the whole thing. Turns out he remembered about the alarms as he was going to bed. He didn't know my room number so he couldn't come to tell me. He said he felt bad about that. That, of course made me feel much better. He said he actually needed to get up at 3:30am to go to a special 4am puja that he had paid for. He woke up at around midnight thinking it was around 3:30am. He got dressed and tried to get to the puja but the doors are all locked until about 4am, so he figured he was up way to early. Then he slept late and didn't get to his puja till about 4:30. He said he pretty much stayed awake the whole night worrying about the alarm waking me up and being late for his puja. By this time I was feeling much much better and actually starting to feel a little sorry for the guy (just a little; it passed quickly). I asked if he had a watch or something else and he said the only gadget he had was his iPhone, no watch or anything else. Unlike me; I've got about a dozen different gadgets with me, half of those have some kind of alarm function.

A few days ago Mukhunda requested I join him on a trip to AIMS (the big Amma hospital located in Kochin about a 3 hour ride north of the ashram). Mukhunda was going on some special pilgrimage for a few days and he wanted me to see one of the AIMS metal shop people to get something built (I had made a drawing for a custom cart for the compost area). So after the compost pile work today I had to rush back to my room to take a very quick shower, pack and get on the bus. About 9 other junior brahmacharis were traveling with Mukhunda. They started the bus trip with a strong recitation of Amma's 108 Names but it petered out about half way thru so I just finished reciting it quietly to myself. The Indians spent the rest of the ride just chatting and laughing in Malayalam and I just enjoyed being in my own space. I was the only westerner on the bus. The ride quickly got kind of boring so I just tried to keep chanting my mantra while watching the monotonous Indian scenes go by. In Kerela one place looks pretty much like any other; green fields interspersed with mostly run down trashy shops and houses (kind of depressing). Here and there are a few clean shiny shops selling new cars or fancy furniture. The ride was the usual: lots of bouncy roads with lots of potholes, constant blaring of horns and the usual game of chicken with oncoming traffic when passing a slower vehicle. Its the monsoon season so it was nonstop rain all the way up. It got chilly and I put on an extra t-shirt.

We finally got the AIMS around 9:30pm (past my usual bedtime) and I met the metal shop guy and some other old Indian geezer who apparently made all kinds of off-color comments cause Mukhunda and the other person there seemed embarrassed by him. The old geezer was asleep when we came into the room and I felt sorry to wake the old guy up. But apparently he's a good metal worker. I wanted to explain the particular features of my drawing but they said just give him the drawing and he'll do the rest. I shrugged and gave it to him. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the cart comes back a lot different and a lot less useful than what I designed. Oh, well. Sometimes I've experienced the Indian aversion to having things explained carefully. Then Mukhunda took me to the canteen and got me a meal (onion dosha with sambar and a cup of sweet lime juice. Mmmm!). Then he abruptly left and I was totally on my own. I shrugged again and found my way back to the dorm rooms. The mattress was thin and on a hard surface, but somehow I slept comfortable through the night. Definitely a small miracle. Usually I find it impossible to sleep on any kind of hard surface. Amma's grace!

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