I’m sure I’m jet lagged, even though I slept very well last
night and feel on top of things today. Unfortunately, Dion is not here to look
at me kindly and announce, “You are completely out of it.”
So here’s a story from yesterday. As is usual when I visit
Mysore, my first stop was Shiva’s house. Shiva exchanges money and rents
scooters and arranges lodging for students. He has a long beard, two prized
pugs, and he feeds the street dogs in his neighborhood every day.
I show up at his place just as he is finishing cleaning his
car. I ask if I can exchange some dollars.
“Yes,” he says. “Five minutes.”
Then he says something to one of the men who works for him.
That fellow opens the gate to Shiva’s house and gestures for me to come in and
sit in the rolling office chair that is just outside the front door.
I take my seat and look up into the trees across the street.
There is a lovely breeze and the birds are singing. After a few minutes, two
women approach the house. They spot Shiva and ask him something. He tells them,
“Ten minutes.” They are not ushered into the yard, so stand out in the street.
Maggie, the female pug, gets up and shuffles about for a
moment, then turns and vomits a little orange puddle. Then she toddles away.
The man who works for Shiva spots the vomit. He disappears, then reappears with
a few sheets of newsprint, which he uses to wipe up the puddle. He goes away
with the papers, then comes back with a container of water. He dips his hand in
and then wipes Maggie’s face. He goes over to the fence and selects a rag from
the half dozen rags hanging there. He wipes her face with the rag, then
explains to Shiva, who has finished cleaning his car and is entering the yard,
what has happened.
Maggie wanders over and sits, leaning against my leg. I
stroke her head and look into her huge, perfectly round, shiny black eyes. She has the flattest pug
face I have ever seen.
‘Too much heat, that
is why she is ill,” Shiva says. I nod.
“You are in no hurry?” he asks.
“No,” I say. He goes into the house.
The only other agenda item I have for the day is registering at the
Shala, and that’s not possible for another four hours. Meanwhile I can sit here
Shiva comes out of the house with a fan, which he places on
the ground facing the little penned-in area he has for Maggie and her son. He
goes back into the house, returning with a bowl of water for each dog. He calls
for Maggie to come get in the pen, but she ignores him. He comes over and
nudges her until she gets up and scurries over.
He goes back into the house.
The two women who were told “ten minutes” come through the
gate. One of them leans into the house and calls Shiva. He comes to the door
and she asks him if they can get the scooter he’s renting them.
“Thirty minutes,” he says.
She protests that he said ten, and that it’s been more than ten. They
are in a hurry, she says. Now he’s saying thirty minutes??
“One hour,” he says.
The woman and her friend are pretty riled up. They need it
now. They start telling Shiva the other things they have to do. Shiva is having
none of it.
“It cannot happen if there is hurry,” he says.
They continue to argue.
“It cannot happen if there is hurry.”
They protest, but he is adamant. Eventually they say that
they will do their errands and return in several hours.
“Come in,” Shiva says, gesturing for me to follow him into
“It actually cannot happen if there is hurry, Shiva – or
you do not want to do it if there is hurry?” I ask.
“I do not want to do,” he said. Then he explains his
rationale – I can’t understand everything he is saying, but it’s clear that he
thinks hurrying is ridiculous and that it causes unnecessary errors and
Lesson 1 of trip 5: “It cannot happen if there is hurry.” I
thought of those words during practice this morning. I can see lots of practical