December 2, No More Ghee

I went to bed feeling quite warm but this morning there was a chill in the air that had me put on an extra layer and some wool socks.  I’d heard through the grapevine that a scale could be found in the doctor’s office and this morning around 8AM I saw that the room was dark so I sneaked in for a peek.  I could see a piece of something made of plastic sticking out of the large wooden bookcase so I hooked my fingers around it to fish it out.  Within seconds I was standing on a thin, very modern digital scale that seemed to belong to a completely different world.  A world with HD televisions and wireless internet and fast food restaurants and coffee, definitely not here in the mountains of Kerala where the nearest town is 25 minutes away.  While that strangeness was processing in my brain the scale registered my weight and flashed the number at me.  “This is obviously broken,” is what I thought at first.  It read 41.9kg (~92lbs).  Granted, I consumed just 7 bowls of porridge in 7 days but to lose more than 2kgs in a week is too much!  No wonder I feel so weak.  I had to stop my yoga practice midway through this morning because I became dizzy.  I really should listen to my doctors here and not partake in any physical activities for another two days.

IMG_0033New guests arrived during my time of ghee induced confinement; three guys (German, Dutch, French) and a retired couple from New York who apparently split their time between my beloved city and Panama.  I haven’t met them yet but just where they are from.  I made friends yesterday morning with the two Australian women I’d seen a day or two ago, J and R, whom I like quite well.  Then again, I have yet to meet an Aussie I didn’t like.  R from Spain/France is next to me and has become my Spanish conversation partner.  This is her third time doing Panchakarma here so she’s an old pro at this thing (she told me she did 7 days of ghee two years ago!).  Next to her cottage are M and C, two Indian women from California and Frankfurt, respectively.  I don’t talk to them much but I think M is leaving tomorrow.  They’ve purchased some beautiful saris of brilliant colors that made my non-shopping brain fry itself for a brief moment.  Oh, there is another New Yorker, from Roosevelt Island to be exact.  She is very young, too thin to be healthy, and watching her walk makes me want to run over and hold her steady.  At first I thought perhaps she was a ballerina, with her rail thin figure and long blond hair, but I fear she might suffer from an illness as many other guests do here at AYV.  We say hello to each other but she mostly keeps to herself.  E from Holland, L-H from Norway, another Dutch woman S, whom I think has a beautiful spirit about her (with an equally gorgeous turquoise colored silk sari she recently bought), are the people I’ve gotten to know best so far but that’s not saying much.  Most of our conversations are about the treatments and where we are in the process.  All the other guests, there are plenty of them now that the facility is full, I have yet to meet or speak with.  Bijina, my therapist, told me today that there are 28 guests and I learned that 56 people work here.  That works out to 2 staff members for every guest but I feel like there are so many kind people who help me throughout the day.  I am very thankful.

Today is my second day of “nothing.”  I think the doctor actually used the word “nothing” when referring to these two days between taking ghee and Vamana, the first step in Panchakarma.  It is not really “nothing” since I get to eat, wait for it….  more porridge (I’m seriously happy about it, by the way) and have my treatment of oil massage and steam.  But no yoga, no kalari, nothing else.  It’s Sunday and that means a traditional South Indian thali meal was served at lunch but for me, it was more oatmeal.  I’m not complaining though, since I don’t think I really want any “real” food now.  I didn’t think I’d ever say that but it’s true.  I feel hungry enough to eat my porridge but my appetite just isn’t there.  Maybe next Sunday I’ll get to enjoy the thali meal.

IMG_0031

Rice porridge, not as delicious as a thali meal

For some reason I was thinking about Argentina last night and again this morning.  I was remembering back to a year ago when I was getting ready to travel to Patagonia for the unbelievable hiking trip and the anticipation that was building up then.  A bit of anxiety about the unknown, some doubt whether I could actually do it, nervousness towards doing a group tour…  This year, that feeling of anticipation and excitement is for another hiking trip I have in less than 4 weeks to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.  Maybe that’s why I saw my Patagonia hiking guide in my dream last night.  I know that she loves India as much as I do and would enjoy a hike in Cradle Mountain, too.  Sending you un abrazo grande y besos Carola!  I can’t believe I’m going from this to hiking in Tasmania in a month.  What a journey…

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