How not to reintegrate into the “real world” after months of doing nothing but yoga in Mysore:
– Don’t do any yoga. At all.
– Don’t even talk to people who do yoga. Only associate with those who have never done yoga/scorn yoga and its principles.
– Recognise you do not have the faintest clue what people are talking about 99% of the time.
– Stare at the TV for at least a week in pure fascination.
– Eat everything you’ve been pining for the past 5 months within the first few days of landing.
– Five weeks after flying out of Indira Gandhi still experience ‘Delhi Belly’.
– Agree to go shopping at Asda and find yourself spellbound by the aisles of ham in plastic and trolleys full of Asda own brand products in their putrid green and white packaging.
– Begin orientating your life around what time the Jeremy Kyle Show is on. (this includes the repeats on ITV2 and ITV2+1).
– Actually experience real excitement at the prospect of Saturday night TV (The Voice and Take Me Out).
– Keep trying to correct people: ‘I wasn’t at a yoga retreat…’
– Get annoyed at people’s lack of knowledge of India: ‘Erm no Indians don’t have afro hair’, ‘Oh yeah that’s right, because they all wear turbans don’t they?’, ‘Umm…’
– Fill in job applications.
– Go for interviews and act really charming so that they give you a job.
– Accept a job.
– Realise your days of doing nothing are over and the time to re-enter the conventions of what us humans in the capitalist world describe as an acceptable life has finally arrived.
– Feel bewildered by the onslaught of information and introduction of responsibilities and obligations.
– Wonder why the hell anyone hired you.
– Start thinking about escape again.
– Forget all the things you learnt in Mysore.
– Allow the confusion to once again descend, forming the familiar fuzziness in your mind.
– Get worried about the future.
– Lie up at night in panic wondering what the hell is going on.
And so as a new routine establishes itself, the self is in limbo – a quandary of expectations, of shelved dreams, of familiar frustrations, of attitudes that haven’t changed, of new dreams, and hopeful resolutions.
No-one ever told you it would be like this.
And rightly so, for there is something inexplicable about the experience – perhaps I am seeming too grandiose – but there is a story which can never be told, a part of the self that can no longer relate to its environment; a part of the self that is still sitting in that shala listening to Sharath; a part of the self that still walks to the shala at 3am everyday; a part of the self that is sat outside the shala and feeling for the first time at home. Oh of course nostalgia plays tricks on the mind and it all seems so quaint from a distance. And it feels so small and insignificant in amongst the greyness, and paying bills, and learning how to sell expensive yoga clothing. But its there. And the practice is there. And it all comes back to life through the practice.
All I know is this: It’s time I got back on that mat.