lost notes from Mysore.

There was a phrase, a thought cluster that repeated itself all over Mysore the last month: Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown.

*

The only thing to say with any certainty about the process of getting older is that you become more accustomed to your edges. That is, you see the repetition of things, of your actions, and deduce that perhaps it is not simply error but what is consistent in you. Consistency becomes persona when we perform similarly enough times to have a coherent sense of who we take ourselves to be. Though sometimes what is consistent in us turns us off: bad habits, resentment, insecurities. How to remedy the gap between that which we are: problematic matter, and that which we ‘ought’ to be: in control, bounded.

Coming to the concrete realisation of being the odd one out: it’s a lesson I’m still learning. But then we are always becoming odd and becoming normal as we travel across different spaces. We’re moving targets. Failed performances start to become instructive when we see failure not as reflective of innate characteristics of our personhood but as reflective of environments that hold us or reject us. India is a place where I feel both held and rejected. It’s a space for unravelling but that unravelling rarely happens at a rate you can control. The cost of unravelling might cause you to feel violated. And it’s hard to find space for flourishing amidst violence.

How to build a world that can hold us when in constant transit, a world not centred around four walls, a world with no centre at all. When in flux what can hold us? What is lasting? Is it the practice, is it pure repetition itself. Is it love without the attachment – is it love that remedies the gap when our loves manage to hold an image of us more complete than the image we can hold of ourselves?

Amma.

Sometimes days happen like this in Mysore. Friday I get stopped by a woman in the street. She’s lost her yoga mat. Can she borrow mine? Sure. She repays me later in breakfast and it turns out we live in the same house. We see a flyer about Amma’s visit to Mysore this weekend. My friend is going, says my newly discovered housemate, I can ask her to get us tickets? I am curious, I say. Next day, practice, then conference, then some more breakfast. We’re indecisive about going. We get told you have to be there by 8am or you haven’t a chance of getting a hug. It’s now creeping up to noon. We decide let’s just go and see. We rickshaw over to the Ashram, the driver likes my skull tattoo. On entering a beaming face wearing all white greets us. My housemate mentions her friend has got us a ticket. Somehow she knows. We get fast tracked past hundreds of people to the front of the stage, hanging out with the VIPs. We exchange a look of disbelief – and guilt – people have been waiting for hours. Amma is a few rows ahead, singing, I’m trying to take it all in. When we exchange our ticket for a hugging number, I get A5. The order goes alphabetically. Before I know it I’m led through eager pushing Indians and I’m buying fruits to gift to Amma. What language? Where are you from? ask two men as I prepare for my hug. I get moved along into Amma’s arms and she makes what sounds like a wailing noise in my ear before giving me a mini banana and Amma brand sweet. I get told to sit on the stage behind Amma and I look to the hundreds queuing and waiting. At some point a group of Bharatanatyam dancers take the stage and I get moved again to the other side and find myself in a special queue of people to give prashad to Amma. In the queue we get trained how to put the sweets into Amma’s hand. Be fast, not too firm, you have to stretch, watch her hand at all times. I’m still not at all sure what’s happening but as I get closer, I feel my heart pounding. As I have my 4-5 goes at putting sweets in Amma’s hand I get a closer look at the hugs in action. So many people telling their stories. And women, Indian women clearly overwhelmed and overjoyed to encounter their inspiration. Women hugging women. And men, all the men too wanting a touch of this woman. And in this politics of late: of wrong female flesh, of male gazes, of violence and repression, the idea of Amma started to make some sense to me. Here was a safe space at a time when a safe space feels hard to find. After my prashad honour was over, I wandered the ashram grounds. Another kindly face dressed in white asks me if I have a ticket, oh they took it already I tell her. You have already met Amma! And you have had time to sit on the stage? Yes I gave prashad also. Wow! she exclaims, it is usually only us tour group who do that. Yes I say I don’t know how it all happened. “It is Amma’s grace,” she tells me. I smiled curious as to why Amma would wish to favour me. The skeptic in me had been trying to resist but I had to admit there was a very haphazard quality to the past two days. Whether there’s something more meaningful to the whole series of events, I still don’t know. When I left five hours later the queue had only got to L.

homework.

There’s been something funny in the air in Mysore this time round. I’d thought it was just me, but after conference today I got a sense this was something collective.

Though its not as though I can really compare. This is my second visit to Mysore. The last time I came was three years ago. It is more a sense that people seem to believe there’s something markedly different about practicing in the shala now. Nostalgic attachments to the way things were are nothing new. Even I who was blissfully naive to the Ashtanga world on my first trip – I had no idea what Kino McGregor was – was never too far from a complaint on the changing atmosphere of practicing in Mysore.

And now Sharath is reflecting these themes back to us. After all he has the best vantage point of us all. That’s why he’s sat talking about the ones who just ‘pass through’, the ones who want the photo moment and the instagrammed asana (Sleepless I searched #kpjayi on instagram last night, it was a waking nightmare).

If last weeks conference didn’t make us cringe enough when the first hand to go up asks how he gets authorised; this week a question – that seemed to come from a place of genuine confusion – asked should we still come here if we don’t want to become teachers, i.e. leaving space for those on the authorisation ladder. When Sharath just looked and said ‘I don’t know what you are talking about’, didn’t we all feel small then realising it was just our own stuff after all. That we have to all take responsibility for our own elbows when we’re at the gates before led practice. That we are creating this, not Sharath or anyone else. And that this is a collective responsibility. There’s no point abdicating responsibility elsewhere.

Personally it’s my instinct when people get aggressive to retreat, so much so I got told off by my fellow 6.30 waiting group, who literally pushed me into the shala the other morning, “You’re always so slow!”. What’s the the happy medium on the passive/aggressive scale??

I suppose that here (this is a presumption from my own limited means of tuning into the collective energy) there’s lots of people who are wanting to be seen, by Sharath, to be validated, recognised, authorised. It’s not that I don’t get the desire to be seen by one’s teacher but Mysore for me is a place to come to disappear. In the shala I’m a zero. This lesson disturbs me as much as anyone else. It shows itself up in a fat complex, repulsive skin rashes, compulsive shopping, blocked sinuses.

On the conscious level I’ve been spending a lot of time asking myself the reason why I wanted to come here. I’ve been getting caught up in the idea that I needed a purpose to be here other than the practice. After all in order to get here I had to sell Mysore to my PhD supervisors: I’ll have so much time to write! Think how productive I will be! And persuade an unconvinced Director of Post Grad studies in my faculty: “This is what we’ll call an informal arrangement”. I had to move out of my rented room and become homeless again. I put my belongings into an airing cupboard and said goodbyes to friends, lover, cat. Sometimes the act of leaving becomes such a big deal you feel you need to return with something to show for it. But what can I tell people but to say actually Mysore is an incubator for madness. It’s not going to make me productive in any productive sense. I might evolve but only sideways. I won’t get a shiny teaching certificate, or ‘find myself’. I won’t be instagramming asana porn from a beach, I probably won’t be getting any new postures and might just be plodding through primary for the duration. I will get lots of itchy insect bites though and inconvenient tanlines. I’ll return with dodgy intestines and dirty feet, sunburnt nose and clothes destroyed from bucket washing.

It’s hard to explain why the practice is an end in itself. Because its not something that can be explained in language, only direct experience. It too can feel hard to keep concentrating on that even here where desires are strong and confused and often ambivalent. Where we’re all a bit confused about where we stand in relation to one another, to Sharath, to the practice, to the lineage, to India. Because you can come to Mysore and not change at all. You can surf on the bubble and never get taken over by it all. You can come and get what you want and a vegan pancake and pass on through.

*

Before I read the Yoga Sutras I was reading Sociology. It was Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault and Gayatri Spivak that taught me that ‘I’ was only a composite of networks of power, dispositions and that before I could speak I had to unlearn my privilege as loss.

In my brief forays into the Ashtanga/yoga blogosphere, in between the lines I read a lot concerning positionality; confusion and criticism about unexamined western romanticism and privilege. There’s plenty of violence to be done, and is done, and that’s evident in the trivial: from not covering our female flesh in India and Om tattoos, to cultural appropriation and ignorance. We are all ignorant so long as we’re trying to speak in a language we haven’t taken the time to learn.

And then last night I was reminded how violence is universal, and that although in one schema I may hold privilege, in another I’m just a body upon which violence (specifically gendered) can be enacted.

I was walking home, it was 9pm and I was mere moments away from where I live in Gokulam. Before I understood what was happening a hand grabbed my breast. The sensation was so unexpected I gasped. A strange noise passed my lips as I looked up to see a young boy on a bicycle peddling away muttering something.

I am certainly not naive to the gross gender inequalities that exist in India. Nor am I naive of its complex and perplexing views on sexuality and masculinity. Further still I am highly aware as a (white) woman in India objectification happens on a daily basis. I’ve been grabbed in all the usual places, followed by groups of men, harassed by rickshaw drivers, touched inappropriately by a security guard, mistaken for a prostitute. And if I need to clarify: I’m always covered from neck to ankle in India (I wasn’t asking for it).

Yet there was something about the mundanity of last nights encounter that it took everything to carry the sadness round the corner to my house so I could just get behind a door and sink. Such invasion of space and one’s body is never acceptable but I felt I was pretty wise to it, be sensible, cover yourself, that’s just how things are. Perhaps it was the youth of my perpetrator, perhaps because I was so close to home, perhaps because I’d spent too long looking at Gokulam with a rose-tint it came and grabbed me back to reality.

In between the tears I wondered how to account for the situation, with violence going both sides, where education is lacking and ignorance is growing. A situation where even when you cover those shoulders you’re still on object. How did I become an object? And what are ‘they’ (male, other, Indian) to me? How can we get to a situation where we can see each other clearly?

*

Being a student of Ashtanga in Mysore is a practice as good as any for a bodily understanding of what it means to unlearn your privilege as loss. Being here is where you do your homework.

I will have in an undergraduate class, let’s say, a young, white, male student, politically-correct, who will say: “I am only a bourgeois white male, I can’t speak.” In that situation – it’s peculiar, because I am in the position of power and their teacher and, on the other hand, I am not a bourgeois white male – I say to them: “Why not develop a certain degree of rage against the history that has written such an abject script for you that you are silenced?” Then you begin to investigate what it is that silences you, rather than take this very deterministic position – since my skin colour is this, since my sex is this, I cannot speak. I call these things, as you know, somewhat derisively, chromatism: basing everything on skin colour – “I am white, I can’t speak” – and genitalism: depending on what genitals you have, you can or cannot speak in certain situations.
From this position, then, I say you will of course not speak in the same way about the Third World material, but if you make it your task not only to learn what is going on there through language, through specific programmes of study, but also at the same time through a historical critique of your position as the investigating person, then you will see that you have earned the right to criticize, and you will be heard. When you take the position of not doing your homework – “I will not criticize because of my accident of birth, the historical accident” – that is a much more pernicious position.
In one way you take a risk to criticize, of criticizing something which is Other – something which you used to dominate. I say that you have to take a certain risk: to say “I won’t criticize” is salving your conscience, and allowing you not to do any homework. On the other hand, if you criticize having earned the right to do so, then you are indeed taking a risk and you will probably be made welcome, and can hope to be judged with respect.

Gayatri Spivak (1990) The Postcolonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. Routledge: London, p62-3.

the end of the world.

I’d forgotten about the smells. Every inhalation is an intoxicant. Returning to Mysore is a trip.

I arrived on the tail end of weeks of sleeplessness and living in freezing temperatures without heat and water. Disregarding rest I walked across the town back and forth high as a kite. I kept seeing faces distort. I swear I was hallucinating.

Being here is like a dream. I feel as though I’ve gone back in time. Or that I’ve always been here wandering these dust roads and the past three years never happened.

On the last leg from the dark grotty streets of downtown Bangalore to the contrastingly quaint morning glow of Mysore, we made a quick chai stop. That first cup of chai, injected into my sleepy stupor, was blissful beyond words. A kid nearby kept staring at the odd lonely pasty woman and I stared back at him, stoned on just everything.

Entering the bubble, I have already made contact with the politics and the scene. It amuses me to think how much this turned me off, how much it disappointed me, all those three years ago. I have been to register two times now only to be told “You come tomorrow”, “You come tomorrow”. People wait from 1pm for 3pm registration now. Things have sped up in my absence. Okay tomorrow, tomorrow. I turn away with a smile.

Mysore is evolving. It’s bigger, better and shinier. This is how it should be. Mysore is evolving the way its people are evolving. Where it’s headed, no-one can tell. Time collapses in on itself here.

I ponder sometimes whether Mysore is only a world created inside my head, complete and perfect in its myriad imperfections. Bodies travel space and time to this place where everything moves in circles. Time and space and bodies folding endlessly. Daily existence is first and foremost sensory. That’s why the memories last longer, and the love happens easier.

 

Under the Skin.

It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. – Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus.

Sometimes yoga talk throws around bad science. I’m not a scientist so I find this amusing. People might start a practice wanting to transcend these fleshy casings we call bodies: lose weight, get fit, heal injuries, ease the pain. But the daily practice soon gets wearing when it confronts you with your too fat, too stiff, too old body over and over again. It hurts. Focussing too much on alignment, talking about anatomy, and god forbid, using props, this is all just distractions, laziness. We’re turning our bodies inside out to uncover the subtle body – to become a body-without-organs. How can we become enlightened when that block is cushioning our fall, or if we can’t mentally overcome our back pain.

But it makes sense: get the body out the way and you can concentrate on ‘things that matter’. I was laughing with a friend the other day over our relative poverty. “I can’t keep my concentration”, he said, “I’m concerned about money all the time. I can’t pay attention.”

Yoga talk also gets it confused when it starts talking about sacrifice. The practice should be a matter of desire, not cultivating indifference. We can loosen those attachments and still desire. There’s no good and bad morals here. This is about being vigilant: it’s about developing an ethical practice.

The practice is wearing because there’s no remedy for all the stuff that gets under the skin. We just get hyper aware of how the outside gets in. Sometimes this starts as a fixation on food, or keeping a strict sleep cycle; distancing the self from ‘bad’ toxins: late nights out, casual sex, pollution, noise.

Mastery over the body can be a helpful illusion, but denial is just as toxic. I can’t help but bristle at talk of human nature, instinct, biological urges (this is what Foucault did to me). And yet I find myself invested in agreeing upon some type of biological consistency that makes us identifiably human. But this has little to do with things we often attribute to human nature: power, greed, selfishness. These are just relics from too many Sunday school lessons. This is the type of stuff we should be aiming to relinquish in all our backbending: the learnt ideas of the people we think we should be.

I’m captivated by the process of losing, though it took me some time to figure out why. It’s a question of rupture, what it means to experience disruption. But more so it is about what is in the nature of being that it is possible to rupture. In the daily Ashtanga practice the body can feel so very translucent, so very precariously thin. It can feel like a slow dissipating, dissolving.

I’m captivated too by the process of loving, though it took me some time to figure out I was speaking about the same thing. It’s a question of wanting to become different; about violating your attachment to intentionality without being anti-intentional. That’s why yoga is such a good model for love and vice versa. (I can see the book cover now: ‘Why Yoga Can Make Us Better Lovers’).

Desires always have an object as a stand-in, whether a person, pair of shoes, or a political ideal. That doesn’t make them bad or wrong, it’s just that the object can never return on the intention. That’s how desire works. Some theorists talk about desire as an affect that exists independently (prior to and outside) of consciousness and the mind’s control. It’s an intensity between bodies in which we get caught up. This is an exchange of energy, not words. You only have to enter the atmosphere of a full mysore self-practice Ashtanga room to feel this for yourself. That’s what feeds all the bodies in Mysore, and why people return with a serious consciousness lag.

Affect doesn’t owe you anything and desire has misguided intentions. This is the price of entering into relationality, the space of unknowingness. Unknowingness is necessary if we want to utilise our capacity to affect and be affected. This is where loss and love come in. It’s an opportunity to be affected, to come undone. If this is a sketching of a theory, it’s a theory that states: I don’t know.

Somewhere too far down this line though we start to lose the body. The opening up that happens through practice or a external rupture makes the body suggestible. The self performs, imitates, repeats itself. This might manifest in myriad ways: self-destructive behaviours, hoarding, militant monitoring. Injecting incoherence, ambivalence, resistance into the subject, welcomes liminality. And yet it’s only by unravelling you might catch a glimpse at what it is that holds you together. Or to take a Deleuzian line: how do we hang together when we are multiple?

I don’t see the point in dispensing with the body, with the flesh. Nor attachments. They are both messy and inconsistent. I rather like that. Even if the not knowing, the insecurity of the attachment can feel unbearable. Its only by situating ourselves in a space of unknowingness can we experience desire in a way that escapes the banal, commercial, crass or conventional. These common objects make viable our desiring that somehow circumvents our desires by emptying them out of substance and returning them to us in a safer form. This is not about being against the superficial, but perhaps it is about making better choices.

Its not about getting to the truth either. Or uncovering ‘real’ desires. Its just to point out that the root of that something, that something that whether you want to call it human nature, or affect, or love, or enlightened consciousness, might not be found somewhere deep and obscure. You might not have to wander distant lands, or practice six series of Ashtanga, or live like a nun, or read all the texts on neurobiology you can find in the University library to find it. It might just be lying softly there, right under the skin.

This is the little I know.

I’ve just been trying to tell you this.

I.

Two years ago I was preoccupied with the idea of finding my home, with finding my people. Two years ago I started this blog, two years ago I fled the grey skies for the heat of India. I thought I was going to figure it all out. I wanted everything. I had nothing.

II.

Sometimes I forget I am 28 because I still feel like the lost child waiting for her mother to come home. It’s a funny life when the worst has already happened by age 15. When everyone is so desperate to grow up, you’ve already grown. And when everyone else finally grows you’ve grown even further. You’re out on the periphery, impatient, always waiting for everyone to catch up. And even when you know they’re not coming, you’re still waiting.

III.

But I still don’t feel angry. I don’t know why.

IV.

I thought for a little while that maybe I could become normal. I thought I could shake off all the dust of the past and pass as normal. Turns out my performance wasn’t as convincing as I thought. When you don’t try to be crazy – when you actually labour to tuck those frayed edges out of view – you don’t see it, you don’t get it when people drag you back out to the peripheries. They just don’t know how lonely it is out here on the outskirts. I was just looking for someone to join me. Affect alien.

V.

I’m not anybody’s type. To be a type means performing a relation to some form of normativity; it’s just an act of becoming something else (not yourself). I’d rather not see humanity in types but in colour; I’d rather keep undoing my attachments; I’d rather let go of expectations.

VI.

I never keep enough of myself to really know who I am. You would never guess it but I give it away all the time. I give myself over to an idea, to an artwork, to literature, to a yoga practice, and sometimes in my foolish moments, to a person. I don’t really do relationships, and this is why. (or getting laid – I don’t actually do that). The yoga sutras tell me to lose my selfish, personal desires that attach me to things I don’t need. And so I got rid of the clutter out of my life, the things, material objects, bad attachments and desires to people (most of them). When you don’t have anything you have your self always, the sutras write. The stuff is just a fog that hides us from coming face to face with the only real possession we can claim. At 21, when I was alone travelling the world I wrote in my diary: ‘Even when you have lost everything you have not lost yourself’. But what is this self we don’t lose? I can’t see it, sometimes I can feel it. But most of the time it doesn’t feel like very much at all.

VII.

People are afraid to merge. Every time I drop back into a backbend it feels like my heart is breaking. And even though I can’t pick myself up again, I keep doing it over and over again. Giving yourself over to another is a bad idea, or so I’m told.

VIII.

Aren’t all the connections we make always in some way misaligned? Aren’t we always making contradictory demands of each other; aren’t we always investing in fantasies that always exist beyond what an other can provide? Isn’t the act of truly communicating always so troublesome for we never really speak in our own words but in frames already provided that limit our desires into codes and norms. If love is a moment when we admit to wanting to become different then no wonder it falls apart because we never found the capacity to break outside of the normative fantasies of love, and sex, and friendship. If only we could pause and start to see each other clearly.

IX.

What does it mean this desire to be known? The exchange of stories that seek only similarity is just noise. And sure noise can help drown out the loneliness momentarily, if that’s what you need. The writings here have sought to note all the things I have lost and gained. I was writing in order to hold myself together. I’m trying to the tie up the ends here, but perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong. Writing is always a performance of stuckness, it is an unraveling not a putting together. Sometimes I wonder what comes first, the event or my writing of it? My writing of all the affective surges of living, from sadness, joy, boredom and of course love, are only poor sketches, and the people that embody the words, who may or may not know how deeply they are woven into the words here, are mere shadows in my mind. A writer is only as good as the friends who allow her to become.

X.

Sometimes people express surprise at my honesty on this blog or how I have used my own life in my academic work. And true something about personal disclosure/exposure is sort of vile. And often it has been a result of naivety or youthful clumsiness and I’ve had to edit myself out later. But it would be more vile if it were the truth. It’s not the truth. That’s not to say I’m a pathological liar and I’ve made everything up. Events happened to me and I observed and experienced them. The rest is just stories. I can make a hundred different stories, each one being true in their own way. But it doesn’t mean that if I tell a story it holds the truth of me. Just because something happened to me doesn’t mean I can understand you. There are a million stories you and I will never tell.

what I wish I could say.

If I can fit the pieces of this self together at all, I don’t want them to be the way they were. Not because I thought I could be better defended either: what I wanted was to be realer. – Eve Sedgwick, ‘A dialogue on love.’

I’ve found it hard to get outside the door recently.

So I’ve been spending days in bed, morning practice, then reading – intermittent – staring at the clouds, idea-having. My supervisor tells me: ‘Because what you are going to do is make a significant contribution to theory’. Curled in sheets scattered in croissant crumbs it feels unlikely. Is this how all masterpieces were born? In solitude – emotional insulation – slacking off the formal university occasions. Am I a philosopher now? Wow, thanks. Surely I wasn’t trying.

But I have been watching lots of programmes about hoarders. Now hoarders understand, that need to hide oneself away, literally with objects, a house so full there is no space to move, to breathe. Its almost a regression back to the womb, a safe place, a clear barrier between the self and the troubling world out there. What is interesting is how loss lies at the centre of many hoarding stories. ‘Well it started just after he died…’ When we lose space opens up. And what do we fill it with? The habit is chosen seemingly arbitrarily, by circumstance or chance. To hoard is perhaps the act of filling space at its most literal expression; and yet the aim is the same; to bury oneself alive, to no longer be. The over-eater, the bulimic, the addict, the alcoholic, often seen as the ailments of the greedy, but is it not rather a matter of feeling unbearably empty. It’s not greed when you never manage to fill that space.

“I was looking for something to fill that void inside”, sometimes this statement is said in regards to a yoga practice. Nothing else worked, so says Russell Brand. Oh and he tried. And don’t we all want to return to the womb, to reach that point of non-existence, to momentarily shed the tiring fact of being. This is not to ‘be in the moment’ as the adopted mantra goes. It is more an awareness without thought. After all it’s not a coincidence that it is only in the yoga practice room where I don’t feel the anxiety.

But it’s hard, hard to remember that some people don’t have death as the centre of the way they live – but nor do they have life – they just have fear of both. Fear is it own fortress. And yeah yoga helps. But you won’t find any anecdotes here. Though here’s a funny story. I represent a pretty successful recovery story. Parents dead by age 15 and an eating disorder for a good 7-8 years or so. Ask me how I recovered, and I have no idea.

Thinking in spaces makes more sense. Both in the way spaces close up and empty out depending on the people we have in our life and who we lose. When the space gets too large, feels irreplaceable, we might take up strategies to fill up that space, and those strategies might create their own problems, like burying ourselves alive, or destroying our insides. But sometimes that same space is comforting, its a cushioning, we can reclaim it as our own. And then there’s the people we allow into our spaces. I recall the comment of a customer I once served, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with”. I spent many years of my life closing off my spaces. And the people that occupied my space were critical and negative, “You need to open up more”, “Why are you wasting time going to India”. This helps no one. If I was to attempt any form of recovery story it is this; move out of the spaces that don’t serve you. This happens both through simply picking up and leaving, as well as opening up the spaces for newness to enter in. For me this resulted in meeting people who supported me for who I was. And yeah yoga, that stuff helps. Especially with opening the heart chakra.

I have a wise friend (he is younger than me but ah well) who used to tell me I hadn’t yet come to the realisation of being the odd one out. “Only then will you be free” he advised. But I have! I am free! I would cry. But I still spent so much time being disappointed, carrying expectations of the world, of people. I thought the only way out was to somehow transform, to let go of everything; and then there was the pressure to figure it out, and quick. But somewhere along the line, say a couple months into my stay in India, I started to lose my fear. It coincided no doubt with the time I fell ill. And no this sure as hell wasn’t any spiritual awakening. It was more a moment where I stared at the ceiling and the fan spinning above my head and thought “I feel like I’m going to die. No-one is coming to save me. And I don’t care”.

Sometimes the boundaries of the self, life and death blur so much you get a sense that living as the odd one out is really not a big deal because, and this is my deep realisation, we are all human and we all die, and who cares about the rest of the stuff, like the chase to ‘be’ someone, or going up the career ladder, or getting a mortgage. Running away is not running away, it’s the search for better ways to live. It’s creating a life for yourself where you can experience all you want to experience. It might mean being a little crazy. And as for the things that do matter, well they lie in the moments you encounter along the way, they are the people you love, and they are all the things I wish I could say.

—————————————————————————————————

sort of inspired by Rashmi Munkempanna’s work: What I Wish I could Say. And she is based in Mysore.