Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Day Trip

A couple Thursdays ago, I woke up and my vagina was bleeding. Since I am very advanced, I don’t practice yoga when I first start menstruating, not even in Mysore. The day before I had maxed out on lying around, masturbating on the internet and eating very strange ice cream. So I decided it was time to take a little Day Trip.

According to Google, there was an interesting little town called Srirangapathna that I could visit in less than a day. I wandered down to the shala to see if anyone wanted to come. People seemed busy looking for tiger balm to rub into their hamstrings and buying curd for their morning granola. On practice days in Mysore, the quest for tiger balm can be more than enough excitement for one day. People applauded my ambitious plan to catch a bus in Mysore city, but no one was feeling my sense of adventure.

Oh well, I figured it could be sort of fun to hit it up on my own. I went to the main road to see if I could find a rickshaw driver who could drive me to the bus station. One seemed particularly delighted to see me.

“Where you going?” he asked. His name was Sri Brahmanam or something spiritual like this.

“I’m a guide. We go to Big Century, Temple, Museum. 500 rupees. Good deal. Good guide.” I didn’t know what Big Century was, but, what the hell. It sounded like a pretty good deal. In Halifax, 500 rupees can’t even get you from one end of the city to the other.

Mysore rickshaw. I thought rickshaws in India were guys pulling and I swore I would never take one. They have rickshaws like this in Halifax. In Mysore, rickshaws are kind of like sturdy black and yellow golf carts.
From the horror stories I’ve heard about driving in India, I’d imagined that getting on the road would mean chronic fear for my life and spinal cord as I scarcely survived one head on collision after another. The reality is much less terrifying. I like riding rickshaws. The wind cools me off and I can look at things without worrying about my horrible sense of direction and driving skills. On the way to Sri Rangapathna, we passed many fields where people work all day in the hot sun. I asked my rickshaw driver what they were growing in the fields.

“Good guide,” he answered. “First we go to Big Century.” And he pulled into the Rangantitthu Bird Sanctuary. Although most of the birds were far away on an island in the middle of the river, it was refreshing to be out of the city. We walked along the path by the river. After about 300 metres, my rickshaw driver seemed tired.

View from Lookout at Big Century
 “Tired,” he said. “No breakfast.” I told him to rest on the bench while I explored. I climbed up and down a couple of lookouts and could sort of see birds. All I could tell is that they were white. Further along the path, a young man was painting an iron fence yellow.

“You need guide, Miss?” he asked.

“My guide’s resting,” I said.

“Come with me,” he said. He motioned for me to go under the fence. Probably this was a terrible idea. But I figured he worked there, so that was somewhat legit. Also, I felt like I hadn’t seen 300 rupees worth of birds. Maybe this guy would show me something interesting. I went under a part of a fence that wasn’t covered with fresh yellow paint. Yellow Paint Man grabbed my hand and led me down a wooded path. I let go, however, my hand still got covered in bright yellow paint. Yellow Paint Man continued to reach for me on the steeper parts of the path.
Yellow Paint Man's Hands, with red flower
“I’m okay,” I said. We came to a clearing.

“Marriage?” he asked me. The Boatman and I have never been married or engaged, except for Indian purposes.

“Yes, I’m married,” I said emphatically.
“Beautiful,” he said. “Photo?” He took out his phone
“No no.” He showed me a red flower, and a bush with fuzzy red sumac like plants on them. Yellow Paint Man mushed the fuzzy part until a red paste formed between his fingers. He pointed his red and yellow index finger towards my forehead.
Sumac Type tree. I am not excellent with plants. Anybody know the tree?
“Bindi?” he said. Bindi are red dots you see Indian women wear on their forehead in line with their ajna third eye chakra. Marriage is one of the reasons women wear bindis and to protect you and your husband.  It is also good for cultivating your third eye chakra wisdom. I love chakras, and suddenly the Boatman and I were married. Even so, I did not want a bindi, especially not one mixed with yellow paint.
“Oh, no thank you,” I said. We continued into the woods. Here Yellow Paint Man reached for my butt and tiny boobs once or twice. 
“No touching!” I said once I was positive his caresses were not accidental.
“Oh, okay mam. Sorry mam.” Well, I guess I had been confusing about my marital status since I had refused the Bindi.  Now we were at a river bank. He motioned towards a bed of dried grass reeds in front of a bunch of bamboo trees. “Lovers, mam,” he said.
“My lover is in Canada,” I reminded him. On the way back, we made one more stop at a grove of bamboo shoots.

“Lovers,” Yellow Paint Man said again, showing me where couples had carved their initials. I did not ask for Yellow Paint Man’s initials, nor did I write Exuberant Bodhisattva + The Boatman inside a heart. Finally we were back at the yellow fence. I climbed under and said good-bye.

Probably the whole ordeal took about twenty minutes.

“You losted! You losted!” my rickshaw cried out when I found him.

“I’m fine.”

“Where were you? You’re my response. 500 rupees there and back to Gokulam. You’re my response.*”
I suggested we sit down the steps leading up to a gazebo.

“No breakfast. Not resting. Worried. You’re my response.” He let out a big sigh. Then he put two fingers in front of his lips and turned to face me.

“Kiss, kiss?” he asked.


“Oh, oh oh. Sorry, miss. So sorry, so sorry. Testing. Testing only. You’re my response.” Anti-harassment activists reading this are most likely horrified that I landed myself in two potential molestation situations within half an hour. Perhaps I should have fired my rickshaw driver, taken the first bus back to Gokulam, and made the non-negotiable vow to never do anything else by myself ever again. Honestly though, neither incident left me very traumatized. Of course crawling under a fence was not consent for Yellow Paint Man to grab my ass, but at least he more or less  understood the concept of no-means-no. And to give him the benefit of the doubt, there might have been some misunderstanding  about the marriage situation. Maybe he thought I said yes, I’d marry him, or maybe he thought my marriage with the Boatman wasn’t serious because I’d refused the Bindi. In any case, as far as horny, sketchy dudes go, I have met much worse in North America. To me Yellow Paint Man seemed like a 14 year old and the rickshaw driver was like a small child. 

Even so, before continuing on with my rickshaw driver, I made sure he got the message.

“Don’t do this again! Never do that again.”

“Oh, okay miss. So sorry.”

“Guides should not do that.”

“Oh okay. Testing, miss, just testing. Good guide, good guide.”

“No, no. Never do that again.”

“Okay miss, so sorry miss. Good guide. Excellent guide”

At the Sree Ranganatha Swamy Temple, he repented by giving his gods several bunches of coriander. Everywhere I went, people stared. I guess they were captivated by my extreme height and whiteness, and possibly my curly hair and biceps.  Several people asked if they could be in a photo with me. If it was women and children, I said yes. When I shook their hands, they got all giddy. It was a little bit sweet. Even hunching, I towered over them in the photos. I hope I didn’t make too many funny faces.
Besides the temple, we went to a jail, the grave of Super Warrior Tippu Sultan, a mosque and a couple of art museums. My favourite place was these steps by the river where people swam and did their laundry. Got the biggest stares here. 
By the river
 At one o’clock, my rickshaw driver finally had some weird deep-fried chip like concoction for breakfast. Then he drove me back to the Gokulam coconut stand.

“Needing good guide. Calling any time.”

I’ll be sure to keep this in mind.

The End.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a long reply to pubic hair and peanut butter but it disappeared. I took it as a sign. But the outstanding phrase was HAIR CLIPPERS/LOYAL WORLD. If this one disappears I will let it go too. You are a brilliant and very funny writer. I LOVE this post even more than the last, and the one before that. I would say Mysore is working it's magic.