The following conversation took place, literally, 30 minutes after I published the last week’s entry. Sitting on the floor in a wooden cafe, smoking weed, overlooking the Ganges while talking to a lovely Costa Rican (should it be Costa-Rican…. I don’t know) about Vispasana. If you don’t know what that means, trust me, you’re going to love the entry for V.
Suddenly, we get approached by a sweet yet spacey American girl, about the same age as ME, wearing the typical hippy baggy attire that everyone seems to be wearing here. She also has a super lazy eye, which I don’t immediately notice.
Girl – Hello. I’m so sorry, but do you mind if I interrupt your conversation?
Jeff – Sure. No problem.
I actually did mind. But because the Costa Rican said “no problem,” I got really paranoid that I was boring him and he welcomed the interruption. I think I was just over-thinking but I missed her entire introduction because I dwelt on this thought, with a glazed look on my face.
Girl – …………… so, if you guys would be interested, I think it would be great to share it with you.
Jeff – Yeah, that sounds really nice.
Fuck. What does she want to share with me? This place has already surpassed every idea of strange, I’ve ever had.
Girl – Here is a flyer, where I have written down all the essential information about when the classes are.
Oh, thanks God, it’s just yoga. At this point, I notice that she possesses that rare, yet particularly annoying American accent. It’s not a nice Mid-Western one, or slightly irritating Californian one, it’s the Michigan one. If you’re not familiar with the diversity of American accents, I can only describe this one as …… let’s see…… a bag of screaming cats…… stuffed into a bin bag mixed with someone blowing their nose.
Jeff – OK. Great.
This would be the point where any normal person would say “thanks and bye” and move to the next table. Oh no, not in India.
Girl – Yoga means a lot to me.
Me – Right.
Girl – I can’t even begin to imagine my life without yoga. It centers me, it calms me, it relaxes me, but also it brings me to life, it helps to me to think, and it helps me focus.
It doesn’t help you to shut up, though, does it? Slightly alarmed, I notice that Jeff, aka the Costa Rican is looking at her like she’s feckin Plato.
Jeff – Yes. For me too. It’s like it because…….
Girl – I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10 years. I did my teacher training here. I did the 300 hour course, and then started a studio and now I’ve just finished a 200 hour course.
Me – Oh, God. That’s great. You did two courses.
Girl – Well, you can always learn more, can’t you? I mean, that’s the purpose of life. To learn.
Me – You’re right. I completely agree.
Jeff – Yes, it’s true, because I wanted to….
Girl – Actually I once had a ….
I drift off at this point and study Jeff’s face. He has been interrupted twice now and it seems to be driving him a little crazy.
Girl – ….. and I actually inspired her to get her own studio in Paris.
She is a sweet girl, but it doesn’t even dawn on her to take a second and ask us something about ourselves or just move on. Because neither one of us are rude, she just ploughs on.
Girl – I don’t believe in money, of course. I believe in the spirit of sharing and I want to help other people to learn this amazing skill. But I do charge a little for my classes, because I need to make a little bit of money to survive.
Me – Of course, we wouldn’t expect the classes to be free at all. I give classes in English and even though….
Girl – So, the going rate is 200 rupees for a class, but if you guys come together or come regularly I can maybe offer like a discount.
Jeff – What kind of yoga do you do?
It should be noted that Jeff is a yoga teacher.
Girl – Mostly, I do Hatha yoga which is a very physical type of yoga.
Girl – It’s quite unique and not something the western world has taken, just yet. Yeah, it’s really cool.
Girl – You have to train for a very long time to give this kind of yoga, but the benefits are amazing.
Jeff – Oh, right, that,s really interesting…
Bless Jeff for not calling her out on it. He was quite stoned and it must be said he is such a lovely human being. Even if someone poured a pint of Guinness over him, then tried to set him on fire, before dumping a piano on him, he still wouldn’t probably get angry.
Girl – Actually, I’m starting the classes the day after tomorrow, because I can’t work tomorrow. It’s Shiva day and I’m going to the temple to worship Shiva.
Me – What?
Jeff – Shiva day? Really?
Me – Are you a Hindu?
I notice her lazy eye now. Because the other one has started spinning around its socket. Probably searching for Shiva to give her an answer.
Girl – Well, tomorrow is a very special day. It’s Shiva day and I have been invited to go to the temple and pay my respect to Lord Shiva. My boyfriend and spiritual partner in my life is Indian.
Jeff – I see.
Me – Isn’t Shiva day in February?
Girl – No, it’s tomorrow. Monday.
Me – But that’s every Monday. I think you’re supposed to go and pray every Monday, but the particular feast of Shiva is in February. I think so but I’m not entirely sure.
I am sure. I’m totally sure.
Girl – It’s a real honor to be invited. I am very excited about it.
Jeff – What does it involve?
I wanted wallop Jeff on the head for encouraging her. Now, she’ll never leave.
Girl – Lord Shiva is the destroyer in Hinduism, and thus represents change and our challenges to change…
I completely stop listening and load up Facebook on my phone. While looking at pictures of my 5 month old niece , wearing sunglasses on holidays in Morocco, I successfully drown her out.
Waiter – Nutella pancake?
Me – YES… Finally.
Me – Sorry. I’m so high and I’ve been waiting for ages. I need to order it before I get high. I know for next time.
Girl – ……………….. and that’s when I really discovered myself.
She looks at my pancake.
Girl – Do you mind if I have some?
Me – No. Here. Have a slice.
In her defense, she takes a very small slice.
Girl – Is it vegetarian?
Me – It’s a chocolate pancake.
Girl – Right, because I’m a vegetarian. I think eating an animal is wrong.
Jeff – I’m vegetarian as well.
EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE in Rishikesh is vegetarian. It’s impossible to get meat anywhere. I haven’t eaten meat in 9 days.
Me – I’m not. I love eating meat.
Girl – Really. Oh, my God.
Her eye starts going mental again.
Me – Oh, God, yeah. I grew up on a farm, and sometimes, I loved meat so much that I would lick the cows.
Jeff – What?
Jeff’s English is probably not up to scratch to realize that I’m completely taking piss.
Me – Oh, yeah. I would walk home from school when I was younger, see the cows in the field and think to myself ……. yummy. And I would go and lick them.
Girl – Don’t you feel guilty?
Me – Oh, God, no. As long as I know that they came out of a factory and didn’t know about life, then it’s fine with me. If you think about it, they’re so full of chemicals they are not really animals anyway, so it’s fine.
She looks absolutely horrified.
Girl – Well, I really need to go and hand out more of these flyers.
Me – It was so nice to speak with you.
Girl – I has a great experience speaking to both of you and I really really hope you enjoy the rest of this beautiful evening.
Oh my God, I literally want to run over her with a lawnmower.