Sunday, May 29, 2016
The Idiots Guide To Yoga Class – How I Joined Up And Ran Away From One
So there I was with a few day of leave right bang on the hottest days of the year and nothing else to do and nowhere to go to and so what do I do? I sign up for the toughest of all fitness programs available today- yoga class. Now before you start correcting me that yoga is not all that hot a fitness trend let me state that I have been officially informed by the government of india that yoga is great for fitness and for losing weight and for general health and all that we worry about as the inches and the kilos creep up our frames. Maybe that itself should have warned me- when the government starts supporting something so enthusiastically it inevitably ends up being a scam. But then again every minute a sucker is born and you live and learn by your own mistakes, right?.
My mistake in this case was believing in all the yoga hype and going and joining a yoga class in my near neighbourhood. I even stopped going for my walks for a couple of days to prepare myself mentally for the coming change in my fitness levels courtesy yoga- for i am a great believer in getting rest whenever you can and however much you can, in anticipation of being worked off your ass later. So fully rested and fully prepped up both physically and mentally i went to my very first yoga class wearing loose dresses as prescribed and anticipating being wrung out dry by all those asanas i would soon be doing.
The new age yoga guru- i wont use the exact word i have in mind for him as this blog contains the occasional family readers- who had charged me extra for a one on one class to better handle my fitness concerns and to give me proper solo attention as he explained when he asked for an eye popping amount as that month’s fees, started off the class by handing me a bright pink yoga mat and asking me to plonk my generous sized butt on to it.
“ Observe me closely, we will start off by practicing proper breathing techniques. Till now you have been breathing improperly but now i will show you how to breath” intoned my yoga teacher leaving me flummoxed. Call me a cynic but the very first thing we do as soon as we exit the fluid filled mother's womb we call birth, is to start breathing on our own, a reflex which evolution developed over billions of years as we crawled out of the primordial ooze to become land based animals. And here was someone telling me that for all those billions of years we have been doing it wrong.
“Open mind, open mind, be open minded believe your guru and his words” i chided myself, don't be so cynical and common sense based I told myself for even the prime minister has said yoga is good so there must be something good in it, so lets wait and watch i counselled myself and turned back with full reverence to my yoga guru who told me to breathe in through one nose and breathe out through the other. “And then...?” i asked eagerly? “Repeat this till i tell you to stop” intoned my wise yoga master. So feeling slightly foolish but willing to experience new things i continued to breathe in and breathe out through alternate nostrils while the yoga guru sat on his mat checking his mobile phone, watsapping someone, checking out you-tube videos and generally looking bored.
At the end of thirty minutes which was the halfway mark of my allotted one hour of yoga class he asked me “Now how do you feel? Do you feel tired?” Strangely i didn't feel tired at all. “Bored” should have been my candid reply but having recently decided to be always polite and also as my ass had gone to sleep following an unaccustomed sitting on the floor, i replied “yes”, and hoped we would move on to all those asanas shown on tv by sexy women doing yoga.
The yoga teacher smiled knowingly at me and said good “You have done pranayama correctly and that's why you are so tired. Now i will show you a new asana- its called savasana- you need to lie down and stretch your arms and legs. Now close your eyes and follow my instructions carefully. Feel yourself. Do you feel your feet relaxing? Do you feel you arms relaxing ? Do you feel your eyes relaxing? Relax completely” And i followed his intonations and and was lying there relaxing completely until how long i didn't know when he suddenly said “Now you can get up. Thank you for coming to yoga class and see you next class”.
I looked at my watch and saw that i had spent the remaining half of my class lying down and relaxing. That's thirty minutes of sitting and breathing and thirty minutes of lying down and relaxing for a total of one hour of yoga class. Against my better judgement i again went back to the same class twice more hoping that at least this time i would be taught something proper but as the usual routine of breathing and sleeping did not vary, i decided to abandon yoga once and for all and go back to walking in my neighbouring park.
So the lesson i learnt was that yoga is just bullshit masquerading as ancient indian wisdom and most if not all yoga teachers are scamsters and rogues who prey on the too stupid to know better crowd like me who follow fitness trends instead of trusting to gods own two legs given for walking which is the ultimate fitness tool. I advise all my readers to learn from my lesson and don't be like me – run if anyone talks to you about yoga. It sucks, it really truly sucks.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Bhoomi Madha With A Big Heart- Short Fiction.
The minister was coming out of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple when he noticed a group of devotees clustered around a mantap near the entrance of the temple. Out of curiosity he hurried over to join the throng and to see what it was all about. In front of the mantap sat a beatifically smiling man in his 50's clad in the saffron robes of a mendicant and he was preaching to a congregation of a few devotees. The minister paused to listen for a few minutes as the swamiji, as he automatically called him in his mind, started speaking again “how many of you sleep well at night? How many fall asleep as soon as you hit the bed and sleep dreamlessly all night? How many of you have a full appetite and eat when you are hungry?” He paused as few seconds and looked meaningfully at the listening devotees .
The minister felt as if someone had given him a knock on his head. He had just now prayed to god about his various ailments which included long and troubled insomniac nights and multiple ulcers which prevented him from enjoying all the power and perks of his office for which he had sacrificed so much and done so many crimes which still gave him a troubled conscience even after so many years. He felt like this swami was gods way of answering his prayers, so he walked up to the mantap and gesturing his ever present security to stay back, well back sat at the back of the crowd to listen to the discourse.
“The only way forward” continued the swami “is to reduce your expectations, your greed for more and more. However much you have you always yearn for more. At what point will you stop? Will you feel that you have had enough? Is there no end to your wants?” he paused again and seemed to be staring meaningfully at the minister seated right at the back of the crowd “unless you voluntarily decide in your minds that you have plenty you will never heal yourself” and he rasied his voice “and goddess lakshmi only loves someone who exudes satisfaction. She flees the unworthy miser who grasps for more and more. So go home and reorder your life according to your needs and not your wants. Om shanti, shanti, shanti hi”.
As the crowd dispersed slowly the minister approached the swamiji with folded hands “swamiji, i am blessed to have heard your discourse today, every single word you said reverberates within my heart. I want to do something for you, please allow this penitent to offer something”. The swami smiled enigmatically at the minister and said “ son, i am a beggar living on the good wishes of the gods and the alms of the devout. What could i wish for? I don't need anything. If my advice has helped you, then go in peace my son. I am through with this world, i desire nothing”. The minister who had built up his entire political life on patronage and doles to his faithful adherents wasn't so easily swayed “ nothing swamiji? You are the first person who has said nothing even when the state home minister has asked you directly about what you want. It's a novel experience for me to be refused like this. Its usually i who do the refusing. I think my karma is preventing you from accepting anything from my hands. Do re-consider and allow this sinner to gain a little punya”.
The mendicant scratched his beard and got up abruptly to walk forward and he beckoned the minister to follow him. As they went to one of the gates of the temple, the swamji pointed out his hand towards the river which flowed beside the temple, specifically broad expanse of the riverbank with its gleaming white sands “ i have been meaning to construct a small ashram on this peaceful river bank so i can perform my meditations as close to this peaceful river as possible. And besides the crowd for my sermons grow bigger day by day and its becoming harder to accommodate them all in the same small mantap i sleep in. I have petitioned the district collector about this previously when he came to the temple but he just accepts my petitions with a smile and does nothing with them. Maybe you can?”. The minister felt elated, “atlast”, he thought “there is something i can do to show my power”. The fact that he had been refused when offering to help had been a great shock to his system. He turned around and beckoned to the collector who had been part of the discreet group following the minister and the swamiji from a distance.
The collector came running forward “What is this i hear? That you refused to allot the swamiji this riverbank to construct an ashram? Every month some fellow or other comes with your recommendation letter and i allot him prime residential and commercial plots inside the capital city from the government quota freely, but you cannot find it in your heart to give up even a river bank for this holy man? Is this your administration?” he thundered at the collector who quaked visibly. “sir, no sir, i will sign the file as soon as i reach the office sir” he murmured. The minister continued “See that you do. And no more troubling this holy man. If i hear anything like that” he left the rest unsaid. After taking the holy man’s blessing the minister went back to his car and returned to the capital to take up governance again.
Although he meant to return to the temple town pretty soon to check up on the holy man again, events in his political life caught up with him and he coudnt afford to take the time off to go on a pilgrimage till more than an year had passed away. Atlast one day with the assembly not in session and nothing else to do, he decided to go see the swamiji again, to see how the ashram was coming on. When he reached the temple he eagerly looked around for the swami but he was nowhere to be found, so he hurried up to the eastern gate to look down on the river. To his considerable shock he found the river bank desecrated, dug up to great depths, the river itself narrowed down to a thin trickle and everywhere signs of great destrcution to the once pristine riverbank. He immediately got into his car and headed straight ofr the collectors office.
Once seated opposite the collector he asked “What happened to the swamijis ashram? What did you greedy bastards do?”. The collector who had had a pretty satisfying day till then, quaked at the minister's wrath “We? We did nothing but follow your orders sir, we gave the man permission to build on the riverbank by granting him a patta and environmental clearance and everything. Soon lorry after lorry came down to cart away the clear river sand and when asked about it by the locals the swami had said they were clearing the foundations to build a grand riverside ashram. As the sand lorries started doing ten trips a day, some of the locals tried to complain, but the fraud swami threatened them with your name saying he was close to the minister and sent them to me as reference. I had to to tell them that you had instructed us government officials to leave him alone, so there was no way we could take any action against him. After removing all the usable sand from the river bed, the swami disappeared overnight” the collector concluded.
The minister sat there like a stone and reflected on the swami’s sermon a year back on the nature of greed and its effects on men. Nothing changes, thought the minster, everyone wants to loot the government money, be it a politician or the public. The bhoomi madha who gives to everyone again and again, no questions asked is the public money and goddess lakshmi is the public treasury. “And to think i was fooled by a greater fraud than me” he mused with a bitter frown.
P.S. Disclaimer- this story is not referenced to and in no one way about living persons or swamijis who conducted any meets in any river beds in recent memory. This is purely a work of fiction.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
A Round-Up Of My TV Show Recommendations
So the newest season of Game of thrones has started off as expected – John Snow has been brought back to life which was pretty much anticipated and eagerly awaited for, the only question being how he would he resurrected from the dead. Episode 2 has revealed that his spirit had escaped into his direwolf Snow as his body was being stabbed multiple times and from there it returned back to his human body when the Red Woman, Melisandre the sorceress of the Light-cult, worked her magic on his wounds. The other character, the only other character we sympathize with and hope to see survive the Game Of Thrones, Daenerys is well on her way to acquiring her promised bridal gift- the entire dothraki nation to rally behind her cause. Just to recall, Khal Drogo, he who was prophesied to be the father of the stallion which rules the world and hence always fucked daenerys from behind (like a stallion?), had promised the use of the dothraki hordes against the westeros as a marriage gift to daenerys to regain her throne, but as he unfortunately dropped off dead and daenerys couldn't hold on to what was left of the khals army she had to go and recruit eunuch warriors and mercenaries who all proved inadequate to the upcoming campaign against the might of the seven kingdoms across the dothraki sea to finally put a targaryen on the throne.
Another interesting show I regularly watch, the latest season (season 3) of Penny Dreadful has got off to a kick-ass beginning as well. Count Dracula, the main villain is back on the show after disappearing for most of last season leaving the field open to minor witches and monsters and he has finally hooked up with Renfield, his future nemesis Dr. Seward's confidential secretary. And Adam, the Frankenstein's monster at last lives up to his name by twisting off the head of a ten year old child before walking back to england all the way from the arctic where he was marooned on a sunken ship bound in the ice field, at the end of last season. And the protagonist of the show Miss. Ives played by the delectable Eva Green, has at last got out of the stupor of a broken heart and is out and about, ready to face up all the evils of the night which haunt 1880's London, most of whom she has had sex with in the previous two seasons. All in all the show promises to send more than a few heartbeats racing (and i dont mean just in the horror sense) this season as well.
I have also finished watching the entire season 1 of the latest BBC adaptation of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I have to admit that I can't wait too long for season 2 to start. The TV show has added a new interpretation to the traditional story by making sure that although played by the same character, Robert Jekyll’s alter ego Hyde is shown in a delightful new avatar of understated villainy instead of the usual over the top villainous antics we are used to seeing in previous adaptations. The show again has ended in a flaming season finale and we can't wait long enough to see Robert Jekyll get up and show his other side in season 2.
Dickensian season 1 has ended in BBC one, leaving a half hour void in my night time TV schedule. For those not familiar with the series it is an adaptation of all the Charles dickens novels in an amalgamation where all the various characters interact with one another in un-looked for ways. We are shown the beginnings of Miss. Havisham's hatred for men with the love affair which caused it ( from Great Expectations) along with the death of Jacob Marley and the coming into fortune of his sole partner Ebenezer Scrooge ( from A Christmas Carol) and Fagin and gang, the likes of the Artful Dodger, Bill Sikes and Nancy (of Oliver Twist) who are suspected of killing Marley on behalf of Scrooge – all in all an interesting mish mash of characters and situations all intertwined together.
So to fill up my half an hour nostalgia tv show slot I have recently started binge-watching Blanding's, the show based on the P.G. Wodehouse novels of the same name. The antics of the Earl of Emsworth and his prize pig the Empress of Blandings have been hilariously brought alive on TV for the first time. Throw in Aunt Connie, Emsworth's sister and Freddie Threepwood his son and an assortment of wodehousian favorite characters like Sir Roderick Glossop, who keep dropping in and out of the show, you have a crackerjack of a comedy masterpiece crammed inside half an hour. Highly recommended for a last show before bed night time slot to leave you with a pleasant smile on your face as you sleep.
The last show i want to talk about is the BBC adaptation of the sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel -Death Comes To Pemberley. The book which was a gripping whodunit murder mystery solved by Elizabeth Bennet of the Pride book had me salivating at the opportunity of watching a TV adaptation. And it didn't disappoint as it stuck pretty much to the template of the book. But if there was one thing which soured my pleasure of the TV adaptation it was the casting. Every character was aptly cast except for the lead one, the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. If you remember reading Pride and Prejudice you would remember that Miss Elizabeth Bennet was a saucy little beauty who made not only the proud Mr.Darcy fall madly in love, but also carries on a brief fling with the much experienced ( in a ladies way) man about town – George Wickham the eventual villain of the novel. But the tv show has erred erroneously in casting an ugly old hag has elizabeth bennet. Granted it's been a few years since her wedding and she is now the mother of a five year old child, but i cant help thinking that elizabeth would still be a milf oozing sexuality and not such an ugly old has been especially after remembering Keira Knightley in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. God only knows what the makers were thinking when they cast the characters. Maybe they were looking to make it on a low budget and this waas all they could afford to hire? I leave it to you dear readers.