Friday at work was pretty routine- we got out early because an employee’s car got stolen with the Ashoka keys in it, and headed over to pick up Leepa from her work at Connaught Place. From there, we went to Janpanth (sp?) market to do some shopping. Basically, the vendors raise any price about 75% for a foreigner, especially for Nora. We devised a system under which Nora would scan a store, sneakily point to the thing she wanted, and Leepa would bargain in Hindi for it before Nora would come up and make sure it looked good on her- when the price was set. Bargaining can be tough and embarrassing, especially when you refuse to buy something, thinking they will give you a better deal, and then they just don’t. You can either walk away from the thing or come back with your head down minutes later. Nora spent about 20 American dollars and ended up getting a handmade bag, a pair of linen pants, two earrings, shoes, and some beautiful decorations that Leepa managed to bargain down from 150 rp/each to 200 rp/four. Mohenna got some awesome shoes and pants. We ate some streetfood (pani puries) and left the market, but not before a man with a bullwhip chased us down, asking Mohenna to buy it at least three times… does she look like she uses them?
Once we arrived home, Leepa and Ashish took us all out for Chinese- Indian Chinese food is totally different than American Chinese food, as well as real Chinese food. It is delicious. On the way home, Ashish and Aman were feuding, as per usual, and Ashish exclaims, “you think you were taught to use chopsticks from your mother’s womb?” (meaning he’s a know it all) Aman heard another word, “bund,” which means backside, and we both heard “from your mother’s boobs”- okay, maybe you had to be there.
We went to sleep and woke up early on Saturday morning, ready to give meditation another go with the Grand Master of spiritual healing. He had promised that he would take us out of our bodies. On (semi) empty stomachs, we laid in the bedroom and the Grand Master inserted the tape that he had recorded. We felt our bodies relax to what must have been a sort of hypnosis at first. Part of the tape was him telling us to make different parts of our bodies, and ultimately our entire bodies, feel sharp tingles like pins and needles. In the tape, he told us to envision our toes, then feet, then legs etc. in our mind and make them tingle. Both of us felt this happen, Mohenna more intensely, she felt her entire lower half experience pins and needles and Nora just her feet. The connection between mind and allowing your body to feel something it wouldn’t have otherwise was very, very cool. The tape continued, and at this point, he told us to lift out of our bodies and watch ourselves lying on the bed. After this point, what was supposed to happen was that your subconscious mind picks a random place, and you are able to go there and see that place perfectly. By this point, Nora let other thoughts into her head and could really not stay deeply meditative enough to allow any of this to happen- reality, noises, and other thoughts kept popping into her head and she could not get them out. Mohenna, on the other hand, had a mental image of us lying on the bed, and could see it- as though her mind was hovering above and her body remained on the bed. However, past this point, nothing happened for her. When he said to envision a place that you would like to go, her subconscious mind randomly picked her old elementary school. The tape ended, and a bit disappointed, we went to eat and slumber for hours after our semi-hypnosis.
At 8:00 we left for the surprise party that Ashish was throwing for a friend. Parties start late here (for adults), around 10:30 usually, and often go until 4 or 5 in the morning. Everyone really knows how to have a good time. There is also a more relaxed attitude among older crowds as compared to America about herbal drugs and drinking. We sat in a corner for a bit after the initial small talk wore off before retiring to the children’s room where they were playing cricket and Nintendo and Mohenna found the love of her life, a baby pug who was so ugly he was beautiful. We then found ourselves in a bed in a random room, obviously someone’s who we didn’t know, and made ourselves right at home – as in under the covers ready to slumber. Around 12:30 (!!) food was served, which was amazing, and as the adults began partying more and more, we began to feel tired and ready to go home at about 1:00. Nora sat and played Nintendo for quite some time by herself, before she got a case of the hiccups that didn’t go away for about an hour. After a while, we dragged Leepa and Ashish out of the party and headed home. On the way home, we saw an elephant walking on the highway amongst all of the cars! Nora was fascinated and hopped out of the car to take pictures, while the little man on the elephant waived at the car- problem is, we could not tell if he was signaling “GO! The elephant is coming” or “COME! Pet the elephant.” So, we waltzed back and forth with the elephant until we gave up and went home.
On Sunday morning, we woke up and Nora was determined to have an out of body experience while Mohenna simply wanted to sleep and kill the occasional construction worker who finds it funny to drill outside her window at 7 am every morning. (Lizzie graham, this reminds me of when you say “I’m having an out of body experience!”) Long story short, we attempted once more, for an hour this time, to drift into another state of consciousness. However, this time the purpose of the exercise was aimed at telepathy, which seemed extremely unrealistic and was hard to concentrate fully on. Mohenna, too hungry and light headed from the intense breathing in the meditation, simply fell asleep and then left the room, all she could think about was the chicken in the adjacent room. Nora focused on the exercise- this is her: I definitely did not feel or see anything I was supposed to- again, I could not unclutter my mind of other thoughts. Rather than the exercises actually working or something, what the meditation did for me is sort of unlock my unconscious mind, but at the same time I am completely conscious of what is going on. During the meditation, random people and thoughts just pop into my mind that I would never, ever, ever think about otherwise or haven’t remembered in years. That is all though. Mohenna has realized that though she believes in the mind body connection, she is too firmly rooted in this world to experience anything these exercises try to achieve.
In the late afternoon, Nora made an impulsive decision to get her nose pierced which resulted in a trip to a piercing and tattoo store in the middle of the mall. Within 20 minutes of deciding she wanted it, it was done. Hiru didi is here right now, telling us about how she pierced her own nose, and she turned out perfectly normal. Ehhh….
We are about to eat chicken teriyaki, – we know a certain someone just got jealous reading that last bit. – and get ready for work tomorrow. We have to tell Sid what we’ve learned so far about Indian agriculture…
Aman Srivastava, ultimate hipster