01/16/08 God Speaks
I haven’t quite figured out which direction to point the butt-washer to avoid spraying water all over the back of the toilet. The “butt-washer” looks just like the sprayer in your kitchen sink, but its coming out of the wall where one might expect to see a roll of toilet paper. Rather than the now old-fashioned method of big bucket-little dipper (a science unto itself) butt-washers are popping up in modern Indian homes. However, the western style toilet has also caught on, which when coupled with the butt-washer, is just plain awkward, in my opinion. I miss squatters. My Amma in Chennai said it best: “I don’t understand this western toilet. I find it much less clean to put the behind where another’s has been than to put the feet.” Amen.
It’s things like this that make India such a unique travel experience. Confusion in the most simple, yet inescapable of arenas. In so many ways, we are all plucked from our lives here and plunked down in a land where what usually validates us is distant. We are called to redefine our routines and expectations constantly. For instance you thought you had the bowel movement thing worked out, but now there’s water everywhere. Next time. And in this, perhaps we may be gifted with the Grace we are all seeking. Validation in our own Divinity.
God speaks through Butt-washers, yes it’s true.
Our mission here, should we choose to accept it, is to let go the need to have it figured out. The western traveler’s face is often an unmasked display of confusion. Sometimes frustration. Rarely playfulness. At the temple sites and cow-filled intersections, you see looks of amazement and sometimes delight, but rarely in line at the train station or while haggling with a rick-shaw driver. Can we keep the drishti on Grace in even these times? Challenging times are more common in India, anyone might tell you that. My friend Mahesh: “Shit man, this place works me and I’m Indian. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you guys.” Amen again.
Sharath is working his skinny butt off with all of us in there, sweating it out as though we might gain some of that Divinity (even a sprinkle?) from the daily pursuit of asana. I have come to know for myself, its more about the “daily” part of it than how jamming I can be today and what anybody else thinks about it. A daily observance of my own evolution, a safe place to do the work, health benefits, and a really fun time (provided I am living a lifestyle of enough sleep and clean food). If I can just remember to laugh at myself; if I can just remember to smile while I move and breath… this is a good start to the day. Maybe when the phone hangs up, internet crashes, belly hurts, I will be that much closer to smiling. Life is a Vinyasa, start to finish. It’s the same thing always we are remembering, despite the shapes and sounds we are making in this world.