Happy New Year

by Joanna D.

New Years Eve was fairly uneventful. I met up with some people at a place called the Green Hotel for a little while, ventured through the grounds and did a bit of light shopping at the gift shop. The hotel was quite beautiful; an old colonial style place with lots of outdoor seating and well-groomed courtyard. It felt like most New Years Eve’s often do for me… so, I took my leave for home around 7:30 or 8pm. Once there, I got ready for an early practice and settled in for rest.

At midnight, perhaps a little before, the fireworks started. Celebrations all through the city! This continued for at least a couple hours. Even with all the excitement in the air I really wanted sleep. Earplugs were not cutting it. Shit. I was so tired and set to get up at 4:30am. Strange dreams followed me as I drifted in and out of consciousness eventually leaving my mind in a fog as I stumbled down to the Shala.

Practice was a little disappointing. I was tired, bit stomach sick, grumpy. Not so good feeling to start the New Year. Grrrrr… So brilliantly, I decide to head to Chamundi Hill. I hopped a bus to Mysore and then another bus up a long and windy road to one of the most sacred hills in Southern India. Had this idea in my head that I could leave something there. Something to show past is past, let go. Where? How? It was so crowed. Tons of people everywhere! Upon the realization that what I had intended to do was most likely not going to happen I also remembered I had to be back at the Shala by 4pm. Shit! So I walked around a little, snapped a couple photos and started thinking about how to get out of there. Next realization? I don’t know how to get back to a bus. It was chaos up there!

A little overwhelmed at this point, I figure I will just keep walking. It’s hot. I pass a few guys hanging out in their car and they say “at least 20kl” to the bottom. I’m like “OK.” Have no idea how far that is. But I figure I haven’t much choice so I keep going. REALLY don’t want to walk all the way to the bus stand. So I start looking for busses to flag down and there are people hanging off the doors. Not getting on there. Keep walking. And then all of a sudden, this car stops and a nice man pops his head out the window and says, “Can I drop you, Madam?” I’m thinking, “Drop me?” Too funny. After a bit of self-deliberation I hop in the car. Never done that in my life.

There were four men. None of them spoke much English but they started asking me where I’m from and what my name is. “Where do you stay?” “What do you think of India?” and so on. We struggled through some answers and then some of my questions. I listened to them chatting away in Kanada. They were very patient and candid and turned out to be extremely sweet, genuine men. It was refreshing to meet them. So kind to give me a lift, to “drop me” down the hill. We stopped at a garden just down the street from the bus stop and they requested we take some photos. So each one of them got their photo with me. I got the one below.

The one on the left was the driver, a “criminal police” and the one on the right was the kind man to offer me the lift (wish I could remember their names). It totally made my day. Their kindness melted off the rough start and left some lightness. Happy New Year.