Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Godfather of Gokalum

(from Monday, January 13th)

Despite the haze that followed our first meeting with Mali Gandhi, we somehow stumbled upon what has become our absolute favorite eating joint: Anu’s. The “restaurant” is on the rooftop of the family home, and everyday Anu, the mother, prepares a healthy, homemade vegetarian buffet of fresh vegetable curries, salads, dal, rice, chapati, and, of course, dessert.

The place was packed with foreigners of all ages and from all over the world, who have somehow managed to retreat from their homes and jobs to practice yoga for months at a time. Because of the communal eating space, we quickly determined who knew the most about the neighborhood: a bald, British fellow named Richard, who is on Mysore-visit number 732 to practice yoga. Richard pulled through – he knew a guy who knew a guy, and so we were introduced to Harish, who had a friend, Ragu, who took us around to a few homes, which were awkwardly still occupied.

Feeling uninspired, we decided to stop for a coconut on the side of the road, where we met two guys – one Australian and one Englishman - who were experts in “Amazon Hallucinogenic [Therapy?]” and were holding a retreat to bring people to enlightenment. Hmmm. No worries, despite Taylor’s curiosity, we did not follow them to their homes, but we did take their advice on a sage, old man they knew who could find us a place. Little did we know, these two entrepreneurs/ hippies/ therapists were sending us to The Godfather of Gokalum, Shiva. Unsure of how we would track this Godfather, we were instructed to look for a long bearded man in orange robes. And so we did.

Long story short: By the end of the day, we had multiple people involved in finding us a “permanent” residency, which made for some “tough conversations” in the days that followed. Nonetheless, we secured ourselves a room in a flat with three Chinese yoga students for the month of January. Oh, and none of our roomies speak or understand any English (and we know nothing about the Chinese language). Learning experience for all, as well as many stories of miscommunication.

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