Thank you, Bournville!
Thank you for being there at that tiny shop in that tiny town next to a tiny, really tiny village where I chose to succumb to the simplicity of Ashram life.
It had just been a week, but I was already counting days.
Till after what seemed like eons, I woke up to the first weekly day off on a blessed Wednesday.
In a blink, the day had come to an end. I was not particularly looking forward to get back to the gruelling schedule set for the bravest of them all.
The Yoga Teachers-to-be.
Melting in the 40 something degrees of heat and thinking of the next six days of hard work, sweat and taste bud stifling food… I spotted you.
A familiar, dark, indulgent side of me. Hidden behind huge jars of unhealthy sweets, namkeens and daily necessities.
Now, I confess, it was a bit disappointing when the shopkeeper told me you were the last one available. In Cranberry, instead of my fave Raisin and Nut.
But, then, who was I to choose.
Back at the unlit room, after an insipid dinner, I could have devoured you all at once, just like my French roomie did a whole pack of wafer chocolate.
Like her life depended on finishing it.
You were my only one and you had to be savoured. I had indulged enough for the day. A milk chai with cardamom, a glass of cold coffee, spiced up dal, and rice that tasted like rice!
In one week that was my definition of indulgence at the cafe in town. With free wi fi, of course.
I could save you for a more needy moment.
But the next two days, I was so busy waking before sunrise, rushing for meditation, listening to my jaws go ‘khach khach’ during meals, feeling the sweat go ‘drip drip’ everywhere, numbing my senses to the pain of the asanas and the taste of food, ignoring the humming of insects inside my mosquito netted bed, in a room where electricity (when it was there) meant only a fan, and iphone the only source of light at night — I forgot all about you!
On day 3 after Wednesday, as I stood in front of my half of the cupboard pulling out the clothes for post lunch Karma Yoga (I was designated the job of window cleaning) at scorching noon o’ clock, I heard an echo of my sentiments in words that were said in a heartbreaking french accent—
“I can’t do this. I cannot take this f***ing routine. Anymore!”
“You want a chocolate?”, I heard myself say to a girl at the verge of breaking down.
“Chocolate! You’ve got chocolate?”, said my incredulous roomie.
One chocolate. Two dying-to-havers. Four more testy days to go before the next weekly off.
“I got chocolate.” my sattvik side spoke up as I pulled out what was to be our salvation through the next two weeks of the ‘same f***ing routine’.
We sported a secret smile during the tasteless lunches, thanks to you, Bournville.
One divine square at a time.
You were our secret stash of goodness which got re-stocked each Wednesday we went to town.
We had many Cranberry versions of you, dear Bournville.
Umm… only Cranberry. Because only Cranberry was available in that little town.
But still, it made it easy for us to get through each day. With a self satisfied smile.
The weather got progressively better, thanks to you. The food seemed better than just tolerably edible. The dark room with no fan, all locusts and mosquitoes became ‘our’ room with locusts and mosquitoes.
You were a moment of reward for two hard working, well deserving, trying really hard to be Yoginis. You were a small, yet so fulfilling square of everyday indulgence for us.
Once I was so tired, I just couldn’t find the strength in me to get into sheersh asana or headstand pose. My mentor squatted next to me and said “Come on! Come on! Just push your elbows into the ground, and focus on the one thing you would really, really want at this moment”.
I thought of you, lying in a hurriedly torn wrapper, in my little pink pouch.
“Told you, you can do it.” said the mentor.
We had two squares that day, to celebrate.
On the last day, we had no chocolate left. But never mind, I thought. A new beginning awaits beyond the finish line.
Felt a bit sad leaving the Ashram and its tough life. Because it was there, with you by my side, I came to value the little joys of life that often go unnoticed in life. It was there, among 44 yogis from India, Holland, France, Finland, Germany, Italy and Denmark, I found a whole new nationality, a new religion of Self Exploration and Discovery.
It felt good to hold the certificate and a new identity of Registered Yoga Teacher.
But it was way more rewarding to be gifted a Raisin and Nut Bournville by my roomie at the airport.