As the title suggests, today marked 17 years since Bharath opened his shala, Yoga India. Naturally, we were all invited as guests to share in a light meal at Bharath’s home with his family. I like these little get togethers. It makes me feel more at home, like I have another family here. When traveling alone, this sort of connection can mean so much.
We were asked to be at the Shale tonight at about 7.00-7.15pm. Me being me, I was there at 7.00pm on the dot.
As I walked to the Shala, it was beginning to go dark in Mysore so the streets began to glow, with the odd street lamp and lights from cars. It’s a nice time to be out walking as its much cooler than in the heat of the day. Walking down the usual 7th Main street, in the distance I notice a building was illuminated with blues, greens and reds. The house glowed like a home which has put up its lights for Christmas. Of course it was obvious this was Bharath’s house. What made the house stand out even more is the lack of street lights around this part of the street. The house was illuminated.
As I walked up the first flight of stairs I was greeting by the eldest of Bharath’s little girls who directed me to keep going up. At the top of the next flight, was Bharath’s youngest. With a huge grin on her face, as she knew she was doing an important job directing us, she told me to go to the top terrace on the building - and also not to touch the light bulbs (which consumed the house) as they will give me an electric shock. Excellent, thanks for the warning - i thought as I continued my ascent.
Under the new verandah sat 5 or so rows of regular red chairs. Some mats were also brought up for the children to sit on as well as us students (who would happily give up a seat). In a long white traditional gown, with a pale grey shirt, Bharath was dressed in his best. As was his beautiful wife.
Bharath thanked all guests for their cooperation and support of him over the years . I feel so proud to be among the 600 people who have studied under this man.
As a group, we all sat on the floor eating our beans, sprouts and rice. It was really enjoyable getting to know everyone that little bit more. Britney, for example, seems to be quite interested in me, wanting to get to know me and i was really open to chatting with her. We had a great many laughs actually.
It was a lovely and relaxing night. With no agenda, and just the opportunity to watch Bharath and his family having such a lovely time, was really wonderful. I also loved learning about the different cultural ways of serving, preparing food etc. For example, when greeted with a cake to say congratulations, Bharath picked bits of the cake apart and fed it to the children who surrounded him. It turns out you eat desert here first, not second. We also got Bharath a cake (form the students) and sang Happy Birthday (as it’s his birthday also). He didn’t quite know what to do as this is not the norm in India. He has also never cut a birthday cake, blown out candles or made a wish, as we told him to do. I think he quite enjoyed the experience. Bharath mentioned he hasn’t celebrated a birthday or anniversary for his shala in 17 years, as he is a shy man and never thought people would come. How absurd. We all have our insecurities!
At the end of the evening, I asked Bharath if I could have my picture taken with him. It’s not often you get this opportunity so I was making the most of it. These will be pictures and memories I will always look upon fondly.
Bharath’s beautiful wife