Best TV Advert in Ages

Recently, I witnessed the best TV advert I’ve seen in a long while. Unfortunately, despite several online searches to locate the ad., I’ve failed to find a link. (If I ever manage to find it I’ll reissue this post. And if you find it, please pass it my way.).

Nevertheless, the reason I’m posting a quickie on the subject of an advert is because it promotes – in brilliant visuals that cut right to the heart of the issue – the plight of people who find themselves outside the mainstream of sexual and gender identities (and yes that is a whole lot more people than “the only gay in the village” of the Little Britain British TV series…).

Even though the TV was on mute, the ad. grabbed my attention on a shuffle through the living room. My first reaction was that it was promoting an upcoming movie, but what got me curious was the less-flashy editing; lingering shots, various inter-related storylines, moments of painful naivety and poignancy held on screen for full impact. The ad. was a tender yet gut-punch portrayal of the ongoing awfulness that transgendered people face very day, all highlighted in clear and cogent visuals.

Overall the ad. had a positive message. The ending shot included a face composed of vertical slices of four transgender-identified people with the slogan “I am Transgender. I am Human” and looked to be advertising an Indian counselling service for transgender-identifying people.

About fucking time! Still, the ad. moved me for both the suffering and beauty shown in the ad.

I applaud the advert makers, the counselling service, the Indian government for funding, and the actors for sharing those stories and visuals. Because we all need to remember that freedom of honest self-expression allows us all to be free, creative, whole – individually and as a compassionate, caring, successful society.

💕 💙  Love, compassion, kindness 💜 for people of all shades, shapes and colours of being as we each seek our own paths through the sometimes awesome, sometimes crazed maze of life 💛 💚

LGBTQ FlagTransgender Flag

Image credits:
Transgender Symbolhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_TransGender-Symbol_Plain3.svg
LGBTQ FlagBy Guanaco and subsequent editors – SVG source (version of 17:56, 30 Sep 2011), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=479191
Transgender FlagThe Transgender Pride flag was created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999

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Final Panchakarma Update – and on to other things…

Bugger! Damn! That coffee thing? A big fat no-no. Noooooooo!!! 😱 😞

As you know, at times through the #Panchakarma programme aspects of it were a bit fraught, the most significant of which was the whole diet/what-the-hell-to-eat thing. I had hoped for (in truth expected) clear, unambiguous dietary guidance from the professional, in this case Dr A. Despite our attempts to gain that guidance, both me and my #Panchakarma Comrade never got the clarity we wanted.

That said, for various reasons I’m glad I did my treatment with Dr A, but she was not my first choice. My first choice was another female doctor (I’ll call her Dr M-Taj). Back in 2013 (when I foolishly thought I could train-up for a 100km charity walk) I’d had a couple of leg massages from her. She’d been calm, thorough and communicative and I’d liked her, so it was she I was searching for this January. Although I didn’t find her, but Dr A instead, such is the magic of things I shan’t knock that outcome.

Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, just after having a rare opportunity for a one-to-one chat with #Panchakarma Comrade over a fresh carrot juice each (which we later discovered are not allowed during a panchakarma programme – grrrr!) I happened to see a sign for Dr M-Taj’s clinic and her local Ayurvedic retreat centre. WTF! Not only had I discovered her hoarding, worse still that sign was on a short and narrow lane I go up and down at least once a week. Bugger! Blast! Fiddlesticks!!

(In my defence – of being blind to her sign up until that point – there’s a lot going on along that street; Kashmiri-run shops selling jewellery, silk scarves, signing bowls, rugs, knick-knacks and various other trinkets, with tunics, dresses and trousers fluttering from awnings and roadside clothes rails; on entering the lane on the right is one of my regular grocery stops – so that’s a wave and a “hello” as I pass; on the left is the milking station with a gathering of cows each afternoon; there are also a couple of restaurants and a small temple off to the right with a large billboard out front. All in, I tend to let the scenery wash over me as I pass up and down. Also, a lot of folk along that lane are eager for business and as I don’t want to give false hope I tend not to make much eye-contact but rather just plough straight ahead on my bicycle or the back of Mr D’s motorbike. And yet another thing in my defence – coz, you know, I’m kind of feeling shamefaced at not noticing earlier – Dr M-Taj’s sign is not at eye-level and is tucked in next to one of those awnings strewn with tunics and tops of various colours. Which just goes to show, don’t it, that even in such a pedestrian location there can be all sorts of new things to notice – if you go slow enough of course. OK, my protestations for being a numbskull over.)

So because I was, and still am, keen to get a handle on the diet aspect of my health I figured a consultation with Dr M-Taj would be a good idea. After a bit of faffing with timings and whatnot, finally on a baking hot 7 March Mr D and I motored over to her retreat – a few kilometres west of town. The Ashok Tree is a lovely ashram setting that serves as both an Ayurvedic treatment centre (residential or non-residential) and a retreat centre. On site there are two, three-storeyed guest houses, a large yoga/meditation hall, a dining area serving scrumptious food, and a building housing the doctor’s clinical area. Also on the ashram land is a small nursery school run as a charity for the local community. A wonderful serene atmosphere and probably a great place to undergo a residential #Panchakarma programme. Maybe next time!

In the meantime, however, I had a nutritional consultation with Dr M-Taj and got the low-down on the kind of approach to take on a new and improved regular diet. As Dr M-Taj pointed out, maintaining a good diet post-treatment is vital to ensure the detox benefits keep on rolling. Which is the point, no? Make sure I don’t lapse back into bad habits – like that bloody coffee thing.

Here’s a bit of what she told me:
Coffee – big fat no. Toxic. Poisons the plasma. Bungs up the joints. Crap! Double crap. I still love my coffee…..!!! 😱
White flour and anything made with it – another big fat no. Basically our intestines get bunged up with the stuff and the build up gets harder and harder to shift (or is that shit?!).
Garlic and onions – not recommended because they create extreme reactions in the body (I’m going to investigate that a bit further – it’s tough eating out and avoiding them).
Mushrooms – avoid. Can be toxic in the body. Quite frankly, again, fuck! I eat a lot of mushrooms. Especially here in India where the limited variety of veg can be frustrating. And I always thought mushrooms were a good source of vegetable protein. Bang goes that idea then 😞
– Other than that, stick to the usual criteria – fresh, whole, unprocessed, or rather lightly-processed foods.
– She also mentioned the macro & micro aspects of diet: macro is the carbs, protein and fat that are essential for survival – wholegrains, pulses & lentils (non-veg can be chicken or fish), good oils; micro is the good but less essential requirements of vegetables and fruit.
– Generally aim for a tridoshic balance with food – that means incorporating food combinations and cooking styles to satisfy all three dosha. For example, bananas apparently are mucous-forming. To balance that out eat with salt and pepper. Sounds disgusting no? Actually it’s not a bad combo with an added dash of lemon juice and sprinkle of cinnamon. And no mucous to boot!
– Dr M-Taj also recommended a Vitamin C fruit-and-juice fast one day a week (which I’ve not tried yet as I’ve been crazy busy since I saw her.)
– A new thing on the menu and which I’ve only tried once is kitchari. I’d already discovered that kitchari is not the same as kedgeree – which in the UK is a dish of rice, peas and smoked kippers but which I think comes from the original kitchari of rice, dal, veg and various health-boosting spices with lots of water all cooked in the one pot. Apparently kitchari is a good all-round Ayurvedic dish because it hits all the dosha requirements whilst also being easy to digest and, rightly so, is classed as comfort food. Mmmmmm.

#Panchakarma Comrade also went to visit Dr M-Taj for the very same reason. We’ve since had a chance to compare notes – and commiserate!

Speaking of #Panchakarma Comrade. Just before our respective visits to Dr M-Taj she came to my house for a visit. The first non-Indian visitor for Mr D and me. We had afternoon tea that was in fact good coffee (made by yours truly) and a couple of chapati. Yep, those chapatis are definitely a firm feature of my food intake these days. It was great fun giving #Panchakarma Comrade a tour of my Indian home and letting her sample my chapatis. And of course, as all good guests do, she was gracious with her comments on all she saw and tasted 😉

Living Room

The Bijou Pad – Tiruvannamalai, India

Because #Panchakarma Comrade had been finding the increasing heat of Tiru too much she decided to head north. As I write she is ensconced in a sweet-looking hotel room, with very necessary heater, wrapped in all her clothes and enjoying tea at its source. She’s in Darjeeling! Definitely a contrast with here. Anyways, as she was starting out her journey north by taking a taxi to Chennai I hitched a lift.

The Monday night just gone #Panchakarma Comrade and I had fun in Chennai shopping and eating. The following day, after breakfast and before I got to the reason for being in Chennai – a flying visit to see a friend – I walked from the hotel to the beach. Just wanted a glimpse and sniff of ocean air. After a twenty-five minute trot fending off several offers from auto-rickshaw drivers (and not just for the fare, two wanted to chat as they puttered alongside my pavement-pounding), I got beachside. Right next to a striding Gandhi replete with a crow on his crown.

Gandhi & Crow

Gandhi, replete with crow on crown – Marina Beach, Chennai, India

Marina Beach in Chennai is not only one of the longest beaches in the world, it’s also wide. I had to do that slushy, swivelling, mushy excuse for a walk across sand littered with debris and bits of broken glass to get to the ocean’s edge, but it was worth it. I sniffed salty air, my tootsies got an ocean soaking, and I got to view the familiar location of many a Tamil movie scene.

Ocean-Soaked Feet

Ocean-soaked feet – Bay of Bengal, Chennai, India

 

2017.03.20 - Marina Beach boats

Marina Beach, Chennai, India – oft-used setting for Tamil Movies

On the walk back I felt buoyed by all those ocean ions and also got the chance to make a quick stop at the local Waitrose. Yes! A Waitrose in Chennai!! Who’d have thought? (Unfortunately it was a banal and sad excuse for our UK version.)

Chennai Waitrose

Waitrose Supermarket, Mylapore, Chennai, India

Then at noon I met with the lovely woman who runs the Chennai Writers’ Circle and hosts a year-long short-story writing challenge which I did last year (anyone interested, let me know and I’ll pass on her details – highly recommend doing it if you’re into writing short stories). I’ve been wanting to meet up with her since last April! Bonkers!! Finally made it. We mooched around a bookshop together where she gave me great recommendations and then we had lunch. I saw a new part of Chennai and also got to meet her mum. Following a full day it was time for my return to Tiru on one of the least reassuring types of vehicles – a state-run bus. Last year we passed a bus that looked as though it had nose-dived into the road from the overhead bridge – the front axle must have snapped because the front wheels were behind the bus and looking like a pair of lost sheep wondering where the rest of the herd was. I have never, ever, not in all the years I’ve been travelling to and visiting India, seen a state-run bus that was anything other than a mess – dirty, dusty, rusty (really fucking rusty), cranky, noisy. God knows when they last put any new buses on the road. That said, mission to see my mate? Accomplished. Woohoo!! 🎉 🎉

Now back in Tiru I’m mildly depressed at the thought I’ve only three weeks left before I return to Chennai for a flight back to Britain. And that means I’ve got shit-loads to do, one of which is to do a spot of job-hunting. There is other news too, but I won’t be sharing that publicly just yet.

With just over two weeks since the #Panchakarma programme finished, what can I usefully report?
😞  The hair-fall is still a concerning issue.
😞  My flesh is not as firm as it was during the early part of the programme.
😞  For the first 10 days after the end of the programme I was constipated, but I’m not surprised. After 21 consecutive enemas acting like a hand snaking up my arse and grabbing a handful, I’m guessing my body needed time to readjust. Along with the lack of enemas is the fact the temperature has gone up which probably means my skin is doing the bulk of the waste elimination now (and yes, I am drinking bucket-loads of water…!). In the end it took up until I got back from Chennai this week for my daily motions to return to normal!!
😍  But – and this is the important bit – the awful, daily, energy-robbing, life-draining, dull-but-definite discomfort in my lower abdomen has gone. And that’s crucial. That’s what I needed. That was what was killing me – incredibly slowly, but very definitely squeezing the life out of my life. Every aspect of me was affected and afflicted. I feel freer in my body and in my mind, in my emotions and even in my personality.

So after all the labours of undergoing a #Panchakarma programme I endorse the process. Even though there were elements that needed to be handled more professionally and with better communication, I’ve come out the other side with the key health issue addressed. And I’m really fucking grateful. If I hadn’t taken the course, me and my life would have continued to be fucked. I’d have been dragging myself through endless days of failure upon failure, grudge upon drudge, disappointment upon dismay. The failure is still there, but at least I’ve got some energy to face and deal with what comes. As the slogan on one of my T-shirts says, “I’ve worked too hard to quit now.” You’ll have gathered by now I enjoy a proper bit of profanity, so I shall rephrase that to “I’ve worked too goddamn fucking hard to quit!”

Got #Panchakarma questions? Fire away. I’ll give answers from a novice perspective, answers that can help you ask a professional the better questions. Otherwise, knock yourself out – detox, clean out, find something that works for you, make it healthy.

White Flower Burst

And so it goes. And so goes love.
Health and Peace out beautiful people, wherever you are 😍  💚 😍

Flying Cats and Naked Neighbours

So, this morning I’ve had flying cats and the Naked Neighbour faffing with his hose.

Cats
Ever since we moved into this house we’ve had feline visitors. The first came as a young adult begging for some of the supper Mr D had just delivered to me from the nearest night-time fast food restaurant (fast food in south India means parotta or dosa with accompanying chutneys and what-not). Now and again the cat would come and we’d feed her our leftovers or some milk and biscuits (coz back then I always had biscuits in the house :-o). Then a couple of years ago she got knocked-up and came to see us more often, along with her three kittens when they were old enough. Likewise when she got knocked up again last year she spent a lot of her pregnancy on our porch. Unlike the first litter though, where I think only one kitten survived, this year all four of her kittens are doing well and are also frequent visitors. Unfortunately Mum cat has given up visiting us; the last few times she did she was always hissing at her kids; probably miffed she’d introduced them so now unable to enjoy our porch and hospitality in peace. But she’s a smart cat, I’m sure she’s found other benefactors. The other reason this last litter is doing so well is down to the Naked Neighbour (but I’ll come back to him in a moment).

Anyways, that flying cat thing, which might be the first kitten that’s now a full-grown tom, brutish and terrorising the kittens. A few nights ago one of the littlest girl kittens (I call her Barbie) was in her favourite spot on the windowsill by the kitchen. I was doing last things before bed when I heard a strange whooshing noise. I went outside to investigate. Big tom cat had Barbie cornered. I gave chase – me shuffling, cat galloping. When I got back to the porch Barbie was cowering by the front door. About to coax her away I smelt the distinct aroma of fresh pooh. She’d been so terrified that her bowels and bladder had both evacuated on the windowsill. Poor girl. She even stayed close as I shovelled the shit away and sloshed the sill and wall down. She desperately wanted to stay with me and I had a hard time encouraging her to let me get in the house and keep her outside.

So this morning when I heard low, growly meowing I once more went shuffling in my flip-flops from the porch towards the noise at the back steps. Just as I reached where the steps come down from the roof a streak of fur scurried down the stairs, past the railings, flew off the end of the walkway through the air, all legs and claws outstretched, for about 10 feet, bounced off the side of the neighbour’s wall down to the shrubby ground below and sped away as if Federer had just used him as a tennis ball. The image of a cat with everything extended, including his ears, leaping through the air in blind faith is seared into my mind. I’m hoping he won’t be back again in a hurry.

The Naked Neighbour
Thankfully, what’s not seared into my mind in any way, harmful or otherwise, is the sight of my Naked Neighbour, with or without his new hose. Seemingly he had to leave his last place due to his predilection for nakedness. Before I gave him the moniker Naked Neighbour, Mr D and I called him Canadian Swami. He’s typical of some of the older non-Indian fellas who live here – when not naked he’s usually dressed in a saffron dohti (with or without underwear I suppose) and with his long grey hair tied on the top of his head, his navel-length beard kept in order in three places by hair elastics. Mostly it’s just me that witnesses the occasional unintended flash of bare butt or genitals because of where my office is at the back of the house. The window overlooks the back of the neighbour’s house which has a small studio apartment and a large porch on the roof – that’s where Naked Neighbour lives. Apart from enjoying life unencumbered by clothes, he also seems to love plants. The large porch is filled with potted plants and shrubs. Hence the naked hose faffing this morning. Looks like he’s hoping to make tending his bushes easier 😉 Can’t say’s I blame him – he has got a helluva lot of plants.

2017.03.11 - Neighbours House

The Naked Neighbour’s Home

I’ll post another more panchakarma-related update soon. So wherever you are, perhaps indulge in enjoying your own nakedness now and again, but maybe not around any playful kittens…

Post-Panchakarma – business as usual, mostly…

Mmmmm, coffee. Morning coffee. Mmmmm. No worries, before I indulged I still started my day with hot lemon water, fresh watermelon and a small portion of masala yoghurt*.

And the watermelon tasted all the sweeter for being a gift from one of Dr A’s harem. She’d brought it from her village and was happy for anyone to have it. Being as it was my last day that meant I was the only one allowed fruit. Lucky me. Dr A also gave me the remainder of my smoking medicine – that’s it next to the watermelon. I’ll be honest, I’ve not yet used it on my own – I hated doing that smoke decongesting part each morning (Dr A forgot one time and the hope that she’d forget again lived on, despite that never happening) – but I’ll have a go soon. Also on my last day I got another special treat.

Dr A’s clinic premises are much in need of some house repairs and maintenance. She’s only been in the building the past three months, so clearly the lack of love is down to the current owners. That said, they’ve finally got on with the job of doing some work on the place (but only because Dr A is footing most if not all of the bill). The areas needing urgent work are the toilets/wetrooms. As mentioned in an earlier post, when I was doing that purge thing, the toilet was a lot less than lovely. So my treat yesterday happened post-enema when I got to inaugurate Dr A’s newest toilet bowl! Now that’s a first for me – an enema excretion leading to a toilet inauguration.

Anyways, back to that coffee, the one poison I’ve not given up, and other foods. Thankfully, one small cup of the hot brown stuff is enough now. I no longer need a whole pot. What I was more concerned about was the other crap I’d been shoving down my gullet in the name of nutrition. Namely low-value carbohydrates in the form of white flour products – bread, biscuits, tortilla wraps, parotta – as well as cheese and paneer. Being almost exclusively vegetarian in India means I’ve tended to add more dairy to my diet. Hence those bastard fat bubbles. Anyhoo, Dr A’s dietary recommendations are simple enough – no white flour, no nightshade vegetables** and drastically reduce the quantity of cheese, paneer and butter (yoghurt and ghee are OK). Does that mean I won’t ever eat any of those foods again? No! Will I pass up the opportunity to have a nibble on a small slice of full-fat gorgonzola, or sweet brie? Again No! Will I shun a dip into a bag of chips  (that’s fat french fries to my North American friends) from my favourite local fish n’ chip shop in south London? Abso-bloomin’-lutely not!

So maybe you’re wondering what the heck I got up to on my first day post-Panchakarma. Did I laze around? Did I get extra cuddle time in bed with Mr D? Or did I bounce out of bed with excitement and enthusiasm for a new day that came with knowing I’d regained some fresh freedom?

Yes – I luxuriated in getting up later than normal, then crawling back to bed with a book.
Yes – I grabbed my extra morning cuddles.
Yes – I enthusiastically set about starting on a spring clean of my house (the bathroom is now the cleanest its been in weeks).
No – I did not bounce out of bed, but I was thrilled, excited and gratified to have my days and my time back.

As I write, the day is well-started even though its not yet 8am and despite the greyness of the sky this morning. It’s a Saturday. The kids are off school and hanging out nearby, their voices raised in play and games – I think I hear the thud of ball on cricket bat. And although I’m not missing rushing out the house for my early Panchakarma start, I’m kind of missing the cycle ride along our neighbourhood lane when daylight has been but a dirty smudge across the lower part of the sky. At one end of the lane is a milking spot. Cows are led there each morning and evening for milking. A milk broker sits nearby. He collects milk from the cow owners and doles it out, for payment, from those without their own cows, each person walking away with a small, metal, lidded milk pail swinging from their hands. For a city chick like me, simple morning sights like that fill my heart with a soft peace and a quiet bliss.

And so, away from enemas and powerful rub-a-dub-dubs, life goes on – the chores, chucking things off the To Do lists, the cuddles and laughter, and the integration of all I’ve been through this past month.

I’ll be back with a few more updates as and when they happen – possibly a photo too (which’ll probably be disappointing in its banality, but I’ll have a go anyway).

For now wishing you, in amongst the regular maelstrom of life, your own moments of soft peace, quiet bliss and a bundle of fun too.

* yoghurt (curd) masala – basically yoghurt mixed with any combination of flavourings you like; mine was with salt, turmeric, freshly-ground black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, ground jaggery (palm sugar), and a drop of water; goes well with a chapati 😉

** nightshade vegetables include potatoes, aubergine (eggplant), tomatoes, regular peppers/capsicum & chilli peppers (the following links give more detailed information, but it seems the delicious potato, when green and sprouty, is potentially the most lethal)

http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/nightshades/ (the author seems to have tried to back-up the information with scientific research)
http://paleomagazine.com/list-of-nightshades-foods (a fairly full list of nightshade-inclusive foods)
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/4-myths-about-nightshade-vegetables/ (a counter-argument for those who like a balanced view on things)

 

Day 31 & 32 of Panchakarma – farewells and fresh beginnings

Folks. I’m done in, so this’ll be a brief post. But I’m delighted to say all ended well today. I’m done. Wooohooo!

Fond Farewells
In preparation for a thank you treat for the harem women, on the way home yesterday I popped into the local ladies handicrafts shop to buy cards and ribbon. After this morning’s treatments I picked up a length of strung jasmine outside the ashram where the woman who sells flowers is always smiley. Back home I wrote out cards, enclosed cash, attached ribbon and jasmine, and then pedalled back to the clinic for my last rub-a-dub-dub.

I had planned to dole out gifts after the treatment, but because one of the main harem massage therapists was leaving early I handed them out before we got started. As you can see, I wrote in Tamil the names of each of the three women I was giving cards to. We took photos, me and my Panchakarma Comrade. So now you can see the lovelies who’ve been pummelling, rubbing, tapping and using hot herb balls to do a (not-always so soft) soft shoe shuffle across my skin these last three weeks.

Version 2

Version 2

So that was my first Panchakarma treatment. In the next couple of days or so I’ll wrap things up properly, but as far as tomorrow goes – I intend to rest. It’ll be my first free day in three weeks. Whoop, whoop. Can’t wait!

Thank You
Thank you for keeping up with me. Having people check-in on the Panchakarma progress has been encouraging and much appreciated.

And a big shout out to Mr D who has been patient, caring, intrigued and supportive throughout.

Today, I thought I’d end this post with a poem by Mary Oliver:
– Wild Geese –
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Throughout my posting on the subject of my Panchakarma experience I feel:
– I’ve been telling you of my despair
– like “the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,” that I’ve now returned home to myself for a fresh beginning
– gratitude for your listening and creating a space in this quirky “family of things” out here in Facebook cyberspace

So anytime you need to, find someone to tell of your despair, of what your body loves, and (like the wild geese flying high in the clean blue air across the landscapes of your life), of all the ways in which the world calls to you, however harsh, however exciting.

Wherever you, however you feel, whatever your despair or your loves – travel well.

Day 29 & 30 of Panchakarma – acts of love and kindness

These early starts are proving a bit of a killer. I’m cream crackered mid-morning. I won’t be surprised come Friday morning when I just stay in bed, enjoy a wonderful lie in, laze around and snuggle up to Mr D. That’s the kind of colour and form coming into view now I’m only two days away from completion. Two days until freedom! Sweet.

Food and Love
However, the weariness is not just from clinic attendances, but also that darn pre-menstrual thing. Got the tell-tale spots too. So on Monday night when I was at that stage of feeling too tired to eat I nearly caved when Mr D suggested he’d head out and go forage for his supper. Not happy with that idea given he’s also in need of good food, I said I’d cook a simple supper for him. I said, “It’s an act of love and kindness. It’ll be my pleasure.” I made a quick but delicious dinner of nothing I could eat. But guess what? I did. That’s how come I know it was delicious. Food prepared and cooked with love – makes all the difference no?

Then yesterday while lying on the massage table I started imagining what I’d do for that night’s supper. When Mr D came to collect me he asked Dr A if I was allowed biscuits. She said no problem. Confession – I had a ragi biscuit yesterday! Then I though that was what he was on about, but when I got back home I discovered that all my cogitations about what to cook where cancelled out. On the stove was not one but two pots of beautifully cooked veg. To put that into context – in the eight years Mr D and I have been together (during which he has obviously performed many acts of love and kindness) he has never cooked us a meal. Ever! To come home to freshly cooked food on a day when I was feeling knackered – an awesome act of kindness that went straight to my heart.

Kolam Kindness
With regards my Panchakarma Comrade – she’s back on form, her splodge of difficulty not exactly passed, but more manageable. She’s also been keen on having Dr A have a kolam outside her clinic. A kolam (also known as a rangoli) is a design of powder created fresh each morning at the entrance to a person’s home or business. Frequently just white powder is used, sometimes a ruddy-brown powder is added as well, then other times they’re a fab splash of colour. Traditionally the powder was rice flour, but now most people use rock powder. Kolams are good-luck and welcoming symbols and the designs vary from simple dots and interlinking lines to all sorts of fancy stuff. With Panchakarma Comrade in refreshed and ebullient spirits, a couple of days ago she insisted Dr A have one outside the clinic. Dr A duly instructed one of the harem to set about doing that very thing. First up was the ritualistic prepping of the intended kolam area by sweeping and washing the space down, then it was out with a bowl of rice flour (no rock powder available) and on with making the kolam. As you can see from on of the photos, my Panchakarma Comrade was happy with the outcome.

2017-03-01-kolam-making

2017-03-01-kolam-complete

Monkey Care
Not long after leaving the clinic yesterday with Mr D we passed some monkeys perched on the top of a concrete wall. Because it’s a fairly narrow and pot-holed lane we were going slow enough for Mr D to spot that one of the monkeys had just given birth. We stopped. Signs of fresh birth matted the hair of the mother’s backside. Her new-born baby clung to her chest. The monkeys beside them were tending to the mother with so much care and kindness. Although I hated to intrude – as well as being worried we might get attacked for being so close – seeing the exhausted mother, the tiny baby monkey and their attendants like that, right next to the road in full view, felt like an amazing gift of natural kindness.

2017-03-01-fresh-monkey-birth-1

2017-03-01-fresh-monkey-birth-2

Gratitude
So despite not much to report on the Panchakarma front – bar the rising excitement that it’ll be over very, very, very soon – there’s been magic and beauty and kindness a plenty. I’m also taking the image of that new life as a symbol of fresh life flowing in me too. And no matter what else I say, no matter how tired or moaning I get, because of that fresh flow I continue to be really bloody grateful.

To all you lovelies everywhere – wishing you your own magic, beauty and acts of love and kindness.