Dear Mysore • 8 January 2013

Mantis confrontation

Dear Tasia and Karen and Chris. Dear Susans, Philip, Jimbo, PaulandJane, Dame Deva M. Dear DoctoRot.

Dear Shiva, in all your forms, from fixer to festival king. Dear Krishna Tailor, and the demure chin jut of a yes you give me every year on day one, when I ask for another bespoke meditation cushion. Dear Saraswati with your aura out to there and the eye roll to put American teenage girls to shame, and Usha with your easy no-BS wave of the hand, and wild son Sambhav-Spiderman with a cricket bat. Dear Guru early on Saturday morning when it’s just us at your coconut stand. Dear Mysore Carlos. Dear Three Sisters, chapatti mafiosas. Dear Sharath. Especially.

Dear big-eyed new kids, green as first graders, with your territorialism and your photos of the dye stalls at Devaraj market. Dear smug gorgeous cool kids, with your motorcycles and your shortlists and your esoteric Sanksrit knowledge, not to mention your knowledge of the location of Secret Breakfast.

Dear dusk-eyed ticket taker man at Dasaprakash, dear most beautiful chaiwalla son of the Amruth tribe, dear blond matriarch cow who guards the south entrance to 13th cross and fears no 3am lone motorbike. Dear obscene pool scene at the hotel formerly known as the Southern Star; dear Green Hotel tandoori salad (no capsicum); dear toothless small woman in white, glaring at me in the low entrance of Jayashree’s home. Dear trail of Krishna wailers in the morning; dear Kumar with your Osho aura and your Jesus ringlets and your benevolent superfriend advice in my ear. Dear Sunday-school led intermediate, with your chakra-blowout forays into third. Dear coconut chutney from Sri Durga Bhavan on High Tension Road. Dear Violet, trusty scooter. Dear dust-laced soot-mist in the mornings, when I’ve been to insane perfect joy and back three times over since waking, and now it’s time for post-practice 6am chai.

Dear puckish ghosts of Contour Road. Dear humans whose ashes clog my lungs on the shortcut past the crematorium. Dear Chamundeshwari on full moon nights on your hill. Dear humungus pure white birds in the rice fields on the road to Srirangapathnam. Dear Mohammed, whose prayer wails sound out the segregated Gokulam boundary every morning at 3. Dear rickshaw noise, in the background of every experience. Dear sweaty walls of KPJAYI, the closest thing I know to temple.

Mysore, Do you care that I miss you? Four winters with you is not so long. For all you know, I stayed away this year because I lost interest.

Just as well. I’ll not describe the ache in my belly, which arises sometimes when I don’t wake up on 13th cross. When I start counting the days until January 2014, I’m not going to mention it. Also, there is a very specific feeling that comes with the process of meditating on you every day, devotedly, and by choice: but again, that’s not for words to say.

To put words on this particular suffering would largely alleviate it. The second emotions like these get sentimentalized, they start to decay in to lies. Falling in love with a lifeworld on the other side of the world is so, very cheesy.

But it’s also sentiment that keeps me from saying more.

Because if I put this suffering into words, it will be outside of me. Then I will see it clearly, dis-identify from it, and it will disintegrate. Poof. Saying it will make it less true.

Some things are stronger when not spoken.

But I will tell you this.

That ragged edge on the upper inside-right lobe of my lung, right behind the big muscle that pumps my blood – that one raw edge that starts to vibrate and pull in on itself, and that becomes moist when the total sensory memories of you are strong… OH GOOD GOD so much pleasure flows into me if I just let that space stay open instead of contracting it down around the nub of missing you. Weird how that works. I'm going with it.

I would not miss this placetime that is here to me now for anything. Missing you makes this Ann Arbor winter so much sharper, cleaner, and more itself. There is something to that cliche about a little pain opening up the space for joy.

But there is little time to say it… because I’m off to bed. The alarm goes off at 3am here too. Mysore, you taught me to experience that as an art. 

Mysore Mafia 2011