DAYS 3, 4 & 5 – 20th September – 22nd September 2009

By the third day at the Ashram, we had all slipped into a routine – we knew what do when, what to pack for the various treatments, when to fix our massage appointments – before or after mud therapy, when to have our various juices and when to reconvene for lunch.
Our mornings, once we had our kaadha, went in a blur. Each of us did our own little individual routine and our paths crossed at frequent intervals. The treatment centre was a few yards away from the dining hall and we took every chance between treatments to go back there and have the juice of the hour. By the time we finished we were rushing to have lunch or fruit or fruit juice – whatever our choice and we then co-ordinated and met up for lunch.

Over these few days, we discovered that whatever we did our juices were important.

We knew how to time our visits to the doctor so that we could minimise waiting time to the least.

We figured out how to buy our fruit and even get it peeled, cut or shelled (in case of pomegranates) by the fruit sellers.

We explored and found a larger, greener circuit for our morning walks.

And last but not the least, austerity drive notwithstanding, we figured out how to make the most of our evenings! But more about that later.

Over the second and third days, each of us made an individual visit to the doctor. The doctors here are of the firm belief that a fruit diet would be good. On the third day, I agreed. The next 2 and half days I would have only fruit. NF had already started it the evening before. SS decided to do fruit once a day. We’d plot and plan our fruit meals – the main meals and the in-between ones! What Naturopathy recommends is that you eat only one fruit at a time. So we would decide our fruit array for the day, make a trip to the fruit sellers at the gate and pick the choicest of what we wanted. The good thing was that all three of us loved fruit. So we’d make plans at lunch about what fruit we’d have for dinner only to go there and discover that only that particular fruit was not available. We’d quickly revise our plans and continue. No musk melon? Ok… papaya will do. We managed to make quite a feast of our fruit meals: going through the whole gamut of fruit options: papayas, pineapples, pears, guavas, chikoos, custard apples, pomegranates – all these hit our dining lists!

The evenings became the high point of our day. Having finished virtually every activity by about 6:30 pm, we had an evening stretching out before us. We’d go back, shower and change, pack our stuff for the next morning’s hectic activity and then regroup in my room for “the evening entertainment”! With a handy laptop, some DVDs, and some downloaded videos, we were all set to have one memorable evening after another! After all, seeking entertainment was in our nature!

To top that SS had carried a pack of UNO – the fun playing card game. Thanks SS. While I had played UNO earlier, we did one trial run before we actually started playing. Once we did that, I got extra smart and decided to teach SS and NF some clever strategies on winning the game. I must modestly admit, although my innate humility does not allow me, that both my students were quick on the uptake. It is entirely to my credit that, by the next day I could not win a single game. So much did this combination of pride in successful teaching and humiliation of getting defeated rankle, that one evening I told them that we would not stop playing till I won. I think out of sheer respect for my L’Oreal-ed white hair, NF and SS sportingly gave in and we played bleary-eyed late into the night. When I won, I am not sure which one of us was the happiest. I sure was.

The cottages and room complexes in the Ashram had thematic names. Where we stayed the theme was seasons. So there was Vasant and Shishir and Hemant. We were in Sharad 4 and 5. In the Ashram we were identified by our rooms. Sharad Char (four) was mine. Later on, it was to get a higher title: Sharad Char – the Entertainment Centre! By the third or fourth day we had made this pretty much one. Except for Dolby Surround Sound, I think we had everything! Well, sound was an issue on a laptop and we could barely hear the movies. Also because laptops have an LCD screen we had to position it just so, for all three of us to see the video without any dark shadows. Which meant the laptop had to be pretty close for us to hear well, but far enough for us to see clearly. Over three days, NF had it mastered to theatre perfection. For rest of our stay there, that was the hi-fi arrangement that we stayed with. And enjoyed. Thanks NF!

When NF and SS trooped into my room in the evening, they brought with them their own pillows as backrests. The evening entertainment began with a few games of UNO. Then came movie time. SS managed the lighting. NF the rest. On my part I artfully pressed the ‘Enter’ button on the laptop. The laptop itself was placed on a plastic chair thoughtfully provided by the Ashram for that purpose (or so we thought).

If someone were to chance into our room, their reaction would have been appropriately dramatic. There we were, three of us, comfortably cushioned, sitting in a single row, on two single beds joined together, watching a movie on a laptop – the laptop placed on a chair – the chair perched on the bed!
Well, entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega!