India and the Festival of Ganesha


For as long as I've been practicing yoga I've known I'd visit India, but I put it off even telling people I had no desire to visit when it came up in conversation.  It was true, I didn't actually desire to visit India, but I knew I'd go as well as I know my name's Alisha.  I've avoided this trip for at least 10 years, I feared it.  Before my sister Ann moved here all I could see were obstacles, the price of the plane ticket, the full day of travel, the jet lag, the vaccinations, the language barrier, the cultural differences, my propensity for illness, the poverty, the time away from work that would be needed and I couldn't imagine how it would ever happen. But as intimately as I know the feeling of my own heart beat I knew that India was more of a question of when, not if.  When Ann moved here I began to feel something shift and I knew Synchronicity was at play, like a door was being unlocked if I was willing to turn the knob and push it open.  Ann moving to India felt like the monsoon rains that are needed to bring the Hindu god Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) each year during his festival season.   Over the last year I could feel Ganesha's fat belly digesting what felt like obstacles blocking my travel to India and helping me see them for what they were, that is; the path to India.  

Ann gave me a Kurti so we could be same, same today, my first day in India

Ann gave me a Kurti so we could be same, same today, my first day in India

I made it through my three flights, 22 hours of sleepless travel, the anxiety of standing in the immigrations line wondering if I'd secured my visa correctly, found my bags and sighed with relief seeing that the beer and hot sauce I'd brought Ann and Kory hadn't broken and leaked over everything.   When I quickly spotted Kory after exiting the airport just before midnight I literally jumped up and clobbered him with a travel stank filled hug.  Under the cover of a glowing night sky Mumbia greeted me with the muggy humidity of monsoon season; this is my kind of weather.


On the rickshaw ride to East Bandra where Ann and Kory live I drank in the sights and sounds I'd been anxiously anticipating.  It was difficult focusing on Kory's words while he talked to me over the hum of the rickshaw, and overwhelming sensory distractions of loose dogs, assaulting odors, bright lights, and sounds of honking.  Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, or the dehydration for that matter, but on the short rickshaw ride in I had the comforting sense that I was powerless, it felt like someone was whispering in my ear "if you want to enjoy this trip treat it like a rickshaw ride, don't hold on too tightly.  Let it all unfold naturally or you'll miss the magic".    


Finally to our destination the Ascend International School, Ann greets us at the security entrance of their building and I feel instantly at home.  My head is beginning to throb with dehydration and lack of sleep as I try to hold tightly to each initial impression.  Ann pours me a water and a glass of wine, we toast to togetherness and huddle in my room while I begin to unpack and settle in.  Ann gives me a piece of leather art that displays Ganesha and is meant to be placed on a lamp shade to help soften the mood.  She knows I picked this time to visit because I'd be here over the Ganesha festivities 


As I write to you Ann's living room is spacious and flooded with light, up on the sixth floor.  Long horizontal windows run the length of her living room framing a panoramic palm tree and sky rise filled view of Mumbai.  I'm watching the clouds roll in and out dumping rain on parts of the city and leaving other parts in overcast light.  It's as visually dramatic as it sounds.  A Heilocopter is making it's way from the coast over the building and appears to be heading towards the airport behind us, I can hear the hum of the chopper blades as it flies overhead.  honking in the street below wafts up to my ears, but up here on the 6th floor it's still as if I've been wrapped in a quiet cocoon.   

My wish for you, is that you experience the energy of Ganesha today and that you find anything that's felt like an obstacle turn into your path.