'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menocarpination [men-oh-car-pin-eh?-shun]; the condition of creating havoc

There are days that the impairment of short-term memory causes a fair bit of strain. 

"Yamini-amma, you'll take the position of discourser on Wednesday."  Very good sir.  Thank you very much for the advance warning sir.  All I have to do now is work out which day this is and plan it out from there.  Sunday.  Excellent.  It's also Maha Shivratri.  Very auspicious - sure to mean good things.

Ashram life is a 24/7, 365/12, 52 out of 52 sort of concept.  Weekend?  Never heard of it.  Holiday?  Oh you mean Holy Day - another opportunity for activity.  Physical activity mind you, not book work this time.  For a crowd of folks who are majority book workers, this can be a bit of a jolt to the system.  Thus, the 24 hour festival that is Shivaratri having got over, it was decreed that the following day would, in fact, be a 'holiday' - classes cancelled due to inability to sit upright.

Went to bed at 6am.  Slept and woke naturally 3.5 hours later.  Hhmmmmmxxxxxoo.  Sigh.

There's a euphoric sort of day-after-the-night-before effect and one lingers on the bed having flung open the curtains to find a glorious early summer day (India has six seasons).  The mind slips out of one's control and recalls hazy lazy days of youth with long Sunday lie-ins.   The one time in the week when one could truly 'switch off' and let all worries slough away.

Naturally, the next day is Monday and the day after that is Tuesday.  Easy.

"Yamini-amma, are you ready?"


Look, don't go on at me about calendars, diaries, sticky notes on backs of doors and under the kettle.  (Don't ask.)

I lost track okay?!  It FELT like Sunday and days have to follow in succession.  Them's the rules.

"Yes sir" she glibly says and glides in her limpy waddly way up to the stage.  Alright, Lord, it's your turn - which verse?

For all apparent mental deficiency I am pretty cool under this type of pressure.  The sanskrit of this topic was of the easier variety so by sticking to that was able to hold my 5+1 minutes comparatively well.  Even raised a laugh here and there.  Come to think of it there was rather a lot of sniggering.  Even Acharya-ji was smirking.

As I returned to my seat through muted applause, the customary rechanting of the verse took place.

Only it wasn't MY verse. 

We are family here.  All sixty plus of us.  There is no such thing as embarrassment.  They all know my challenge.  So when I stopped short and spun round gawping at Acharya-ji, the place erupted.   I thought our revered leader might tumble from his chair. I nearly coughed up a lung.  Some of the little brothers were literally rolling in the aisles.

Laughter is a good medicine.  We are in an intense period of study now.  We are going to need a lot more moments like this.

I'll try and leave it to others to provide them.  


  1. Absolutely love it. Just reading it I am on the floor myself, giggling, pity Kraemer isn't here. he would have understood mum. And good old Jade dog with that look of hers. Those were the days.


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