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

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane - Kolwan B

This is an ANL 'redub' taken from the lengthy letter produced at the time. It is being broken into dated entries here and some piccies being added.  This was a definite highlight in the two years!  Did you miss the start - go back one day.

Slept early and well despite a couple of wakeups during the night. Didn’t get my VS work done after all as the eyes were falling out by 9pm… big journey and heaps of country air I suppose.  Breakfast this morning was one of the few that I cannot eat due to its cementing effects in lower regions, so thank goodness for the goodies box!  At lunch there was okra stew – another that does not agree with me so simply took the chapatti and dhal – which were of superior quality I must say. One could find the lentils in the sauce and the roti so thinly rolled they melted in the mouth. I could happily live on just that for the rest of my stay.

Took some more rest post-brekky until 11am, when I set off down the hill towards the main office and shopping area – yes shopping. Vani is an enormous outlet for Chinmaya Publications and CORD** items, whilst there is a newish separate outlet now for ‘cultural’ items; very pretty and quality items of jewellery, home d├ęcor etc. At 11.45am we all headed into Maruti Mandir, (Sri Hanuman temple) for chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama. This temple is by the main entrance. Ganapati Mandir right at the top of the hill is out of bounds for yours truly unless I can persuade the wallah with the golf buggy to provide a lift!  On that note, I only jokingly put in the remark and, yesterday, regarding the infirm – but today it came true. After lunch, I went to view the Jeeva Darshana, which took quite some time and effort (there are seats inside, but are low and no handles to push oneself up with, so just as much bother as continuing to stand) – so by the time I emerged at 3.30pm, the old hip and pelvis were screaming a bit. Tried flagging down the mentioned buggy bloke, but he said he was late for a meeting (-!-) so I just sat down on the wall and rested. An older gentleman I had met at Sandeepany rode by on his scooter and offered me a ride… at the same time another very pleasant fellow walking down said not to worry he’d get the ambulance…

I must have been looking really in need.

The old fella was determined he was going to do the good deed so on I got and thoroughly enjoyed the scoot up the hill – only to find there was an actual ambulance chasing after me!!!!  Ramchandra Menon is the manager of maintenance here and part-time ambo, apparently. Anyway, it’s nice to know the care is there.

Thus it was I rolled back in my door by 4.30pm. Showered, washed hair and clothes (there are no auto facilities here so daily hand-washing required) and settled in for the evening. Am definitely on country go-slow time though. Even typing this is proving to be a demand on the brain. Hope I can get it functioning at speed for our first session with Swami-ji in the morning. The 'darshan' had required more of one than expected; talking headphones with full commentary as well as lots of written displays and the thing is enormous.  Loved it, but realised that listening and reading together don’t really work for a midlifemudhead so will revisit once, maybe twice more, to ensure I get maximum out of the exhibit. Definitely, as all have said before me, the room with the wax Gurudev leaves the strongest impression – I admit to spontaneous tears, which were a little unexpected.

Have spotted two birds not seen at Sandeepany (though one of them Sandeep says he has seen there). There are many different flowers, some native wildflowers and a few cultivars – all with blooms still on the plants. That will change now we are here; already our South Indian 'wifies' are pulling them to pieces, despite all the signage saying don’t. Having said that, I have in this matter become a hypocrite – for there is an abundant yellow shrub from which I have a plume in my room, given that none can be seen in the vista from my window. To be accurate, I didn’t do the ‘actual picking’, one of the SI sisters did it for me. Don’t think that avoids making me an ‘actual hypocrite’ though!

**Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development, a program of empowerment in self-employment focused particularly on women.


  1. Hari Om, Yam! I love the idea of slowing down to a state of extreme relaxation. And the chapati sounded yummy! Indigo x

  2. Re reads are great. Yes their chappatis are perfect. By far best food. And yes I had tears in th wax room as well. Went back in there three times. Looking forward to this time too.

  3. Hari OM
    Indigo - those roti were as soft as angel kisses. There's a thought for you!!

    Mahal - yyeeeaaahhhhh!


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