Last night there was high excitement amongst the yoga crowd – it was the night before a full moon, which means party time, whoop! Well, when I say party… What this really means is, perhaps, a slightly later night, maybe even post-9pm, and a relative blow-out meal, which might include culinary treats such as naan bread and (whisper this) meat or even alcohol if you’re really ‘out there’ (which we were).
The funniest thing was meeting friends at the coconut stand in the centre of Gokulum before the meal and marvelling at the beautiful crowd. The coconut stand is a popular meeting point and hang-out area for Gokulum yogis but, last night, it seemed to have morphed into a trendy London bar exhibiting the latest in Indian rustic chic decor. Gaggles of yogis with gorgeously honed bodies squeezed into tight jeans and designer flip-flops (men and women) supped coconut water fresh from the shell, occasionally throwing their glossy locks backwards in laughter at some hilarious joke from one of the gang. The mood was upbeat and excitable, as if no one knew where the night would take them. Realistically, though, it would probably take them to a wholesome organic restaurant and then onto an after-party of honey and lemon tea back in their room.
I had come straight from back-bending class to the coconut stand and thus my own contribution to the trendy metropolitan vibe was a red face, frizzy barnet and sweaty leggings. I felt like a Lakshimapuram bumpkin.
Anyway, our blow-out meal was at the brilliant Sixth Main restaurant in Gokulum (on 6th Main Street actually) – a cosy, family-run affair with fantastic curries at cheap prices and surreal music that plays big-band instrumental versions of classic tunes. The butter naans were a particular triumph – we all blissed out on carbs, with butter dripping down our chins, relishing this moment of comparative normality. Normality blossomed further after the meal when, after a consensus that we were all still a bit hungry, we ended up munching on fresh samosas and drinking lager surreptitiously bought from the special sectioned-off booze area in the Big Bazaar, where only men are allowed to go. (NB The Big Bazaar is the big, bizarre supermarket in Mysore that, to me, encapsulates the precipitous cusp that India finds itself on, between modernity and tradition – its utter madness probably deserves its own post at some point…)
So, all in all, our pre-full-moon party party night was a success – the true measure of this being the fact that we tipsily rolled into bed at the unheard of hour of half past ten. It felt good to put the wholesome yogic life on pause for an evening, and I honestly can’t remember when a chilled lager has tasted so good – there’s a lot to be said for abstemiousness, even if it’s just the sweetness of the subsequent reunion with vice… 😉