Chapter Five: Fifth Trip to India

The kirtan woman had contacted me that summer and wanted me to “hook up” with her in New York on the way to Mysore as she was going to be teaching a yoga workshop there and giving a kirtan. I was horrified. I told her I would meet her flight at Heathrow, and we could go on from there. My flight was late and by the time I got to the gate for the flight to Bangalore, she was waiting for me and holding the plane. I went to kiss her on the cheek, and she jerked away. She had had me book seats on the flight, and when we got on, refused to sit next to me. She found a vacant seat on the back of the plane. A car picked us up at the airport in Bangalore to take us to Mysore. We both sat in the back, I told her the teacher from California had been in my hometown, she said she had not heard that. I told her the woman told me she was just using me.

The Kirtan Woman had to leave Mysore a month before me, and the same thing happened to me with her as did with the woman who owned the studio in my hometown. She asked me to call her weekly to tell her the gossip. I thought this odd as the first verse of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is yoga chitta vritti nirodhah. Which roughly translates yoga stills the fluctuations of the mind. Thus, gossip has nothing to do with Yoga. The woman who owned the local yoga studio approached me before I left and said to me, “the only reason homosexuals go to India is to sleep with young boys.” I was horrified and found out she told people I had said it to her. I was supposed to be calling the kirtan woman to tell her the gossip and I became the gossip.

At first, I was receiving regular emails from the woman who owned the local yoga studio. About the time the teacher from Seattle arrived in Mysore, she stopped emailing me. It was then people started reacting oddly towards me. I thought it was because of what I had blurted out to the teacher from California. A woman from Finland who ran a restaurant for the yoga students approached me and asked if she should tell the Kirtan Woman or would I. I told her to tell her not realizing it was the gossip I was sleeping with young boys she was referring to and not I was gay. This was totally irresponsible. When I made my weekly call to the Kirtan woman she said, “you’re going to be world famous.” I thought she meant as a Gay Ashtanga Yoga Instructor. Intuitively I wanted to say, “I’m not sleeping with young boys,” but I could not even form the words to get them out my mouth.

That year I stayed once again in the Little House on the Roof of the House on the Hill. I was sitting on the steps waiting to go into to the Shala for Led Intermediate one Sunday and overheard a woman standing in front of me telling a story about coming to Mysore and going to Conference and being sent away by Guruji because she had not sent a letter telling she was coming. I blurted out, “I was there.” This was the first year I had gone to Mysore. We were all at Conference at Guruji’s at four o’clock in the afternoon. A woman came walking into the front sitting area from the back of the house. Everyone was shocked and did not know who she was. Guruji told her to go back around and come in the front door. When she came in, she sat down next to me. She was German and barely spoke English and was having trouble understanding Guruji, so I acted as a translator. She had been in Goa practicing with Rolf and came to Mysore to practice with Guruji. Guruji asked if she had sent a letter saying she was coming and when she said no, he told her to leave. I had not seen or heard from her since the encounter, and we began spending time.

So here I am attempting to have a platonic relationship with yet a third woman. She spoke German and I spoke English so there was a limited understanding between us, but somehow, we managed. She was taking Sitar lessons and by this point I was taking tabla lessons again from Sada Shiva Swami as the gossip had gotten to Auntie and she no longer welcomed me in her class. I and the German Woman would get together in the afternoons and attempt to play music without much success. I have found finding people a person can play music with is very difficult. She was not a fan of the Kirtan Woman and did not attend the kirtans. She had leased a motorcycle from Shiva, and I would go places with her on the back of the bike. This did not help my image. She was leasing a flat up the hill from the Shala past the main road. It was dark and cavernous but stayed cool in the heat. She shared it with a Yoga Student from Edinburgh. She enjoyed cooking and had me over to her flat to share dinner often.

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