Chapter Eleven: Toronto Debacle
The next summer a couple from Toronto contacted me and wondered if I would be willing to cover for them for three months during the winter while they went to Mysore. I had practiced next to him every day in Mysore the previous season and he knew my practice. I told them I would. They paid for my ticket to Toronto. The only catch was that I had to convince customs that I was only staying for a week, and they were going to buy me a separate ticket for the return in the spring. I flew into Toronto, even though the whole thing seemed completely off. When I got there, they took me to the studio two or three times to get me oriented and gave me the keys to their Mercedes SUV to make the commute from their upscale home in the suburbs. It was a small studio on the second floor of a commercial building. I was going to cover for their Morning Mysore classes and the Led Primary on Sundays.
In the room practicing was an IT guy from the states that my gaydar picked up on in India. I had avoided him in Mysore and only saw him at the gate to the Shala at four o’clock in the mornings. It was like I could not cop a break. They had me give him the adjustment for Karandavasana, which is where you go into Pincha Mayurasana, fold your legs into Padmasana or Lotus Pose while you are inverted and then slowly roll down your spine and rest your knees on your forearms and hold this position for five breaths and then roll back up to Pincha Mayurasana, release the Padmasana and then jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana or plank position and go through the vinyasa. It is another gateway pose and is the most difficult in all Intermediate. You stand in front of the student as they are preparing to come up into Pincha Mayurasana, being careful not to get kicked in the face, at which point you assist them in folding their legs into full lotus, grabbing their hip bones and lowering them down onto their forearms for five breaths and raising them back up into Pincha Mayurasana, and again being careful not to get kicked in the face as they release Padmasana or Full Lotus and then allowing them to jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana. This is another one of the most challenging assists. I had no opportunity to give it and the couple was not impressed with my delivery.
After the IT Guy finished his practice, he came over and gave me a hug as this was going to be his last day before returning to the states. The couple observed this with disdain and approached me and told me they had changed their minds and were cancelling their trip to Mysore and were sending me back to the States. They said they thought I had more experience teaching a Mysore class, but it was obvious to me once again the gossip had caught up with me and I was being given my pink slip. I was disappointed but not surprised. I had had a precognitive dream about the trip shortly before I left. In the dream I had experienced their sparkly clean white kitchen on the third floor with a view and their laundry room which was down two flights of stairs to the ground level and just outside the attached garage.
It was curious I had had a dream about this since I was being sent back. This somehow indicated to me I could fill the substitute position even though it did not manifest. My initial ticket I had arrived on was for a week, so they had me stay out the week and then they took me to the airport for my return flight. This was awkward. One of the requirements for the position was I keep their cat company while they were gone. I demonstrated my capacity to do this. I had also researched and found a very good tabla teacher in Toronto, so was very disappointed I was returning.
I had spent time in Toronto in the early seventies when I went on a road trip with a woman in her VW Van. We separated and I spent time in a tent city in Toronto and had explored the city. The morning they told me I would not be staying they sent me out for a walk and finished the class. Toronto had really grown since I had been there forty years earlier. They took me to dinner at several Indian restaurants during my stay and I had several awkward nights watching television with them. I was staying in their guest room which was luxurious, and I had my own bathroom. It was not meant to be.