Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ashram, Hennaed Hair and Threading before 30

What did I do on the weekends that I was "supposed" to be in Malaysia? I overindulge in self-pampering. Last weekend, I got my nails done and a full-body Swedish massage at Spa.ce, a spa on Cunningham Road. Being a massage whore, Spa.ce more than met my expectations. The interior reminded me of 17th century Chinese merchant house and the tranquility and serenity of the place is so pleasing, I almost forgot how pissed I was for not being able to board my plane the night before.

This weekend, my yoga friend Pritika said she was going to an ashram about an hour outside Bangalore and I shamelessly invited myself. The swami himself was in Bangalore and will be giving kalpataru darshan and since this weekend was supposed to be cosmically special (because the stars are aligned or something), the whole ashram was overcrowded with devotees coming from Tamil Nadu to Kerala. The hall we were in had a capacity of 1000 people but since they won’t turn down anyone (including Pritika and I who were late for the event), the total attendees came up to over 2000! All I could think about was the recent temple stampedes that killed a few hundred people.

No, I didn’t get enlightened nor did I get see any blue snake but two strange things happened. During the earlier session, swami asked us to close our eyes and sit straight and gather all our sorrows, sad emotions and thoughts. He repeated this about fifteen times and out of nowhere, people started to wail. It’s bad enough I can hardly concentrate on picking the right thoughts to gather, I was distracted by the guy sitting next to me who was shaking spastically from crying. Before I know it, tears were trickling down my cheeks.

After the second session, swami would give darshan (blessing) so everyone formed two lines on the sides of the hall. We were given strict instructions (knell on the side of swami, close your eyes, lift your arms and ask swami something. you may also give swami a non-aggressive hug). Pritika and I waited in line for two hours and then realized people were cutting in front of us. So Pritika came up with a brilliant plan; to tell the ladies in front that I have to get on a flight at 1am to Malaysia, which is partially true because I am indeed getting on the flight the following night. I couldn’t stop cracking up (we’re not supposed to talk or laugh) but I felt so guilty for blatantly lying in front of the swami in this very spiritual place just to be blessed by a holy man before I turn 30.


The grays on my head are not new. They are not there because of aging nor are they there due to stress. My brother started getting them at the age of 12 and my sister has a few strands as well so it must be hereditary. In any case, in striving to be au naturale, I got my hair hennaed at Ayush. It’s messy and doesn’t smell too pleasant but I’m glad I didn’t have to do this myself. I read about how you should leave the henna mixture on your hair for at last two hours and as a result, you will have “dark and shinny looking” hair. At Ayush, they would ask you to rinse it off after 30 minutes but that’s because they want to attend to the next customer. Knowing this info in advance, I brought a shower cap and was set to walk out of the store with my head covered. I left the mixture on for three hours and as a result, my hair is softer and darker with a hint of auburn color.

I can’t leave India till I get threaded at least once. I don’t have much facial hair to begin with but the fine hairs are most time consuming to pluck. On my way home from Ayush, with henna in my hair, for Rs50 (US$1.10), I got my brows and upper lip threaded at Salon Mousse (12th Main, Indira Nagar). It took the beautician 2 long threads, a total of 3 minutes and not a trace of redness on my sensitive skin.


Kid Loco said...

You should totally try the henna from Lush! I haven't yet but I'd love to, it turns your hair red, chestnut, black or brown depending on what you want... sounds interesting!

Jaime said...

oh wow, your hair looks awesome! Good job on the blogging, Po. Keep it up! ;)