Time for some self centeredness in Kerala. Friends of mine had been going to Somatheeram, an ayurvedic resort in Kerala for years but it never appealed to me, I didn’t like the decor (yes I can be that shallow) my inner World of Interiors guide just wasn’t having it BUT given my basic needs of the moment I gave it a second look, then a third and thought ffs lets give it a go. Monsoon rains and strange world wide weather patterns aside it would be ridiculous not to go somewhere in India considering I was already here. My health was number one, I’d had 2 weeks of low grade Delhi belly (thankfully over), a trapped nerve in my neck nagging away, and feeling a little anaemic – time for an MOT, so it made sense to go to the all hallowed ayurvedic source and just do it. I had ‘stuff’ I wanted to think about, books to read and the usual ‘where am I going to live for the next 6 months’ logistics to sort through. The living plan is still a mystery except for the fact that I need to be in London more often than not to work on Myhibi.com… for now.
I like Steve Jobs‘s approach to ‘what’s next?’ Trust, a lesson I’m slowly but surely learning, I’m a late developer. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Thanks Steve.
Back to Kerala. I withdrew most of my reservations about the resort. On arrival I was shown to my very agreeable round spacious sea view cottage with a large bed with white sheets, (no dodgy bedspreads and curtains as seen on the website) and a big CLEAN white tiled bathroom. With the sun slipping away and the heady scent of jasmine floating up from the flower necklace they gave me (I kept it next to my bed to wake up to) I settled in happily. I worked out quickly the next day there was a free shuttle to the sister resort Manaltheeram nearer the beach with a nicer pool and restaurant good work O’Keefe!
At sunrise the arcs of palms trees appeared through the bamboo slits of the blinds, the waves crashed in, tropical birds and nutty church festival music (think Walker Brothers, David Lynch film score and trad Indian music rolled into one – that’s what I heard anyway) over tannoys from the beach gave me a foretaste of what was to follow for the next fortnight. Plates of papaya, lime and pineapple, gardens throbbing with hibiscus, gazing out to sea, mostly slathered in herbal oil from head to toe I slid about the place in my green standard issue hospital gown along with my fellow guests going about their ayurvedic day.
If you’re curious about doing an ayurvedic programme, here are the tailor made treatments administered to me by Sholpa and Sunita my conscientious A team.
- Nasyam – Ghee poured into my nostrils. NEVER again!
- Udvarthanam – herbal powder body rubbing treatment.
- Abhyanga & herbal body pack – marma pressure point massage
- Kizhi – Scrubbed with medicated herbal boluses (linen pouches)
- Face massage, head massage – going to miss those.
- chavutti – thirummal – worth clicking the link, Keralan massage via therapists foot
- Sirovasthi –Lake of heated oil on my neck
- Dhanyamla Dhara – Herbal water shower
- Steam cabinet – see below
- eyes drops and ear cleaning (with medicated smoke – v monty python!)
- tinctures, potions and pills
Meditation, Yoga, Keralan food – so good, walks on the beach, house boats on the back waters.
I depart a soft skinned, streamlined Goddess (3 kilos lighter) a little wiser to the world with a keen appetite for setting about the next phase of Myhibi.com, spending time with missed friends (and hairdresser), culinary adventures – so many of them and seeing London with new eyes.
As for the thinking part I’ll leave you with this passage from Rainer Maria Rilke.. beautiful and so true. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Oh, and ” If you want religion, look within. If you want exercise, walk to the wine shop”. The very fabulous Peta Mathias (new friend and fellow antipodian).