Beach Days and Free Classes – Arambol, India

 I have been here for more than a month now and am feeling really comfortable. It is a well known fact that people come to Arambol and have a very hard time leaving. If you haven’t left after three days, well, there is a good chance you are stuck. It’s something of a joke when people say they are leaving tomorrow. Inevitably another “lifer” chimes in reminding them that they said that last week. And the month before. I guess my excuse is that I am actually making progress here. Why would I leave if I am feeling happy and getting the book done? I have one week left until my self-imposed deadline. I am pretty well on track but the last few days have been a bit too lax. I will have to knuckle down now as I see that distractions are coming steadily and strongly.

 Now that it’s getting warmer, I have been making it a point to get into the sea almost every day and have also developed a bit of color. The mornings are better for me since the waves are more gentle. By afternoon, the wind has picked up and it’s challenging to keep my head dry when the surf does it’s best to topple me. There is always that random wave that comes out of nowhere and is two feet too big for me to manage. Anyway, I like the peace of the mornings when the day is still fresh and the possibilities are endless.

The only thing I don’t like about the beach are the hordes of touts bothering every two and a half minutes, forcing me to be rude. If they detect even an ounce of softness, they will persist ruthlessly. One lady really got my goat when she employed a very intrusive technique of casually smashing her heavy bag of jewelry against everyone’s feet as she sauntered by the sunbeds. She jarred me out of a deep rest and I snapped loudly at the disregard for boundaries and personal space. She just smirked arrogantly and held up her wares, continuing with her spiel. I groaned and flipped over, only to discover an unkempt Indian male hovering over my head.

“Massage? You want foot massage, back massage Madam? Madam?”

“Noooooooooooo!” I wailed as I buried my face into my towel. Less than a minute later, two more tried their luck. There really is nothing you can do about them. I really wish I had a music player and could just stick in my headphones.

I am really enjoying going to the free classes at Woodstock community school (on Facebook “Woodstock Free School”). This is a place near the center close to the beach where anyone with a talent can offer to teach their skills. Every day there are language lessons, several kinds of yoga, dance, crafting, meditation, and other useful skills to be learned. I have taken part in the yoga and self-defense so far but would like to get into the clay or woodworking as well. I was asked to teach yoga one day when the teacher couldn’t make it but luckily I was saved by someone more qualified. I love the family atmosphere and adore the kitten who tromps around the site. I snuggle and love her up every time I get a chance.

 I am doing so much better with my health now except for a few chocolate hiccups. I guess there are worse temptations and the occasional indulgence keeps me real. I have been having sleep trouble though since the nights are getting so much more hot and humid. It even rained the other day for the first time since I’ve been here. The day after, everything green started shooting up like wildfire in the sweltering sun and I got a tiny taste of what monsoon is like.

 Grateful for sharing skills.

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