Thangal, his wife and child picked me up at Trivandrum airport, he bought a small van and wanted to make good use of it. I was very happy to see them and to have been so welcomed. Mussafir, his son, soon to be 2 years old, was much more sociable, he seemed less frightened by strangers.
Unpacking, and setting up my house took a few weeks, I had two rooms repainted, those that were still in their original state, a gloomy color that I would call suicide blue. With the new paint on the walls in bright and happy colors, the house was welcoming, I was able to install my study room in the room at the front of the house. The roof floor terrace was a concern, it was in poor condition, unfinished concrete, lumpy, which trapped dust and dirt. No matter how clean it was, it was never clean. Two years ago I had repainted but it was not enough. I wanted to have it cemented, I had quotes made and I consulted the owner of the house for whom it had no value, his only wish was to increase the rent. Anyway I did not have time to complete the work before the start of the first yoga retreat, it would give me time to think and decide to pay for this work, and to negotiate a minimum rent increase for next season. The cost was very reasonable and I really wanted it done.
Meanwhile, Thangal and I had discovered a very beautiful swimming pond not too far from Varkala, where the water was very clean. We went there regularly and took Mussafir with us so that he could get used to swimming and understanding flotation. I bought him a scooter inner tube while we waited for the delivery of a full set of armbands and a chest support to float. With this, he was able to start swimming in the pond. He loved it did take long for him to float.
The first yoga retreat of the season was about to start, it was necessary to complete the installations at home and put mats on the roof floor to be able to give yoga classes there.
This year there were 4 participants, for two of them, regulars, it was their 4th time, for one of them it was his second, which the fourth to be this session’s newcomer to my retreat and to India. They had opted for the cheap guest house, no breakfast was included, Thangal and his wife agreed to take care of this stewardship and serve breakfast at my house after morning class. Everything went well, they all got along very well and enjoyed the lessons and the moments spent together. Three of them continued their holidays in northern India, visiting Varanasi, Khajuraho and Agra. What was not expected was the weather. Indeed, a cold spell fell over northern India accompanied by fog. This tainted their stay a little, especially in Agra where the Taj Mahal was not visible, hidden by the fog. The yoga retreat over, Christmas was approaching, the solar eclipse too. As far as my studies were concerned, I was progressing slowly. During the retreat, I got up at night to study for a few hours, then again sometimes during the day, it was a heavy load. The study program that I must follow is made up of 17 subjects, I progress one by one, it takes a lot of time. I will do my best to complete as much as possible for the June exam but I may have to set some aside for the September exam period. I wish I could go faster but the brain has its limits of concentration and ability to learn and it would actually be counterproductive to want to force things in. I notice that my rate of assimilation increases over time because the concepts begin to overlap between the various subjects and my mind may be becoming sharper, but it remains slow.
With all of that Christmas passed and the eclipse came with a lot of unplanned activity. I was caught in a little whirlwind that I hadn’t expected and I was very affected by this eclipse. A friend of the radical fairies who was to visit me around January 10 arrived overnight on the day of the eclipse. Another person needed my help finding accommodation the night before. I had planned to be calm and meditate, the reality was quite different. This eclipse was visible here in south of India and it was fabulous. It was only 90% but it was clearly visible and especially I felt it deep inside me, it made me go a little into my shell, a little withdrawn with a desire for solitude that I didn’t have given the circumstances. My friend left for Pondicherry 10 days later, I was able to find my way back into my space and prepare for the full moon which was also going to be an eclipse, lunar this time.
In the meantime we had returned to the pond but the water level was low and no fresh water entered it. It was no longer so clean. A man there told us about another place, a quarry where lakes had formed in the rocks. We went there and loved this new place. A beautiful place to bathe and also to meditate as well as to see the sunset and sunrise and to have your feet cleaned by small fish. We have been there a lot.
My friend left I could move on with the roof floor cement project which would keep me busy for another 2 weeks. The delivery of the sand (a huge quantity) that we had to hoist on the roof. A few days later, the team of masons did their job in one day. I took the opportunity to also redo the slab at the back of the house. Since the cement has to be watered, a 7-day process where the cement must be kept moist so that the process can take place and allow the cement to be hard and solid and prevent cracks. I had to cover the most area with sheets so that humidity was maintained and evaporation was limited. In terms of finish it looks not bad at all, there are a few small sloppy and missed places but it is minimal and surmountable and the overall effect is just perfect and a thousand times better than what it was. There is a smooth finish of red color which is common here, I am really looking forward to seeing the finished effect in its whole, in 3 days, I will nie able to remove the sheets and see it, set it up into a beautiful space and enjoy it. Peace and quiet and no more new projects at last… at least until the next retreat that starts mlid February, until then time for me to enjoy the quiet.