Sunday, 18 April 2010


Thursday 4th March
I first think that I have had a reaction to yesterday's ghee treatment, I have a sore throat and a high temperature. But in fact I have caught cold from sleeping with too little on me the first night, temperatures drop quite steeply. 7h00 and second ghee treatment. More than yesterday. Disgusting stuff. I still have a temperature (this is quite unusual), but my sore throat has gone. I ask the doctor and he tells me to put salt in my porridge. Since yesterday, all I have to eat is thin rice porridge. Not very appetising.  I’m only having half of a small bowl, can’t manage more.

I  take my early morning walk after the ghee treatment and go in another direction, up the hill, where it is more built up, if one can call it that, brightly coloured houses, and quite a bit of building going on. Each house has a cow byre next to it with some remarkably attractive cattle.

The spot is so lovely in the late afternoon as the sun goes down, lots of local activity around the river. My balcony is very secluded, no one passes, no one can see me when I sit on it. It is always in shade. The sound of the rushing river is very pleasant.

Friday 5th March
Last day of ghee treatment. Hard to get down but I don't feel as bad afterwards as yesterday. I take my walk with Yoko, a very interesting, cosmopolitan young Japanese woman (my neighbour at ghee treatment!) who speaks perfect American English since she was partly educated in the States, and good French for having lived in Dunquerque for a year!

I've spotted a tiny bird, smaller than a wren and thinner, collecting nectar from a hibiscus (don't look for the bird in the photo, it isn't there!). And two flights of egrets, one group of 9, one group of 7, and each time the leader branched off to the left, the others kept on going. You see, I am watching nature as the doctor tells me to!

During my walk, I meet a fisherman selling his freshly caught fish from the river. Medium silver fish, the size of good sardines, a large fish the size of a small bass, an eel, two river crabs. How I long for a piece of fish.

People say I am losing weight. Not surprising, I'm not eating anything. My cold has turned to bronchitis. I cough all night and hardly sleep.

I am tired of washing with the jug and bucket in cold water. I never feel entirely clean. One gets so oily with the daily massage. My morale is going down and down, and it has occurred to me to chuck the whole idea in and go home. Ayurvedic treatment is not to be undertaken lightly! No picnic I can assure you, not the first week in any case.

Saturday 6th March
 I coughed and snuffled all night and have a temperature again. I have no early morning treatment, but  force myself out of bed at 7h15, wash in cold water and go out for a walk. This is the only time one can comfortably stroll otherwise it’s too hot. I take the rice field road along the river. Several people stop to talk but it is difficult to have a conversation with their limited, very limited English and my completely non existant Malayalam.

Back at my bungalow I draw a bit, the trees just near my balcony, which are very beautiful. The result is not bad, but I have forgotten to bring a rubber!

And the wonderful twisted tree across the river.
My washing is drying on bushes in front of my bungalow - I'm turning into a local!

At lunch I manage to wheedle a couple of poppadums to go with my disgusting rice porridge. Oh how lovely to actually taste something. I feel weak and light headed. I sleep for an hour, but am woken by the cleaning ladies. Room cleaning is optional here (optional for the cleaning ladies). If you ask they come, but only do what you ask them to do, no bathroom cleaning or floor sweeping for instance, or emptying waste bin, because I only asked for my bed to be changed.

I go doctorwards, he gives me some medicine and a couple of little black pills, like liquorice zan, which work immediately, unblock my nose and help my throat. Also a blue (very blue) pill for my throat which he tells me to chew. I chew it and he jumps up and down “No, chew!” I am chewing, I think you mean suck? Filthy pill. Have another for later,  but spit in out down the loo. Left my mouth entirely ink coloured. All ayurvedic medicine is foul. But most of it seems to work... I go to my immodest massage appointment. The girls are young, speak only simple English, which is a shame because one would like to communicate on a less basic level. They are lovely and the smile never leaves their faces. They use tons of oil and cover your hair in it.  After the  massage  they  help me down off the table, slipping and sliding, and into a square wooden box, very akin to stocks in an upright position. I sit on a sort of stool, with my head sticking out of a hole in the top and am locked in. Towels are wrapped around my neck, and I steam. The steam is produced by a pressure cooker with a hose going into the box! A very primitive affair but it works. I am a little wary of temperature control, afraid it might get boiling hot all of a sudden, but it seems to stay roughly the same, hot but bearable. After ten minutes they liberate me to cries of delight: “Good sveating!”, so I feel I have done my bit. They wipe me down to remove sweat and oil, and send me on my way.

Back to my primitive shower, which still refuses to give me any hot water, but at least there is cold. I wash my hair three times, my body once, put on my yukata and sit on my terrace till supper.

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