Thursday, September 4, 2008

psst, said my spine to me

there’s no shying away from it, i was a sneaky little tattle tale at yoga this monday. and though the object of my attentions is a highly deserving candidate, i cannot deny the evidence that this struggle to reach for my toes is bringing me closer to school girl politics than to an immaculate mind.

it all began with over a spat for the space right under the instructor’s nose. i should have read the signs right then, since i consciously relinquished the front bench somewhere between developing acne and realizing that i was genetically coded to be unattractive in class room situations. this was when i quietly shifted base to the last bench and began producing paper planes and rude notes in a bid to save my soul. there was simply no other way to fend off the self righteous intellectual pustule my tam brahm mother (a teacher herself) had created.

perhaps it’s the decade i've spent outside of classrooms now that's dulled my memory, but from the very beginning of our motley gatherings over yoga, i began a tussle for the sweet spot next to the instructor with a career mum from hell. who spends her day catching up on the juiciest yoga tid bits doing the rounds among her friends and on the trusty hindi news channels. then she spends yoga class ratifying every niggling doubt that’s been raised during the course of the day – like whether yoga will make her fairer, whether it’s possible for a person to drop dead from it (as one of her friends apparently did), whether shilpa shetty’s bhujangaasana is superior to ours, whether kareena’s figure can be attained past forty, and so on. the remaining time she spends giving my belly dirty looks while accusing the instructor of not doing enough to ensure hers looks the same.

she is the soundtrack to which our class makes its valiant attempts at nirvana. she interrupts and whines and titters and comments and jibes and suggests picnics and disagrees and worries and tells us about her sex life and jokes and trades beauty myths and complains...and did i mention she NEVER shuts up? plus, since she wraps up her chai and bhel at least half an hour before i finish with my work day, she is always up front smirking as i walk past on my way in.

well on monday i made a special effort and got there fifteen minutes ahead of time. i did this specifically so i could teach my errant instructor the magic phrase ‘keep quiet until the end of class’. i told her the career mum exactly and effectively negated any amount of deep breathing we do. i insisted that unless her endless yammering could be quelled, we might better employ our evenings doing drugs and drinking ourselves silly. i was impassioned and eloquent and i guess i made my point, because when the career mum piped up ten seconds into the warm up she got her knuckles rapped. a few minutes later, when she contested the instructor’s method citing a shilpa shetty variation, she almost got her head bitten off. about half an hour into the proceedings, when she suggested slowing down the pace the instructor completely ignored her. this, as it turned out, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. she sat down, then lay down, then passed out until she could pull herself together enough to walk out the door.

to be honest, i am fairly certain it was nothing more than a temper tantrum, but watching this usually feisty middle aged woman reduced to a teary sulk on the floor made me feel horribly stupid about myself. she hasn’t been back to class since then and i'm waking up to the disturbing realization that i wish she would. what’s infinitely worse of course, is the sinking feeling that i am not doing yoga nearly half as well as yoga’s doing me.

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