My apartment is on the side of a Gokulum house. Gokulum is an affluent neighborhood in Mysore. I guess the Baltimore equivalent would be Roland Park. It’s funny to think about Roland Park, if in fact, thousands of yoga tourists descended on it every year, moving into the houses, filling the restaurants, and parking their scooters everywhere. LOL
There are 19 steps outside my door. I lock the old silver latch with a skeleton key and descend. The staircase ends on the family patio. The concrete floor marks the main entrance to the house. I think these massive houses all have apartments because every family hopes their son will return with a bride to live at home.
Mr. Ganapathi waters the plants early so I always see him first. Hello I say. I go through the iron gate, with its big latch and golden ornate flowers. I make a left onto Krishna Temple Road to see the first pink light in the east. There is a small park that I have never entered because it seems scruffy and dusty and the roads somehow seem nicer. The streets and those who inhabit them enjoy the shade of large old trees: palms, locust, and jacaranda. I approach the temple smelling the incense first, then seeing the red and white of the striped walls. There are specific decorations that identify this property as temple including murals, painted gates, sleeping dogs and shoes left on the steps. The second temple gate goes to their yoga shala; I look in every morning curious to see how Indians practice. Mostly, from what I can gather, they sit and meditate and practice pranayama; I have also seen them practicing sun salutations with seed mantras: hram, hrim, hraum, hroom.
I continue down the hill to Sarawathi's Shala Road. The coconut man is already there serving the first students. They are finished their practice and have made room for more like me to arrive for the second shift.
I open one more gate with a familiar creak and head up the stairs. The shala is yellow, the stairs are metal, the landing concrete and covered in shoes.