A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Something I want to remember...

This is a text by Maria Rosenstone, written in Frederick Leboyer's Inner Beauty, Inner Light - Yoga for Pregnant Women (pp. 187-188), which I want to remember...


"The celebration of birth begins with a sudden yet gentle release of the primordial waters. My body is awakened to a new movement within, not yet rhythmic, but strong enough to begin the breathing and the inner meditation that my teacher has given me. I continue to breathe while bathing and wrapping myself in a towel, when suddenly I am seized by an incredible tremor arising from the depth of my body. I hold to the window's ledge and, while watching the familiar mango tree in the yard become unfamiliar, my entire being is convulsed and drawn into itself.

I sense immediately that I will be continuously absorbed by this passionate movement until it culminates itself. I am now totally taken by this energy that is not separate from myself. With each rise of its force I feel the passage that I have become opening itself ever more and more, each breath seems to uncover a new space. There is only expansion now and no limitation is endured. The event tolerates no measuring, will not be in any way contained. It seems on the contrary to have contained my whole self. There is no choice to be had, the meditation is the dance.

A natural birth is a manifestation of spontaneous expression and cannot be schooled, urged, or thrust upon a mode of living that is not natural. It requires only a clear channel, a body in health, a mind in understanding, a whole being that is totally open. When the intelligence of the body is awakened, as through the practice of yoga, it will guide the woman throughout the pregnancy, making her feel perhaps more in touch with her self than ever before. She is then close to her own nature and ready to flow with the movement of birth when it begins.

The breath will move evenly throughout each phase. Conscious maintenance of the breath can be the means through which the woman retains the pulse of what is happening. She is then one with all that waxes and wanes, rises and falls, inhales and exhales. All of creation is with her as she becomes the very passage for life itself. And when the moment arrives to receive the fruit of her love, she is truly there in that silent, joyous space to meet the small one with reverence and wonder.

Birth can be seen now, not as a procedure separate from the living of each day, but rather as a proceeding from the very roots of it. The greatest preparation that can be made for the birth of a child is to allow for the constant arising of birth in one's self. And this arising can take place only in a space that is clear and free of all expectation.

The sublime energy that, when trusted to pass freely, will move the womb to open and empty itself, bringing forth the new life, will also sweep through the being of the mother, giving rise to birth and rebirth simultaneously and at each instant. The intensity of childbirth brings the supreme moment in which the usual hold on one's self can be shaken and undone. One falls into the exultation of life as it lives itself. Birth then is the occasion of vibrating with the universal rhythm, a moment to feel the perfect accord of what is below with what is above, a merging with the cosmic dance."

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Violin feelings during pregnancy

For those who don't yet know; I'm pregnant. Seventh month is over now, belly is really big, belly button pops out, and I finally have that brown, vertical line across it. A real pregnant lady, ha! Now I clearly feel Baby's heals popping out against the upper wall of my tummy; I feel the little hard balls really well. It's funny! Yesterday one kick was so strong that it came to me by surprise, as though it was going to tear through my skin. Huhu.

Last September when Vijay and I came back from Europe, we brought back my second (study-) violin with us. My intention was to have an extra violin for potential students, because of course you cannot buy a violin here in Khajuraho, and I was thinking, that way any new student can at least borrow my study violin during class for practice. But of course I haven't had any new student while pregnant, and even my only one doesn't come as often as he used to because most of the time I just can't be bothered teaching. So a few months ago, seeing my old Western music sheets in the violin case and realising the latter still contained my (really good) Western strings, I suddenly did what felt completely crazy and bold and daring: I grabbed my violin, tuned it back to Western style, and tried out some of the old pieces! I had been getting so bored just playing slow alaaps in Raag Bihag on my own, as somehow it had been the only raga I had felt like playing because it's sweet and feminine, and because I just don't feel like playing fast, rhythmic stuff during pregnancy! Being in Khajuraho all the time with my only student as musical friend isn't exactly inspiring to practise much either. Always on my own with no-one else to play, booh! So that day I decided to go back to the easy, cute Western tunes I used to play back in 2006-2007! Minuets, rondos, sonatinas, waltz... And my, oh my! What fun! It was so refreshing to play something completely different, not wondering what the heck I could play, and having to work through getting used to the Western tuning again! For a few days I still played in the Indian position because it felt a lot easier, but after a while I started using my shoulder rest and practising the Western, upper position again. It is so nice to be able to move or dance while playing, too... Also, now I have to say my big belly is making the Indian position somewhat uncomfortable, because I have to bend down more and it reduces Baby's space, so after a while it hurts around my rib cage. With the Western position (which I am pretty comfortable with again now) I can keep my torso more upright and stretched, so it's more comfortable. Who would have thought!? I know... Pregnancy and its surprises...

And did I mention I gave up on working towards the third year of Prayag Sangeet Samiti examinations this season? Well, I had no motivation whatsoever. I had clearly been planning to take those exams in Varanasi before I was actually/seriously pregnant, without knowing the reality of my pregnancy. Last October when I was in Varanasi (at four months of pregnancy) I went for just one class with my Guruji. We played Raga Jog, which is quite funky, and which I normally like, but somehow, I guess under hormonal influence (haha!) I felt it was very masculine, and I didn't enjoy it at all. And as soon as Guruji speeded the pace up, for the jhala part of the improvisation, I just couldn't play. I just couldn't; it was horrible and I had to stop. It just didn't work; it just didn't happen; my limbs stopped moving! Suddenly I felt bored and exasperated by such speed, yes, such masculinity that I couldn't be bothered anymore. It was a very novel, interesting feeling, which really came up to my surprise. With it I realised that I wouldn't have any motivation to work towards taking a violin exam, and I didn't want to force myself during this unique, meditative period of my life. It was too important to listen to myself and do what my heart guided me to do - and clearly it was not going to guide me towards working for a violin exam. And in the end, the theory exam of December would never have happened anyway since we had our sudden, unexpected marriage ceremony on 14 December. I also realised it would be crazy to have to come to Varanasi mid-May for the practical exam with a one-month old baby; which I had thought possible when I was still thinking I was Superwoman, not having yet realised that we will have to register Baby's birth at the French embassy within 30 days of delivery by the way!!! No, I think going back to Varanasi again for an exam just three weeks after travelling with a tiny baby to Delhi around the end of April would be shear madness!!!

I would never have allowed myself to go back to Western violin if I wasn't pregnant I think. I always wanted too much to be a "good student". But pregnancy really makes you listen to yourself, to your heart, and it's nice! It allows you to do what you truly feel as opposed to what you think you should do, and not caring about it. It really allows you to let go... I do feel pregnancy has changed my awareness - there are some things in my life that I knew were right but that I didn't want to see, and I see and accept them now. Some priorities have changed, and not just because of Baby's forthcoming arrival in my (our) life. With Baby I don't know how diligent I'll be able to be with the Indian violin for some time - but not just that...

So seventh month is over and everything will be very quick now. Train to Varanasi is booked for 23 February - that's in less than three weeks! - And then I'll be staying there, surrounded by some really dear friends, until Baby sees the outside world!!! I'm also looking forward to being near the Ganga river, I'm looking forward to strolling along the ghats and hearing some Indian classical concerts at sunrise (yes, because my being bored with playing Indian does not mean at all that I'm bored listening to it! ;-)... I think I won't move away from Assi Ghat for a month to avoid traffic, and it sounds fabulous! Kashi - the City of Light - and the Ganges river, to welcome my child... ♥