We can't plan life.
"We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it." ~Lauryn Hill
I want soup. I had been tossing this thought around in my mind all night on Sunday. I am not talking about the soup from dinner here - which was an oddly thick broth of salt. I am talking about some good old American Progresso canned chicken noodle soup. With all the junk in it, and with well over ten times of your daily sodium allowance. And some ritz crackers - buttery and also probably too salty and filled with a delicious carby fatness. I was homesick, but it's mostly because I was sick Sunday morning. It wasn't terrible, but it did take my day away, which is unfortunate. I was looking forward to a long Sunday of practicing and hanging out, but instead I woke up with a sour stomach at 6am, and spent the rest of the day napping, sipping water, internetting pretty hard, and tentatively taking bites of cookies I didn't want. Overall, I know it was a very minor bump in the road, and I was at least able to practice some later on. This entire weekend has been a series of interrupted plans, both irritating and exhilarating.
My Saturday night began when I walked right into a pee tree. I don't know if a "pee tree" is a real thing, but this is what I am calling it. I found myself walking along a road, trying to find my way to a concert in an unfamiliar area. It had recently gotten dark, and I was walking along a busy road trying to find a good place to grab a cab. I saw a tree, and blocking the road way was a truck, so I decided to just step behind the tree. It looked a little wet, but I didn't think to much of it. I planted my flip flopped foot, and felt the moisture. And then the smell came, and I realized what I had just done.
Disgruntled and in much more of a hurry now to find a cab, I pressed on. A cab pulled over. I called the name of my destination, and he said, "100 rupee?" and I said, "Meter he?" (Is there a meter?). "No meter," he said. "70 rupee," I said, and he shook his head and began to drive away. I was not going to continue walking along this road, in the dark, alone, as a female, so I took it. "Fine! 100 rupees..." I said. After climbing in, I discovered that the cabbie spoke neither English nor Hindi, but only Marathi. He spoke to me in full, complex sentences, while I spoke loud, enunciated Hindi words at him - neither of us was successful. At one point, because our communication had been so insufferable, he had pulled over, got out of the cab, and started asking random people for directions. He came back and continued speaking full sentences to me. I yelled because I thought he expected me to pay him even though he had not brough me to my destination. Eventually, we asked an older man on the corner, who spoke both languages. He said he was headed that way, and so he would take me there and then continue on to his destination. He got in the car, and both the cabbie and I laughed as our translator climbed in, thanking him. We were relieved to not have to speak nonsense at each other anymore. I arrived just in time for the tabla-solo portion of the concert, which was, of course, beautiful. In the mother-country of this music, there really is no concert where I am not moved and inspiried. I am utterly spoiled being here, and well aware of it. Afterwards I went to dinner with some friends, and rode a cab home.
Earlier that day, I had my first lesson. Going to a lesson is always a curious thing, emotionally. Most of the time, I look forward so much to having one, but then as it gets closer, I sort of... panic? I worry. My primary worry is that I am not as prepared as I think I am, or have tried to be. It's this soft undercurrent of thoughts that is riding just beneath my surface as I pack up my things and prepare to leave. Once I was in, though, I felt confident. One way in which I am very different from 6-years-ago-Krissy is that I have accepted (for the most part) my place in my journey. I know I am not going to come in and play perfectly, all I can do is play what I know, and what I have practiced. It is my job to be a sponge, and to absorb the information being presented to me as fully as possible, but I can't be perfect. That's not a real thing. I did my best to take to heart what I needed to improve, and absorb those ideas as fully as possible. I was anxious to have my first lesson because I knew it would give me focus, and I was right. Having had it, I feel more secure about the path that the rest of my stay needs to take, and about the things in my playing I am going to need to address. It feels like I have a clear direction.
A silly, accidental picture taken at my first lesson when I realized my camera was taking a picture and not a video.
Friday night, I was invited last-minute to an awesome musician hang. A fellow student of my teacher (called a gurubai) had invited me. It was a small group, of a few professionals and a few passionate hobbyist musicians. We played together and listened and talked and ate AMAZING food. It was the recipe for a beautiful night, and that's what it was. I was really grateful to be able to connect with other musicians in the city. Being able to improve myself as an individual is wonderful, and special, but I feel most rewarded when I get to connect with other musicians.
My view from the jam. I played a little tabla.
Since my recovery from sickness, I made a decision - a plan. I decided to go to McDonald's today. My craving for American food - really any American food, was so intense yesterday, that I felt I should be able to indulge - so I made happen. A 6-piece McNugget, fries, and a coke later, I had satisfied my cravings for overly-processed comfort food.
Oh, the shame.
This week I'll have a few more lessons, hopefully some really solid practice time, and I am hoping that my plans to meet up with some really interesting and special people will pan out. If I've learned anything this week, though, it is that I need to have an "open" plan. I need to have some goals, but also to be available for what the universe decides. I am hoping that if I have some luck, I'll find some good soup and avoid the pee trees from now on.