I never knew Raj’s real name. Mellody wouldn’t tell me because it would be “breaking a trust, and the karma for that lasts forever.” Raj was her new man. He claimed to be a Yoga teacher and on Tuesday evenings, a group of us got together at Mellody’s house for Yoga and a potluck supper. Raj would begin the session with a lecture. At first the talks were short, about the breath of life and about concentrating all our energy on the third eye, the “window to the universe.” While we listened, we were supposed to sit in the lotus position. Although I’m anything but flexible when it comes to Yoga postures, I have always been able to assume a perfect lotus position–I think it might have something to do with being extremely knock-kneed. The best anyone else in the class could do was a half-lotus, but they were far better than I when it came to getting their heads all the way down to their knees and doing the cobra and the plough.
Raj changed his name to “GuruRaj,” and his opening lectures turned into rambling, perseverating marathons about microwave ovens being a mind control tool of the government and white sugar causing gout crystals and calcium deposits in the spine, while we sat motionless in the lotus position or as close as we could get to it, our joints screaming while cut-off circulation caused excruciating “pins and needles” sensations in our feet. The group got smaller and smaller, until it was just GuruRaj, Mellody, and me, and I was only there because Mellody was my friend.
“Take off your socks,” Mellody said one Tuesday before we began. “I want to look at your feet.”
“Well, Rajjie and I discovered that we’re both from Atlantis and we want to find out if you’re from Atlantis too!”
“What does a foot from Atlantis look like?”
“The second toe is longer than the big toe!” Both of them grinned, wiggling their bare toes.
“Oh.” I pulled off my socks and they stared at my fat, stubby second toes that were much shorter than my big toes, disappointed looks on their faces.
“Oh dear…” Mellody sighed.
“I’m not from Atlantis–I’m from Lemuria.”
“Oh, well, that’s all right then.” Mellody was smiling again. “Tell us about Lemuria. What was it like?”
“Later–” GuruRaj broke in. “It’s time to get started.”
Dinner was millet casserole, as usual. Millet looks like birdseed and you would have to be a bird to like the mealy taste. Mellody and Raj were very slender. I was not; the rest of me was just like my fat toes. That’s why they’re so thin, I thought. The millet comes out the other end exactly the same as when it goes in. It’s indigestible and provides no calories at all.
“We’re going to buy a juicer,” Raj said. “Make carrot juice.”
“That’s great–I used to have one, and I wore it out. I’d throw a couple of oranges in with the carrots. It tasted wonderful that way.”
“You’re not supposed to mix those.” He started talking about different enzymes to digest things. “Conflicting enzymes confuse the brain.”
“I didn’t have any problem digesting it. I think different people have different nutritional needs. If it disagrees with you, then you shouldn’t eat it, but for me, it’s good.”
“We’re talking about physical facts here. What you think doesn’t have anything to do with it. It’s like eating ground glass and believing it’s good.”
“But I don’t believe eating ground glass is good.”
GuruRaj got up and stalked away from the table, fists clenched. A minute later, we heard the bedroom door slam.
Mellody called me the next day. “We’re calling off the Yoga for awhile. I’m afraid Rajjie doesn’t want you coming over here anymore.”
After that, Mellody started sneaking over to my house behind her guru’s back. We would make a big pot of real tea with caffeine and stuff ourselves with sugary pastries heated up in the microwave.
Sunday Scribblings: Mentor