Here I was, in front of my apartment at 4am deep dark in the middle of India, in a city called Hyderabad. No idea where I was. In front of an apartment door looking very locked.
Looking at my driver who brought me there, I asked: Sir, did you get the keys from the clinic? I wondered: What does this head shake means? Does this mean: yes/ no? Soon enough, I learned it could mean yes, no, maybe or dont aks me anything.
After understanding that “wait 1 minute, madam”, could mean wait 1, 10, min or longer, I called the clinic manager. He advised me to wake up the other patient, who was inside in another room in the same building and he would let me in…. I was like “at 4am, really?”
My future american neighbour opening up the door was extremely kind and immediately lent me his Raju’s Clinic Guide. A MUST have the first day you arrive.
Once in my room and before going through this small book, I did something very unlike and unnatural to me: I cleaned at 4:30am both bathroom and bedroom entirely. I mentally prepared myself to everything, I heard all sort of stories about India and on top of this I had my own hygiene phobics. No problem, I switched off of the “princess button” and there I was rubbing and scrubbing the bathroom with my cleaning kit (which I hallelujah brought along).
The place itself looked OK (if you like a ’50s cuban faded retro colours kind of style). Humble yes, but that didn’t matter, I was a woman on a mission and if that’s what it takes, I am on it.
After the cleaning I was ready for a shower. The shower only had cold water so I boiled water from the little water boiler in the shared living room and filled the bucket that was in the bathroom. For sure that bucket was in the bathroom for a reason. After a spoiled little minute of “Oh where did I got myself into?” I splashed myself with the bucket water and I actually liked it. There was something very nice and peaceful in pouring water from that bucket (a bit Onsen style if you like) . And boy, considering how much precious water I waste back home showering myself everyday for 20 minutes, on top of it, I felt very ecological.
It was 5:00am and I was dying to sleep but I was also wondering if I was supposed to do anything specific on my first morning at the clinic. So I hanged on and went through the whole Raju’s clinic book. I read the banana treatment part twice. I did this whole journey to take the blessed banana in the first place, so I’d rather be on top of it and do it right from the start. I was hoping to get my banana first thing in the morning. I was supposed to take this at the first day of my cycle. But on my day of travelling at Heathrow airport Bloody Mary decided to come in early (great flight as you can imagine)…so in India technically I was on my second day already.
The days before I had PMS signals already, I wanted to benefit and have my cycle starting in India so I did all I could and I managed to postpone my cycle by 2 days by pulling cords on my big toes and big fingers and drinking and showering with cold water for the last days (some handy ayurvedic tips I found on the net and it worked). I just did not dare to expose myself to these Opus Dei cilice type practices in public…. so on the day of travelling, I did not pull any cords and so I had to ride the cotton pony into the plane instead…..(s**t)……..I managed to send an email from the airport to the clinic just one hour before boarding, hoping that I could start my banana immediately first morning of arrival.
Reading through the guide I learned that during my period I could not enter the clinic. It left me a bit puzzled: how am I supposed to get my banana now? I was too tired to worry and fell asleep to be awakened later by a western woman in Indian clothes knocking at my door telling me that I was expected to dress and come to the clinic. I did not know where the clinic was, but luckily she was waiting outside for me.
The woman at my door was another banana patient I learned . Together with two other women, we stood in front of the clinic but as we were impure we could not enter the building. There we were….waiting. For what? I did not know. But I just waited with them…in silence (as prescribed).
An Indian woman on a scooter showed up and one by one we were called. Padma, the warm and friendly scooter woman prayed first. Then she told me to 1) put myself heading East, like she just showed, 2) pray, thinking of the wish that brought me to India and 3) take the banana.
She put the aluminium bowl with the thin slice of banana somewhere on the side ( so while praying try keep a half eye open where she puts yours). Dont take it from any body directly. You can NOT get in contact with anybody while you are ‘impure’ ( Gosh why dont we apply this in our society abit? They didn’t make us cranky in those days for nothing). The banana, this time looked much smaller than the one in Germany I had before. I wondered: “Does this mean it’s less effective?”
For the rules to apply. As in Germany,also in India there is “no speaking” for the coming hour before and after banana. While at silence with the others, I was strongly doubting if my toilet could resist my expected 11 times of vomiting. Especially as some other ‘stuff’ this morning was still floating in my toilet. I broke my holy spiritual silence. I had to speak. “Can I please have a bucket or 2,3?” I said. The Indian woman, Padma, did not understand. I explained her that during my first time banana experience in Germany I vomited 36 times in 3 days. She ensured that this never happened and ensured me to just rest a lot. But just in case, she had me delivered 2 buckets in my room.
I went to my room and was waiting for the extra ‘treat’ I got also in Germany, simultaneously 11 times of vomating/dhiarrhea within 45 minutes after taking the banana. But here nothing happened. I was waiting and waiting…nothing.
Perhaps it would all start after eating? In the Clinic’s guide it was written that during banana you are not allowed to enter the dining room where the rest of the people where eating. Besides having no idea where that was, I was happy they brought the food to my room. The hot water ( the only drink I was goin to have to have the coming 3 weeks that I planned to stay) luckily I could boil next to my room. I was scared I would get sick of the water but it was purified water and nothing happened. Neither did anything happen after I had my rice and milk, no side effects. What a great start!
Even if I had to get ill I would still have persisted with the trip. I had put already my job aside, no laptop or work mails distractions, no husband……I was fully committed with no boundaries to go hardcore bananas. I intended to go all the way, now that I came from so far already for a healthy sunny shining happy baby. So I took it by the letter and did all that was written in the guide:
– Shower, silence and meditation prior and after banana
– No socialising
-No internet ( a true miracle and record for me)
-No physical activity
-Drink lots and lots of hot water to get the toxins out
– Sleep, sleep, sleep
I do not know if it was the banana or the jet lag, but I slept non- stop. Meaning really non-stop for 3 days except for necessary sanity breaks ( normally in India this could be a core activity of you get sick but I had no dhiarrhea at all, can you imagine! Sorry for the explicit highlight but it is quite amazing considering that I was in India and my last German banana experience did not spare me either) The banana, as small as it was, had a very deep cleanings impact and I just went with it.
During those isolated days, I once in a while saw my adorable american neighbour Patrick, who was together with the cleaning lady, my 5 min contact per day with human creatures …and then I had my evening mosquitos that became my enemy for the coming days ( you gotta hate something). Indian mosquitoes are a real little something, extremely persistent ( you gotta admire them for it), looking to coddle up in your ears ( why there? ) and very cleverly finding any whole in my own bee-keeper nighty night outfit. I could only sleep being fully covered up.
This isolated life had a very new impact on me. I discovered that glazing at my ventilator was very hypnotising for instance.
On top of that, my small room had only one no-see through window. So for the last days I literally lived a blinded life. So funny how sounds are becoming so important then. I could really understand how a blind person would feel. You are more apprehensive to small sounds and I made imaginations of how the surroundings would look like. I had only briefly seen it at night. The 20 meters walk to the clinic that did not last more than 5 min, did not allow me to have any clearer idea. I was shocked about the awful fights of animals that I heard at night. What on earth were these true scanning for their lives Uruk- Hai animals sounds that I heard at night? I could not wait to go outside and see finally India! The India that was only an India of sounds for me till now.
At day 3 the manager of the clinic, Harish, asked me why he never saw me. I said cause I am not supposed to do any physical activity and only rest or sleep. I discovered that I could do little walks in the street though. Wow, how happy I was with just such a small but great news. I walked the first night for 5 minutes and, the visual and the sound finally got together.
After 5 minutes however, I was so dizzy that I had to go back to my room. My body clearly was still in the ban of the banana.
After they forgot to bring my rice a couple of times, Harish also informed me that I could pick up my food also in front of the dining room. The staff or other patients could get my dish which is numbered with your room number (13 in my case). It would allow me to get out of my room, so I gladly I did that instead. Even though I got used and even cherished those lonely moment with me and my banana, I was also happy to see some more faces.
After being the ghost patient, my neighbour told me that everybody was very curious to meet me. And what a great bunch of people was waiting for me.
Tomorrow: the great bunch of people and meeting the miracle fertility cow….check out the pictures of this story separately on my blog.Today it was about having a ‘ blind’ ‘imaginary’ experience