Sunday, September 19, 2010

Meditation on Annunciation Street

My neighbor from Mumbai, Mr. Singh, does yoga meditation on his front porch every morning. If I wake up early enough and go outside to get the newspaper, I see him sitting on a mat, wearing only an undershirt and a pair of shorts, doing a sun salutation to the dawn.

He and his wife have been visiting New Orleans for several months, staying with their daughter-in-law and son, a Tulane doctor.

If he is not deep in meditation, Mr. Singh gives me a wave. Last week, he motioned for me to join him. So, I sat cross-legged for 10 minutes while he chanted oms. Mr. Singh does a few easy calisthenics, too, and always encourages me to enjoy his healthy lifestyle. He doesn't understand what I mean when I say I'm going to the gym to lift weights and get on the treadmill. If I love my cat, he says, I should not eat meat.
Mr. Sing demonstrating the crow pose.
Mr. Singh is not sure what I do for a living and once asked if there weren't government grants to help women without husbands to support them? No, I hadn't heard of any. He is baffled by my frequent, hurried comings and goings and believes I'd be better off if I'd slow down. He could be right about that.

I've tried to explain to Mr. Singh what it is I do - marketing, PR and journalism - where there are constant deadlines. He nods and says, "I see," making a clicking sound with his tongue. I'm not sure what that means either. He used to be an insurance salesman in India.

Mr. Singh reaching for the sky.
Last Sunday, when I was rushing back from the health club before rushing to the Quarter for jitterbug class, he called out to me from his porch: "Is the factory where you are working open on Sunday?" he asked. I relayed this anecdote to my friend Sandy who runs an inn and restaurant. "The factories where we work are always open," she laughed.

Mr. Singh has seen me returning from movie matinees at the Prytania Theatre with my 95-year-old landlord. I told him Ralph needs to get out more. "So, you do social work too," he said. (I'm not sure if he was kidding.) He wants us to come by for tea, but Ralph is skeptical.

Sometime before he returns to India, Ralph and I surely will join him and his wife at British teatime.

My cat Sami showing off her own personal yoga pose.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting neighbor, interesting relationship. I'll stay tuned to watch it develop!