What can I tell you about 48 hours on a train ride. There are little things that are humorous and worth discussing. The little packets of jasmine paper soap that I used to try my best to stay clean in a place thats just festering. The funny meals we scrounged up of chappati's, flat bread, and peanut butter and bannana's. The songs we played on guitar and sang to the eager crowds of Indian's curious about the strange westerners giggling so much. Doing reiki for each other and strangers on the hard beds that were erected at night in the small compartments we filled by day. Giving a yoga lesson to some middle aged Indian mom's, feeling a strange connection between mom's around the world, and the fact that none of them actually take time for themselve's. Coloring pictures and playing tic tac toe with kids. Giggling for hours on end with Loz. Laying in Gaura's lap while he chanted, and looking up at his sweet face, and drifting off to a dreamy state of love and boredome. Reading Loz's tarot cards on the top bunk. Having amazing truthfullness flow through me to her. Having a young, desperate, teenage Idian boy beg me to help him and read his cards. Eating chips and trying my best to make the truth soft for this lost, infatuated teenager. Hours upon hours with nothing to do but try to occupy ourselves. It was strange, tedious, LONG, and surprisingly fun.
We arrived back at the Ayurvedic Natural Health Center in need of all that they were to soon offer us. We needed showers, beds, massages, and healthy food. I was eager to return to clear the debt they had owed me since my last visit there two years prior. We had worked out a deal via email. I was to stay 8 days and 8 nights to make up for the $450 they still owed me, from when I pre-paid to attend an ayurvedic training and then changed my plan. I had only recieved half of the money back from them. We faught via email for months over the fact that I never recieved the money, and they kept swearing they sent it. In the end we agreed that I would come stay for 8 days and nights when I returned to India. Then when Gaua and I got together and knew we would be travelling together; I asked them if we could change it to 4 days and nights for two people. They agreed.
Unfortunately, they changed the deal on me once we arrived. A woman with a fancy sarree, perfect makeup, and a business voice and smile ushered me into some fancy new building full of new products, and a new computer. She sat me down and drew up our plan to stay for 3 days and 3 nights. When I reminded her that we had discussed 4 days and 4 nights, she asked me to show her the email where she had confirmed such a thing. The following is an excerpt from the email that I showed her:
ME: Dear Dr. Sunita,
Thank you for the offer, I will certainly pass it along to any friends who
are visiting during that time. I am leaving for my travels in the east in
early July and should make it to the anhc by the end of October. My
records show that you owe me $444, from our mixup in the summer of
2005. I calculated that the cost for me to stay for 8 days, with the
monsoon discount would be $443.30 dollars. I look forward to my upcoming
visit, and all the wonderful services at the anhc! I will bring the
documentation I have as proof, and am so happy to finnally clear up the
mix up, and recieve my complementary services for 8 days. As soon as I
have an exact date I will email you so that you may confirm the
reservation for me!
ANHC OFFICE MANAGER: dear Dana Cohen,
we acknowledge the contents of the email.
looking forward to receive you.
Now I don't know about the rest of the world, but in America when someone says, I will be coming for 8 days as my reimbursement. And the other person repsonds with, I acnowledge what you have said and look forward to recieving you. Usually that is a legally binding confirmation. I even still have the email to prove it.
But this woman, skirted around that by stating that she had acknowledged my statement but didn't actually confirm that they would do that for me.
Now again, in America, when someone wants to adknowledge what you say but not agree to it, they usually say something like: "We ackowledge what you are asking for but we can not offer you that. However, we can offer you this...."
This woman had done no such thing. She promised me 8 days, and then changed it at the last minute. I believe this is horrible customer service, especially after months of confusion over such a large sum of money that they kept swearing they sent, and never seemed to arrive to me.
As a business owner, when I have even a small mixup with a client I go out of my way to make them feel good. I not only honor what they rightfully deserve, but I offer extra services as a way to show that I appreciate their business, and hope they will continue to pass along my name.
Back to my story: After screwing me out of 2 days or $110, the woman turned on the computer and brought up my blog and asked me to erase the previous post where I mentioned that they hadn't honored me all of my money. It was so frustrating to be sitting in the brand new building with all the brand new products, seeing how much the place had grown and was sucessful, meanwhile this woman was taking advantage of me by not honoring her debt to me. With all the fancy new stuff, it seems they should be able to afford to repay what they owe, a measly one day stay for two people. I looked her in the eye and let her know that I could not remove my blog posting at this time, because my money had not been fully honored yet. I assured her that I would not be removing any posts, as they stand proof of the experiences I have had in the world. I let her know that, even her honoring part of that debt now doesn't change my previous experiences and make them not real, as though they never happened. I promised to write a new blog post telling all about this new experience I would have here.
She glared me down, and the put on her plastic, business smile and ushered me and my friends to our rooms to get settled in.We settled into our clean & simple rooms and headed off for hours of treatment. We spent 3 days getting oiled up, pounded with dough, detoxified, steamed, massaged, tapped, nurtured, and fed healthy food. The staff, other than the woman who received us was pleasant and devoted. There were little things I can remember that were subtly off like the scratchy nail of my one therapist that always hurt a little when she massaged, or the cooks forgetting daily that we didn't eat onions and garlic and having to make something special at the last minute, or the loud noises of the construction workers that disturbed my healing silence and thier stares when I stumbled to the bathroom in a towel in the middle of my treatments. All this was just little quirks, the time there was really mostly peaceful and healing. This was the last of my healing from my terrible kidney infection. I was pronounced healthy upon leaving the center. Gaura was like a kid. He wanted to feel and experience everything. In his discussions with the head therapist doctor he was zealous and asked for all the wildest treatments. He told them he wanted the strongest enema to really cleanse his colon. He even asked them to give him leaches to clean his blood. His wild treatements always turned out to have some hilarious and wierd twist to them. For example: when he got the super strong enema he wanted to have the treatment go as far in and through his body as possible so he layed on our bed in shoulderstand with a full tooshie of enema. Somehow during that process he leaked a little, and I came home to a very yucky, funny messy bed. I had them change the sheets right away. Also, after his leaches experiment he had these two jesus wounds on his calves that wouldn't stop bleeding through the bandages. When we were checking out on the last day the doctors prescribed us all our own Ayurvedic medicines that we were encouraged to buy and continue to take. It wasn't a surprise that Gaura, being the enthusiast for treatment as he was, was prescribed over 20 bottles of healing tonics. I tried to stay calm and composed as he crinkled his nose as I bargained with the doctor trying to figure out which of these many tonics were necessary for him. In the moment, Gaura was so wrapped up the the whole experience he wanted them all and he eyeballed me like a child being deprived toys at the toy store. I knew once he came down from this high and the moment he was wrapped up in he wouldn't care about any of the tonics, and wouldn't want to even take the ones we bought. But, as a compromise to make him feel my love for him, without getting too out of control with this silly purchase, I bought a few of the tonics and made him promise to take every last drop. Eventually, we would throw out most of the unused, never touched tonics, at the airport on our way to fly to Thailand. Our last evening there was intense. Some how Gaura and I got into this heavy conversation. It went round and round as we tried to figure out this confusing swirl of space that had been between us since we had arrived in Rishikesh, and was just coming to a close here at the ANHC. I was coming to understand that I still had a huge amount of processing going on from my bad relationship with Assaf. I knew I was afraid to trust, and somewhere inside I had questions about Gaura. As much as I deeply felt our most soulful connection, I couldn't surrender completely to him no matter how hard I tried. There was always a resistance. We came to the understanding that I came on this journey to explore parts of myself, to expand, as well as to heal. Those parts of me and that part of my journey would keep me inside my own self no matter how close or together we would be. He would have to learn to just back off and accept that I wasn't always present for him, as I needed lots of time to be present for myself. I came to understand that he was simply younger, with less life experience. He would be uncapable of being as mature or responsible as I would want him to be in certain moments. Once we figured this out there was relief! It was like we could see our struggle before us, and there for knew exactly what to work on to smooth out the wrinkles in our great, but normal & flawed relationship! We made Loz wait forever while we were lost in our own land of communication and partnership. It wasn't easy but it was so beautiful. All that talking about it all made us closer, and we hugged and knew it would get better and we would get even closer now. We all ate our last healthy meal and hopped in the car to whisk away to the other side of Goa, the fun & wild side of town. As we pulled out that woman asked me one more time about removing my old post and I assured her that I would post an updated version of the story eventually. Here it is, and to date I never was fully reimbursed for the debt owed to my by the Ayurvedic Natural Health Center. I am thankful for the three days of lovely treatment that Gaura and I did receive, as that time was very helpful and relaxing! I have finally given up on ever receiving the rest of my reimbursement.