Thursday, September 11, 2008

Indian Beauty

I had an ayurvedic massage today at a beauty parlour in the oldest temple in Rishikesh. I booked it yesterday when my body was a heap of aching muscles, and my timing was a bit unlucky because today was the first day since I've been here (doing yoga twice a day) that my body felt just fine. I went anyway.

There is no blanket to hide under and the masseuse does not leave the room for you to undress. She closes the curtains, crosses her arms acorss her big bust and tells you take your clothes off. The only nonesense involved in the undressing, perhaps, is taht the underpants are not removed. As Bublee, that's her name, massaged up my thighs, she went ahead and tucked my undies tightly between my bum cheeks so she could get to work on my buttocks.

The oil used is supposedly a healthy, herbal, medicinal oil. It has the distinct scent of very sweet black licorice allsorts. Nearly your entire body gets covered with the stuff; she even rubs it into your face, behind your ears, between your toes, into your scalp. Aside from the occasional fingernail scratch, and maybe the thong, the only uncomfortable thing about the massage was while lying on my stomach, Bublee spontaneously - magically! - in one motion thrust my heel to my bum and cracked all my toes.

I visited the beauty parlour earlier in the week to get henna on my hands and feet. I sat on a bed while Madu, the owner, drew and her sister smiled at me and asked me questions. Pretty girls came and went from the room, always curious, always giggling. Many told me I have a beautiful face, but they can't understand why I wear my hair short like a child or a boy. Madu's 2 year old nephew was ripping around the room, shouting and grabbing at things, until he took notice of me. He insisted that I have a bindi, a dot between the eyes that married women wear. My hands were locked in a rigid position so as not to disturb Madu's work, and so the sister, delighted, stuck a big, circular velvet sticker on my forhead. Everyone laughed, and the boy seemed satisfied.

henna'ed feet, waiting to dry

shine from a sugar and lemon juice mixture


Melissa said...

Hey guys! It's Mel! Your blog is in one of my iGoogle feeds! I've been keeping up to date with your adventures =)

Your trip sounds unbelievable and amazing! I am so extremely jealous of you both, but its great to hear the stories!

I told one of my co-op co-workers here, who's from India, about your trip, and she was wondering how you guys blog so regularly, because apparently its very hard to find Wifi! I also ponder.

The massage actually sounds pretty amazing. But maybe not the wedgie part! And the henna looks great!

I wanna go to The Office <3


Donna said...

Steph, you look fabulous, like a princess or an exotic bird.

Kathy said...

The henna is outstanding!! Only adds to your beauty.

Peter said...

We don't use wifi, we go to cyber cafes! We didn't bring our laptops :)

Anonymous said...

Steph - that is the most beautiful henna I have ever seen. You should learn to do it!


Steph said...

Thanks, ladies! :)