Jubbling Jubblies in Jaipur, India

November 4, 2010 No Comments

Besieged by bronchitis, I am too tired to venture out and am moping around like an invalid in the interior courtyard of our hotel in Jaipur.  I grumpily slurp a mango lassi and wrap my Kashmiri shawl tighter as a peacock struts by trying to cheer me up.  How can you feel sick with a peacock walking about?

I’m antsy though, wanting to get better sooner.  I’d much prefer to be out exploring Rajasthan than be penned up in here like a maharani.  The pollution is so unbelievably thick that every day that I go out into it, my cold regresses by two days.  And so, I’m staying away, at least from the exhaust.

G returns from his morning’s exploration with a pamphlet and appointments to an Ayurvedic Spa down the street. Saved! We set off.  It’s only as we’re nearing the entrance that I wonder if I should have gotten more details for exactly what we’d signed up for.  Now it’s too late, I think, as we’re led down the hall, I’ll just roll with it.

A man and woman await us in a threadbare room with two tables.  The man beckons G and then pulls a thin cloth curtain across the middle.  “Ha ha!” I think, “I bet he wasn’t expecting a dude!”  The woman looks at me and says directly, “Take off your clothes.”  I pause, and then wanting to make sure I understand, say meekly, “All of them?” She shakes her head side to side indicating yes and stands waiting.  I chuckle on the inside laughing at my American modesty.  All massages in the U.S. dance around the fact that a stranger is touching you naked.  There is hushed new age music, dim lights with candles, and starched, tightly pulled sheets whisked here and there as privacy demands.  I begin unbuttoning my shirt thinking that the lady is going to laugh at my soft, marshmallowy white flesh.  I picture myself as the Pillsbury dough girl and am curious about what she says when she goes home at night.  People work so hard in India that their bodies reflect it; mine I think betrays my 1st world upbringing, American Buddha.  Her impatience prohibits more thoughts and suddenly I am naked.  She gets to work whipping a sort of burlap cloth between my legs and tying it on the sides in swift motion.  I’m madly giggling on the inside, straining to hear what’s happening on the other side of the curtain.  The man must be diapering G! Oh, I wish I could see.

But face down on the table I go, soon covered head to toe in almost too hot roasted peanut oil.  The sweeping Ayurvedic style soon has me in a trance, the travel tensions and my cold slip away as my butt cheeks are kneaded like dough.  In a stupor I wonder, “What will happen when I flip over? Are any parts private in India?”  Soon enough I am flipped like a pancake.  The swift practiced movements relax my shoulders and before I know it my jubblies are being jubbled like I’m entering a car wash.  Down to the stomach where I cannot imagine there is any muscle to massage and back up, I’m reminded of the Mr. Miyagi’s training, “wax on, wax off”,  little did I know that it was a great mammary treatment as well.  I’m grateful for my sarong and not having to explain the private parts concept to the masseuse.  Oh, but then it comes off and I see a sponge bath like thing happening.  I’ve reached my privacy limit, smile and say thank you, taking the cloth to wipe the oil off myself.  I wonder if G is getting a man sponge down on the other side.  As we step out the door I erupt into laughter and demand a full play by play of his massage and sponging.

There must be something to the treatment, I think a few hours later, as I fall asleep for the night at 5pm listening to the chatter of voices in my train compartment, soothed by the clacking and banging of the tracks below.

hint, hint: next week we're sleeping on the move.

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