I love mornings in India. There’s something magical about the first hour just after sunrise when everything is waking up and the air is fresh and cool and the noise of the day hasn’t settled in yet. I love waking up to the sound of the birds that nestle in the huge tree in front of the house. Less pleasant is waking up to the sensation of my toes being nibbled by Squeaky who is awake and active as soon as the sun is up. I try to keep her out of the bedroom by keeping the door closed but she makes such a ruckus that I give in too easily.
Twice a week I get up just before sunrise to go to my Kalaripayatt class. Not even the cats are up when I drag myself out of bed. When I leave the house, the sun is already up. I walk to a friend’s house nearby from where we take an auto rickshaw together to class. During my walk, I witness the city waking up. I see the milk sellers and newspaper boys on bicycles making deliveries. Early morning devotees are already at the Hanuman temple on the main road offering their prayers. I cross 80 Feet Road easily because there’s very little traffic compared to during the day when crossing this road is a nightmare. I walk through the block between 80 Feet Road and 100 Feet Road known as Defence Colony. Here I come across people walking dogs (usually this is a chore for domestic staff and not the owners!). I pass the walker’s park which is already a scene of activity with walkers dressed in track pants and running shoes making their rounds around the walkers’ path at a fast pace. (You never see anyone jogging in India!) The stray dogs are still curled up sleeping in sheltered corners, often in groups. I also see auto drivers asleep on the backseat of their auto rickshaws. For some, their vehicle is not only their means of livelihood but also their home. Maids are busy sweeping the road in front of houses and drawing beautiful kolams.
Many yoga and meditation classes are held early in the morning, around 6 or 7am. This is because early morning is considered to be an auspicious time, especially between 4:24 to 6am which is called Brahm Muhurath. This ‘ungodly’ time, an hour and a half just before sunrise, is actually very ‘godly’ as it’s considered to be the best time for spiritual practices like prayer, meditation or yoga.
The trip to class which is in central Bangalore takes only 15 minutes at this time of day when traffic is light and there are not too many vehicles on the road. However, on the way back home an hour and half later, the scene is very different. The roads are clogged with cars, motorcycles, buses and auto rickshaws as schoolchildren head to school and people are on their way to the office. The magical hour has passed!