The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Healing Hands

"Mom wants to know if you want to go for a massage." As usual Dad sprung this sentence during a completely irrelevant conversation.

"Huh? What? What massage?"

"Something ayu...ayu...wait, you talk to Mom!"

The phone exchanged hands.

"Do you want to go for an ayurvedic massage?"

"Yes! How do you know what ayurvedic is?"

"What do you mean how do I know? I take ayurvedic medicine."

"You take AYURVEDIC medicine?!"

Mom has an unwavering faith in the mystical powers of all Chinese herbs to heal any ailment. The worst they taste the better they are, she would promise. I would stare miserably at the black liquid defiling my favourite teddy bear mug, take a deep breath, pinch my nose and knock it back. As I struggled not to spew it out, she would beam, "See not so bad right? Here's your chocolate." I was sixteen.

So you understand my incredulity that this Chinese herb supporter now also dabbles in ayurveda. But thanks to her, I found myself in the ayurvedic centre - which incidentally is run by Mom's yoga teacher and ayurvedic doctor - that same weekend.

Pushpa, a tiny lady in a white saree, led me to a small room. There was a wooden platform with a single burner with a pot on it at the foot. A small cupboard was positioned right outside the tiny bathroom. She locked the door behind me and for a very brief moment, it resembled an unimagnative torture chamber. Puspha smiled at me.

"Take off clothes, madam."

Now I have no problem with that as long as it is confined to my upper body. In fact, I had already prepared a short and firm speech about how I would very much like to keep my underwear on, thank you very much. But Pushpa was having none of it.

"All, madam"

"No thank you, I will keep this on."

"No madam, all." She looked confused.

"No, I keep this on."

"No madam! Not good!"

Long story short, she won. Once I was satisfactorily undressed, she fashioned a little loincloth out of a scrap of cloth and tied it around and between my legs. She patted the wooden platform. I sat obediently.

Pushpa poured some sesame oil into the pot, heated it gently and began drizzling it all over me. I felt myself dissolve. Pushpa ran her fingers through my hair, working the oil into the scalp. After a few minutes of bliss, she told me to lie down. More oil and then her hands were gently kneading and rubbing. AS she worked she told me the abridged version of her life story.

Hailing from Tamli Nadu, she studied ayurveda and went on to practice it for five years. Two years ago, she left her family and came to Malaysia. That was the extent of our conversation for she apologetically explained that she couldn't speak very good English and struggled to answer my stream of questions.

We existed in comfortable silence for the next hour, broken only when she laid hands on my shoulders and asked, "Working computer? Very hard."

After that glorious hour was up, she heated up tiny cotton pouches filled with herbs and smacked them all over my body. Absolutely divine.

Then just when I thought the best was over, she motioned to me to follow her into the bathroom. I sat on the small chair and she came in stirring a big bowl of green paste.

"What's that?"

"Green dhal. Take out oil."

I reached out for the bowl but to my amazement, she started spreading all over me. And then proceeded to give me a bath. I felt myself shrinking to three-year-old size and my eyes filled with tears. When she towel-dried my hair after the bath, all of me wanted to crawl into the folds of her saree and fall asleep. For that brief moment, I felt like a child again and I loved it.

The ayurvedic massage has to be one of the best treats I've given myself this year. I floated home half-asleep, tossed work out the window and crumpled into bed. It was a very good night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

care to share where this place is? dying for a good massage! :) - isha

1:28 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

whoops...sorry Isha! It's called Ayur Centre (

The Ayur Centre Sdn. Bhd
10,Jalan Dato Abu Bakar (16/1)
46200 Petaling Jaya,
603 - 79542899, 79546092

Enjoy your massage!!!

11:56 PM  

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