After 5 days planning the next 2 years for the GO! Smell the flowers community with Flora 2000 here in Mumbai, India I headed out of the town and over the green hills to Pune to check out the OSHO meditation resort. Time to gather my thoughts, mind map, deep breathing and stuff like that at least for 1 day before I report back to you on the exciting direction this community will take.
People all over the world head to the OSHO retreat to ‘find themselves’ and I’ll share with you how it goes as I’m booked in for 24 hours. So, rather than pitching up all zenned-up it was quite the opposite and here’s why as I share with you what happened in my longest blog entry ever:
Four hours into the car journey from Mumbai (‘We’re getting very, very close Mr Jim – 2 minutes’, insisted the driver who kept stopping to ask for directions) I stopped off for a quick sandwich and a much needed toilet break. I’d crossed my legs long enough and had to go just in case we were way off course. No chance of finding myself if we couldn’t get to the right place, or was there? OHM.
‘I’ll be 2 minutes’ I pointed – Humph – I’ll show him 2 minutes with my British sense of time keeping.
In the packed sandwich shop there was no way I could wait form my food AND wait for the toilet. Something had to give, if you will. As I handed over my rupees for the food so were the keys for the customer toilet.
Off I went while my sandwich became a work-in-progress and was under process. One turn led to another but no toilet doors – anywhere. I was desperate and climbed the next dark and dank flight of stairs either to go wherever or find what I was looking for, as Bono once said.
Success! A toilet door was already open so the keys were redundant AND it was the ladies and no larger than a broom cupboard, one for very small brooms – no matter – no one around and I was good to go, nobody around so I could be a lady for 45 seconds. Relief came in no time and I chuckled to myself how small this ‘bathroom’ was that I’d squeezed into that clearly hadn’t been cleaned for some time as I was that desperate I’d forgotten about the mild claustrophobia I suffer from.
A quick flush, no water from the broken tap – I’ll survive.
My relief quickly turned to despair – I couldn’t open the toilet door to get out.
I shook the handle and almost ripped it off in my hand – no really an option. Then a shortness of breathe.
A window vent – tiny – not enough room to get a cat through. Nobody knew I was in here except the driver as my 2 minute deadline approached. No phone, no escape route and no way to open this door without ripping the handle off it. It was a ‘pull towards you door’ so again any force and the handle would end up in my hand, like the limb of a cheap barbie doll.
Deep breathes Jim, deep breathes as the walls closed in on me.
Sh&t, Sh^t and more sh*t (My language – not the toilet thing – don’t even go there)
My demise couldn’t be getting trapped in the wrong sexed toilet for hours – could it?
There was only one thing for it – noise, noise and more noise with my fist on the door.
More deep breathes, more shocking language – more banging on the door. Then back to the window slats – maybe I could remove the panel. Ouch. Cut finger, not a bright idea.
Only one thing for it – I started shouting for help and banging on the door and rattling the handle.
NOTHING. What a waste of a life. A waste of a blog. A community.
Oh dear, what about my sandwich?10 minutes had passed now and that driver may even have left with all my luggage. My phone – why didn’t I at least bring my phone. I then paced around (on the spot) pulled a pathetic child-about-to-cry face and cried help again out of the vented window. More bangs, more helps and more shaking the door as blood from my pathetic window cut trickled down the door to add to the drama.
THEN – A VOICE – An Indian voice, speaking Hindu or something close, not something I’m well versed in.
‘Help me, please help me’ I cried out in desperation with a sudden pathetic tone to my voice and a small croak thrown in for good measure.
Footsteps tip-tap away and my saviour had gone – back to NOTHING again so I repeated the procedure.
Finally, 20 minutes of talking outside and the noise of keys being tried on the door it was clear help had come. The problem was I had no idea if I’d locked the door on the inside or not so everytime I heard a key going in I kept pressing this silver button on the door handle to lock / unlock.
SUCCESS (Clearly otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog post) as 4 waist high smiling security guards smiled and clapped as I leapt out from the closet / toilet, sweating like I was on death row giving them all big hugs and random high-5′s.
Back in the sandwich shop a big smile greeted me as my sandwich was handed over to me without any question in return for the keys as my shaking hands gave them back. Hunger wasn’t featuring anymore but thirst was and as I lugged away my friendly driver beeped with delight and started the car.
No more than 2 minutes later (driver was 100% correct) down a palm tree infested side street was the OSHO meditation retreat as the award for the ‘customer who looks like they really need to chillout here’ pitched up.
‘Welcome to OSHO, Sir, please put your bags there and we will arrange your AIDS test’.
I was in shock – what AIDS test? Food was out of the question now as I handed the driver my scrunched up sandwich that had served as a makeshift bandage for my bleeding finger.
Do share your thoughts on my story above and I’ll be back no tomorrow with my next installment.
Cheers for now folks, Small Toilet fearing Jim.