Last night was one of the most delightful experiences of our Indian adventure so far.
We gathered together to celebrate the birthday of our dear friend and fellow Ashtanga yoga student Lauren.
She has an awesome yoga blog as well – check it out: Western Mind Eastern Thinking.
L kicking back birthday-girl style
I commandeered the ship somehow and had the honor of pulling together a little party for her.
We gathered at the Paradesh Inn here in Kovalam, Kerala. Paradesh is a magical spot and and a very well-kept secret. They don’t have a website and are not easy to get in touch with, but nevertheless, the power of word of mouth keeps this lovely inn booked straight for months. And when you get the chance to spend a little time there, it’s no surprise why.
Arriving at Paradesh is like stepping into another land. It is distinctly not Indian. The large white house sits on the edge of a hill, overlooking the ocean with a wide-angle view, perfect for watching the sunset. It is breezy, all white and blue like a house on Mykonos. The proprietors are an Italian couple who have lived in India off and on for 30 years. They are Gaudiya Vaishnavas, devotees of Radha-Krishna. They are the most welcoming and kind people.
We began our evening on the rooftop terrace, chanting the Mahamantra and other beautiful bhajans led by one of our hosts, Madhava Narsimha Das. Kirtan with friends is always a great way to start off Friday night in my opinion!
After we sang our little hearts out, including a rendition of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (one of my all-time favorite songs), we gathered at a long table to begin our feast. Homemade, super fresh lasagna. It was such a treat!
I wish I had photos of dinner, but I was too wrapped up in the party to pull my camera out, and even if I had, the photos would have been a bit shoddy. Although we felt like we on the Mediterranean Sea, the power cuts of India were still active.
Channeling my mother, I had everyone go around the table, one by one, and share with the group one thing for which they were grateful for about this trip in India and one thing in particular they love and admire about Lauren. You have to shower the birthday girl with love!
More courses arrived – beautiful fresh vegetarian food all made by hand by our Italian hostess. The salad with peppers, brocoli, avocado and grilled eggplant roulades was like heaven on earth after weeks of masala spiced gravies and cooked vegetables. To top it off, a birthday tiramisu and tisanes. The best part of this feast is that each dish is Lord Jagannath’s prasadam – blessed food.
All in all, a beautiful and laughter-filled evening in honor of a dear friend.