Last week was the first time in India’s history, there has been a recall and ban on currency. Bills that are 500 Rs and 1000 Rs are no longer accepted as valid currency. This was done in an attempt to fight corruption and end untaxed currency being spread through the economy. The upper class of India does this to avoid taxes on their income. And then on top of that they put their money in Swiss accounts. What this meant for my classmates and me, who are tourists in the country,mix that we needed to exchange our 500 and 1000 Rs bills for 100 Rs bills. We were lucky because our instructors helped us every step of the way. We had to get to Dharamsala to that branch of the State Bank of India and one of our instructors got us help in moving the process along faster. If she wasn’t there we would have had to wait in line for 2 hours.
That’s how it works in India, if you know someone you get special treatment. Her father is a well respected scientist from Dharamsala and she is a medical doctor. For us the entire process took about 45 minutes. To exchange your currency you had to bring a photocopy of your passport and a form, and you can only exchange up to 4,000 Rs. When I got into the country I converted about 400 USD so I have a lot of 1000 bills. I still need to convert about 9 of those bills but we have until December 31st. Overall I’m so happy to have had the help of our instructors through it all.
Other than that hiccup this week everything has been amazing and I had a special spiritual experience in one of my yoga classes. One night after we had practiced our Surya Namaskaras our instructor Tara told us we were going to dance to find our flow. My first instinct was “Great, everyone is going to be looking at my cheesy dance moves.” But I forced myself through that negative, self-involved thought. He then said to focus on your own energy and that he’d be turning the lights off. We could close our eyes if we wanted to but that didn’t end up being necessary.
When he turned of the instrumental music, I actively dropped my inhibitions and danced. Slow at first, and then more free as I became more comfortable. We danced to two songs and I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. I felt like a little kid that dances to good music without caring what the people around them thought. On this trip I am trying to let go of thoughts that may drag my happiness down. Why shouldn’t I dance? No one has any control over my life but me. I am realizing I have let the idea that others are criticizing me hold me back. Anyone who is a decent person, doesn’t care about the petty things and those that do shouldn’t be in my life anyway.
On another note, I am in love with veggie momos. They are a Tibetan food that are similar to dumplings. I’ve had them in a soup and steamed. Every time I go out for food I have ordered them and I don’t plan on stopping!