Sam loves body massages . I hate it .
One day he dragged me protesting into Ayush, the Ayurvedic corner of the GRT Hotel. There were posters with beautiful Kerala girls on the walls that promised to make a new woman out of me and to banish pains and knots I did not know I had, with magic aromatic oils, reaching parts of my body I could no longer see or reach .
I was led into a candle lit room heavy with the smells of pungent oils . I laid my clothes carefully folded on a small table and wrapped myself in a soft cotton towel, before I climbed up a wooden stool and lay on the cold wooden plank half naked, shivering in fear and trepidation.
A few minutes later a cheerful masseuse, a young girl from Kerala entered and called me Ammachy and made soothing noises all the while stroking my anxious brow. Ammachy relax cheyyu, she coo-ed. All your aches and pains will be so much
better, she promised.
She positioned me carefully on the table as I had overflowed and slipped to the end of the wooden plank ready to flee. She stood at the head end of the plank and held a Muslin bag full of warm amber coloured oil right over my forehead just above my glabella and proceeded to gentle squeeze the oil. Calculated drops of oil fell in mathematical precision onto my forehead , as I lay waiting in anticipation of the next drop.
That done, she proceeded to massage my head and scalp in rhythmic strokes threatening to epilate any hair I had left on my hypersensitive scalp. She then moved to my rudimentary neck that passes insensibly into my trunk and removed the knots in it. She kneaded her way anatomically down to my toes , turned me over and started on my back to start again.
I lay there in Rigor Mortis whimpering “ how much longer? “. The masseuse was amused that I was anxiously waiting for the massage to be over. She told me that her all clients found the whole experience completely relaxing and they usually fell asleep under her magic fingers and had to be woken up when it was all over. AND they always came back, she said . She had never had an Ammachy who did not enjoy her massage. Ammachy relax Cheyyu, she cooed over and over again. Relaxing on the slippery plank was the last thing this reluctant Ammachy had on her mind. I could not wait to get out of the place. The hands on the clock on the wall did not seem to move at all. Are you sure the clock is working I asked her.
When she was done, I jumped up unceremoniously from the plank and fled to the shower, vowing never to return to any pummeling and pushing and kneading of body parts ever again.
One Ayush massage would last me the rest of my life.