I Need Perspective

August 9, 2012 § 7 Comments

Behold, this is my lizard brain at its primitive best.

Browsing through the New York Times’ headlines on my phone this morning, this article about stray dogs in India caught my eye. Since I’m headed to Mysore this November, any mention of the subcontinent has taken on a new significance, except for their performance in cricket or the Olympics. Actually, both.

What followed after a horrified reading of this article – of which the facts, may or may not be blown out of proportion – was 20 minutes of web reading about what rabies is (fatal), how to avoid being attacked (still figuring that one out) and what else can kill me while in India (lots, apparently). A friend who spent two years in a village at the foothills of the Himalayas gave me a list of vaccines to get before leaving: yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and typhoid, as well as the ‘must-have’ items in my medical stash, like malaria pills, Cipro and some anti-worming medicine.

Now, I’m fully prepared to spend a few days (i.e., less than a week) limp and lifeless in bed, puking (or dispensing by other means) my guts out and all the afflictions that come with a first-timer’s trip to India. But I’m not quite prepared to contract some fatal bug and die! Although, come to think of it, that would make everything alot more efficient – attain samadhi at KPJAYI, get sick, die. Boom!

Not to be overly dramatic or anything but I am worried!!!!! So if you’ve been to India in the past couple of years please help restore my sanity by sharing your stories and tips on how to avoid fatal bugs and viruses while in the subcontinent, apart from bringing hand sanitizer, not drinking tap water, etc etc etc. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

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§ 7 Responses to I Need Perspective

  • V says:

    I went to Mysore for a month in 2004 and over three months in 2005 and never got sick. Now the gods will certainly get me on my next trip :-), but this was my experience.

    • D says:

      That’s comforting to know, thank you for sharing! I think your good fortune is a testament to your strong constitution 😉

      Did you bring any probiotics/meds/vitamins along with you?

  • globie says:

    Don’t panic. Unlike in Goa where the dogs hang out in packs and do go for people, the dogs in Mysore, especially in Gokulam are skittish and more likely to run away than attack. They also tend not to hang out in packs. I dont like dogs, but unlike in Goa I was never worried, if you don’t touch them they don’t touch you.

    The places yoga folk tend to eat at are clean, I had no stomach issues in my 3 months there last year. Depends where you stay, but some places like ours have a basic kitchen, so you can cook for yourself.

    If you want any info email me. Mysore is great, you will have a ball.

    • D says:

      Thank you Globie!!! I never thought dogs would be an issue in Mysore….until this article, so thanks for putting things in perspective. I guess staying alert and using one’s common sense is the best remedy.

      I’m certainly looking for an apartment with some kitchen facilities, and I’m sure many abound. Haven’t started the hunt just yet. Got my tickets, got the spot at the shala, next up is applying for the visa and then dealing with the vaccines (needed or no) and everything else. I will definitely be in touch with questions!

      • globie says:

        The apartment I booked a room in also included airport pick up, wifi, kitchen and a washing machine. I still have the owners details if you want them, you can book and pay before you go, he has a Bank account in the US. It’s often a problem when people arrive trying to get the ATM’s to pay out enough Rupees for Shala fees, rent and living money.

  • Alex Godfrey says:

    Hi D,

    I had a six week trip to India a few years ago and had no health problems at all, so I wouldn’t alarm yourself too much. I wasn’t there for yoga, but I did go to Mysore. I had the various vaccinations as recommended by my GP. Here’s a few other tips from my experience.

    Sticking to vegetarian food helped. I’m also a fan of drinking lots of ginger tea. I took some tummy upset medication with me just in case (it was called Immodium, available over the counter from the pharmacy) and some rehydration salts. I never needed them. What did make me feel queasy at the end of my trip was the malaria medication – which after prolonged use can give you heartburn as a side effect. In retrospect I probably wouldn’t take that on a future trip. Frequent applications of good mosquito repellent would probably do the trick.

    Keep a little bottle of antiseptic hand wash with you in your handbag – and use it often. Eat in establishments which are full of local people. The great food is something I still dream about. Embrace the straw in your drink. Bottled water, obviously. I recall eating a lot of bananas (stick to fruit you can peel).

    You’re unlikely to be chased by a pack of dogs in a busy city like Mysore. In outlying areas I was followed by packs of cute, giggling kids, but never dogs.

    Your comment on the cricket made me smile. As an Australian I was asked by every second person of my opinion on the cricket. Next trip I will definitely brush up on it before I go.

    As a parting shot, I have experienced tummy upsets on travels in the US and Europe, but didn’t in India. Maybe the Hindu gods were smiling on me? So relax, prepare well for it, but don’t lose any sleep.

    I can’t wait to read all about your trip.

  • D says:

    ALEX!! I am immensely grateful that you took the time to write such a long, thoughtful comment. THANK YOU!!!

    I have started taking probiotic supplements to strengthen the gut and my immune system, and will keep your tips in mind. I have had other yoga mates just return from Mysore who said that there’s no need for Malaria medication, so good to hear you affirm that too. I plan on bringing a mosquito net and will stock up on insect repellent.

    Thank you thank you thank you!!

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