Friday, July 24, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Ashram...

So, I've never heard of an Ashram before, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "In India, a place of religious retreat, sanctuary, or hermitage". And I am now reading at a point in both Weiner and Gilbert's books in which they describe their experiences in an Ashram. And although Weiner is writing from a more cynical, and journalistic point of view and Gilbert writes from the perspective of someone who follows a specific Guru, I am actually having a hard time keeping the the two stories straight. There are apparently all types of ashrams, and Weiner meets two women who are ashram hopping. Other ashramites (as the OED calls those who occupy ashrams) are more like Gilbert and have chosen a specific ashram for its Guru. Weiner's big problem with the ashram he has chosen is that he must go three days without coffee, or any caffeine for that matter. I can see where he might become somewhat less than blissful and a bit grumpy despite his efforts to calm his mind.

The other word I found that I never heard before, but have now read both in Mayes and Gilbert's book is "jumble sale", which seems to be what I call a rummage sale. When I first read it in Mayes' book I thought it must be a British term because she used it in her chapter about staying in England, but then when I saw it in Gilbert's book, too, I realized it must be more commonly used in the U.S. than I would have guessed. I have never been to a church jumble sale in any of the 5 states I have lived in - only rummage sales. Where is this term commonly used?

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