Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thoughts of a tourist on the massage table in India


I am in an Indian hotel. 

OH has been here on business, and I have been persuaded to join him for a few days. He likes it hot. I like it cold. Currently it is 34 degrees. 

On arrival we got one voucher for a free beauty therapy at the spa.

OH ( my other half) insisted that I use my free voucher. 

15 minutes of beauty therapy. 

Designed to get me into the spa and wanting for more. I was reluctant, but he insisted...

As we have been up since 5.30 am to see the local sights before the heat of the day, I succumbed to his pressure after breakfast. We have a long day ahead, and the weather is very, very hot.

A young man at the spa reception desk looked in his diary. As far as I could see, the day had no bookings whatsoever . 

'When would you like to come' he asked

'Now please'.

No time like the present.

He pencilled me in with care. No discussion of what treatment was being offered. OH left me in his hands and I was ushered into a room. 

Door closed, curtains drawn. I expected a young lady to appear. But no. I was in the hands of the male receptionist, behind closed doors.

The young man instructed me to lie down. I lay on my back. He told me to turn over. I lay on my front, and through the head hole gazed down onto a bowl of beautiful red flowers floating in water, carefully placed on the floor below. How very relaxing , thought I. 

I still had no idea what to expect, and felt somewhat apprehensive alone in the room with this silent man. No one else around. As always, I expected the worst……..

I'd rather be at the beach.

the beach, Mahabalipuram

And then it began. Fifteen minutes of therapy in which my mind wandered……..

Ah ha!

It is a leg massage

He oiled my left leg and started massaging my calf. 

Ow. I cried 

Sorry, said he.

Up and down the calf and then down to the ankle

This is meant to be relaxing. Relax. Try to enjoy this. At least I have all my clothes on....
I wonder where the other staff are?

Why is massage always so painful?
At least there isn't any whale or dolphin music.

Now the toes. Each one individually crushed between his fingers.

That hurts too. I'll try to keep quiet and pretend it is nice. 
Does he expect a tip? Oh dear. I have no money on me. What will he think? And I haven,t shaved my legs properly. All this running around in long trousers in the heat in order to be respectful to local custom has allowed my standards to slip. 

Are my legs a lot fatter than local ladies' legs? Does he think they are disgusting?

At least I had a shower before breakfast, so my feet are clean.

Back to the calf. 

Don't laugh. It is not supposed to be funny. Pinching and flicking. And now bending my leg and ankle . I hope I am as flexible as I should be. I am so 'relaxed ...

Second leg.

I know what is coming now. A facial would have been so much more relaxing. Slick, pummel, pinch, stretch, press toes, press heel,stretch ankle, flick  vigorously and slide hands over tender muscles from ankle to knee.

7 minutes each side.

All over in a jiffy. 

Would I like the oil wiped off?

No thanks, I think I'll keep it as a souvenir .


I am not sure I'll be back. Not for a bridal body massage or a Serena mud rub. Certainly not for the deep body massage, and not in a million years for the Serena Dhara synchronised body massage with two 'therapists' simultaneously, which will have a  balancing effect on the deepest recesses of my brain. 

Not a good idea. You never know what might be hidden in there.

Time to relax by the pool.

It's free, much safer, and I can listen to the sound of a hundred crows cawing under the shade of a coconut tree. 

crows and a coconut tree

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