I realised something at yoga yesterday: I really don’t like to Om.
I don’t even like listening to other people do it. Having mulled over my dislike, I believe it’s because I associate it in my mind with that time my dad went through his weird Tibetan throat singing phase. Not quite as bizarre as the White Brotherhood period, or the Ananaki that lived on the planet Nebiru chapter (that one is ongoing, actually), but still…
I guess my real problem with Omming (is that the verb?) is that it feels inauthentic. I’m sure other people can connect with their spiritual depths and Om away without feeling ridiculous. All power to them, but that’s just not me. I will sit quietly and pretend it isn’t happening until my thoughts become my reality.
The truth is, while I was practising yoga, in the lovely studio I frequent off Broadway Market, I wasn’t thinking about finding peace, or my inner child, or creating balance in my world. I was thinking about gazpacho. Genuinely. I spent a good seventy percent of the class (when I wasn’t thinking, “Why am I doing this? Can I stop and go to sleep, please?”) craving cold soup.
So, the moment the class is over I wander over to a place I know on Broadway Market. I’ve walked past it many times. It’s called Txotx. It’s a Basque restaurant, and even though I know that gazpacho originates in the South, and Basque food is from the North, I figure it can’t hurt to give it a crack.
“Is your soup cold?” I ask the waitress as I walk in. She looks at me like I’ve beamed down from another planet. “Umm… no… It’s lentil,” she adds, shrugging. Despite the disappointment of not getting what I’m craving, I decided to stay. A gal’s gotta eat.
Inside, the place feels more spacious than it appears from the street. An open bar leads on to a large table opposite an open kitchen. The kitchen leads to more tables and more again behind glass panelled doors reminiscent of a greenhouse. Plants adorn the walls; it’s all green and wood and cream. It’s lovely.
In lieu of my soup, I order a Groovy Green Smoothie – avocado, apple, William pear, green lemon, spinach, mint (£3.50) and Pan Fried Chestnut Mushroom Toast – with garlic and parsley on white loaf bread (£5).
My drink arrives. It’s in a handled jar, the hipster chalice of choice. It’s very green and has a bright pink straw. The toast is one slice, no, half a large slice; I wonder who got the other half. I want it to be a bit bigger, but piled with all the garlicky mushrooms, it’s more than filling.
I want to try some of the other items on the menu but decide that would be greedy. I don’t mind eating alone, but I always feel the guilt of ordering more than I need. I’m happy with what I have though; I love how the smoothie pops with mint and lemon, and occasionally I get a small chunk of apple or avocado that has escaped the blender. The smoothie is like a meal by itself.
It’s a nice feeling, sitting at the large communal table opposite the kitchen, watching the chefs move with calm efficiency. Post yoga. People buzzing around me as I gobble up my food. I’m writing on my phone; the “notes” app is one of my favourites. My nails click occasionally as they move across the letters on the screen. I’m focused, but I’m also completely relaxed. I have another nibble of mushrooms and sip on my smoothie. I am mid-mouthful when it occurs to me… perhaps this is my Om?
TXOTX is in one Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH if you fancy finding your Om.