Pune Pilgrimage

Greetings  from India,

It’s 4:50 am..  Sat. Nov 3rd..not a sound or a light outside. My body still adjusting to the time zone change. Weather  somewhat cooled off from the rain yesterday 70’s or so. Hotel Swaroop is the location on Prabat Road- pretty central to many places in Pune. Breakfast starts at 8am.. laidback compared to our early bustling lifestyle. Breakfast consists of “Upma” cracked wheat prepared like oatmeal with Indian spices,  with several different toppings and flavors. Chapatis always served and ofcourse “chai tea” which has been soo delicious here. The hotel makes it from buffalo milk instead of cow.. getting used to that thought but it’s good. My dear body also adjusting to a new way of eating.. not the protein it is used to since most places recommended by the Ayurvedic Inst. are vegetarian.  But so far so good.

Many thanks for all the support I received getting here.. the well wishes, the notes and cards and prayers and yes watched lots of movies on the plane ride here.. even television series which I don’t normally watch.. They all helped as it was quite bumpy going North to Quebec before heading east on the globe, but made it through with maybe one sweat. It was actually fun being on such a big plane. It was like a country in itself. I was seated next to a traveling yoga teacher/ex Pan Am stewardess, and a young female lawyer from Berlin in the exit row so we had plenty of room to maneuver (for a plane) and lots of time to talk. Having French flight attendants made the trip fun; good food, fun to listen to their accents and quite a “classy’ crew. I  felt a bit like the characters in the movie ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” for the first day’

Spent the day yesterday on “Lakshmi Rd”   with a new student friend walking around to all the sari and punjabi stores.. looking at fabrics , tailors and merchants who offer their work in this way. Stopped for a fresh cracked coconut water on the street to hydrate . The street vendors are filled with little handmade candle light holders made from clay of elephants, turtles and beautiful colors for the festival of Divali which is coming up soon.

Found a raw local cotton fabric made from the state of Maharastra and brought it to a tailor to make a top. Pick up is next friday. Cost $8….pretty amazing. Noone else in western clothing but us.. and certainly designer clothing is out of the picture here . ( not that I wear them necessarily) Changing my everyday leather bag to a cloth one so it doesn’t stand out..So long Gucci backpack.

Believe it or not I have a newfound appreciation for our Atlanta drivers.. well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but picture motorbikes everywhere and three wheeled taxis with NO LANES.. cars, bikes and cabs coming at you literally from all directions. It’s insane but have to laugh and have fun with it. Somehow they manage to make it work in this chaotic way. Atlanta drivers at least have a direction and a plan, but no road rage here. They all make it work somehow. The pollution however is astounding. Saw many people covering their face with a cloth. A taxi ride for about twenty minutes is 25 rupees.. about 50 rupees a dollar so go figure.. and there are meters in the cars.  The drivers all say “yes” they know where you are telling them to go but as we drive they stop and ask each other on the street where the location is. It’s really  cute.

We spent three hours in a phone store attempting to get sim cards for our western phones with someone who did not speak english. Or I should say we do not speak Maharati. It was a fun game of charades until the person selling the phones got frustrated and handed us over to her manager who spoke english perfectly. Up until then we were all respectfully participating in this challenge with the whole store staring at us. Not an “Apple ” store experience  by any means but  totally sweet in it’s own way. The manager took over with much care and we successfully got our phones working. I said out loud.. if I drank i would have a scotch or something like that.. and he said ‘would you like some tea”? and within a few minutes and Indian man came down and served us fresh chai tea on a tray.. hilarious but such kind simplicity.. loved it.

Tempting to eat from the street vendors with their little ancient looking grills and colorful carts but know that my dear stomach would not be happy after.. However I am enjoying the sudden alcoves where “Ganesh pujas” are set up with candles and incense so people can stop and offer a prayer. Yes the “elephant God” Ganesh is much needed to remove any obstacles to our vision of things and he is loved by all here.

It’s been amazing to read about how many saints and enlightened beings have lived in this area from Sai Baba to Nityananda and Muktananda- I am comforted by the energy I feel around me. Although everything is totally different, unmodern, cedar moth balls in the room to prevent bugs, life appearing chaotic from the outside at times, there is a quiet vibe of everyday life humming with the simplicity of life itself.  It’s an interesting change..

I am looking foward to time with Dr. Lad both at the farm clinic and the city clinic; being both with his loving and devoted nature as well as his deep love and commitment to Ayurveda exemplifying a life of “dharma”. I understand he doesn’t stop at night til EVERYONE who comes to the door is seen. The curriculum is based upon what shows up in the moment and what he intuitively lectures on. Quite different from a western formal approach..  a tuning into the students and what they need to learn. The Jyotish astrology will be fun; taught by a teacher form SF state university. Being with all these lovely students and new friends will be great as well..  such kind and thoughtful people.

So until next time .. Namaste.

Blessings to you!!