Independence Day In India-Wednesday August 15th

Today is Independence Day and there are no classes at the Institute. One of the teachers at the Institute, Gulnaz, offered 9 of us to take a morning class at her studio. We met in front of Pune Central which is a huge new mall almost across from the Insitute. She and her brother had cars to take us to their studio. It is small but very nice. She is an excellent teacher and taught a basic and detailed class followed by a lovely Indian breakfast/lunch. Upma is a semolina cereal with India curry seasoning,  served with a coriander chutney and idles, which are I think, rice or semolina also. Idlis are roundish and thicker in the middle about 3-4 inches around. And there was chai tea. So a wonderful Indian morning! Afterwards, delivered back to the Institute to walk home, one of the women who is renting a room on the second floor, Suzette, and I took a rickshaw to  MG Road–Mahatma Gandhi Road. This is the day India became its own country free from England so there were little flags in places but most stores were open even though the schools weren’t. It was nice because there was less traffic and we got to MG Rd. a little faster. This particular shopping trip was mostly to look. There is so much going on in Pune, buildings going down and new, modern ones being built. The building across the street from where I am staying here has gone down in the 2 weeks I’ve been here. Lots of noise, and debris in the air! So, the rickshaw let us off (80 rupees about$1.20) and we headed out on foot. There’s everything from groups of men standing, talking, families, blind people, children and women asking for money, people with horrible disabilities, dogs that mostly lay quietly on the irregular sidewalks. All the dogs look alike, just different sizes and they seem so mild tempered and unaffected by all that goes on around them—which are hundreds of people passing by constantly. You just watch where you step and keep moving. There are fruit stands, juice stands, corn off and on the cob with condiments to add,  lots of goods on racks for sale—socks, to hair care, bags, clothes, etc. and these are in front of the stores.So you look left and right to take it all in. Off MG Rd. and back in to some smaller streets there is what is called the silver district. Very small shops line the street as far as you can see, crowded with people and motorcycles and an occasional car these days-all of us going down the center of the narrow road. Suzette was looking for bracelets for her daughter and I a chain necklace. I had the address of one jewelry shop where  we both found close to what we were looking for. I had little money with me and the owner  didn’t want to take a credit card, so he said you wear the necklace and bring the money when you come back to pick up Suzette’s bracelets. So I walked out with the necklace on, liking the feeling of trust he bestowed upon me. He said he knew Mr. Iyengar a long time ago and that his students would be honest people. Positive karma for sure-all the way around! So, a few other stops and then a rickshaw back to home away from home. Thursday morning at 7 is Prashant’s class. Back to being the student and the full schedule of practice, observing, listening, experiencing, cooking, boiling water, and feeling so appreciative of this time!

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