It has been over a week of classes and getting into the rhythm of that schedule. And this schedule includes eating, bathing, washing clothes, shopping for the water and food to cook, note taking of classes taken and observed, some reading of sutras or fiction (when I can’t sleep in the early hours) and some computer time. Jeanne has been a wonderful companion to share most of these things with. The weather has so far been wonderful. August is monsoon season and it has rained every day and some days most of the day. The rain comes straight down and goes from a mist to a pour. Plastic shoes and an umbrella are constant companions. In spite of dirty feet most of the time, the rain keeps the air much cleaner and average temps around 77. Under the fan, it can feel chilly. Some days the sun breaks through for awhile and then another shower. Its unpredictable and very nice.
Outside our two bedroom doors on the third floor there is a cabinet with a two burner portable gas top, a small refrigerator that now has an added strap around to hold the door closed, another cabinet for storage and a small rack for more storage for pots and pans we use to cook. Luckily Jeanne likes to cook and we like to buy the fruits and vegetables from the different carts on our street. There are a few new carts since last visit so a little less of a walk to find something fresh. The mom and pop grocery store that is my favorite is still here and the strip of stores from the Honda Dealership down–about 6 little stores including the grocery store–have been remodeled. Now there is a long freezer that sits almost outside with frozen vegetables and ice cream that you have to get past to get into the store, which is about the size of a third of the studio. Very small. A miniature grocery story with everything from boxes of cereal, soy sauce to fresh cut okra, with a rack of all the Indian sweets prepackaged that I never know what they are. The couple that own it and their son take turns handling the always crowded petite shop. I love it! And them! I went in Friday and wanted some things that I didn’t have enough money and he took 100 rupees and I owed him 270 more and he said bring it next time. Actually words did not pass between us. He gestured in the air like writing a note and rolled his had like next time. A common language we understood. 370 rupees for all of what I got $6.05! Unbelievable!!
Earlier making this a big shopping spree, Jeanne and I decided to go to the larger vegetable and fruit market which is death defying to move with the traffic as you walk and at the same time learn to merge with it, and into it to cross the street. There are no lights or stopping traffic which is continual– only merge! so the Indian pedestrians of course know how to do this and you watch them and either go with them if you are lucky to be near someone going across or go at your own risk! The larger market is a walk, and lots of traffic and mud so the walk keeps you alert and also watching where you step. The walk was worth it and we bought lots of things including a dozen eggs that looked very fresh-not so clean fresh. Next to the eggs, was cut up chicken piled up which always looks dangerously not ok because of lack of refrigeration. But in most parts of the world meats, chicken and fish are laid out and they have been doing this much longer than I know how its done. We bought lots of veggies and the August fruits—papaya, limes, pomegranates, the little bananas, mangoes, and my favorite The custard apples! Which make their appearance about now as mango season is dropping off. Laden down with bags in each hand we headed back, bags heavier as we made our way. There is a modern market on the way that we checked out earlier but I am committed to mom and pop and keeping them going and the unspoken credit I have without them knowing my name. That is the buying of it all and bring it up our three flights of stairs. The cooking is another story for another time. But you know it is labor intensive and the sink we use for washing the food and dishes is in the bathroom! Really sounds hilarious as I write, but we’ve found our groove shopping and cooking and eating very well. It is quite a nice lifestyle for my time here in India. Love to you all. Lou