October in Pune is perfect, not too hot, not too wet, not too dry. The monsoons came late this year, so it rains a little very day. Just enough to clean the air of smoke and dust; to shine the leaves on the trees, and to wash the cars. There is a gentle floral smell as flowers drop to the earth.
There is a little less traffic then last year on Hare Krishna Mandir road. This morning we actually saw a few cows strolling down the center divider. When I first came to Pune in 1986, cows meandered everywhere. They napped in the intersections, grazed from trees, rummaged through the trash. Now, the new Toyota dealership at the intersection that begins Hare Krishna Mandir road leaves little room for cows. But, other things have changed more recently still.
Security. Ever since the bombings at the German Bakery in Koregaon Park several years ago there has been a security guard at the Institute. Now, when we register for classes, we have to bring a letter from our landlord – if you are renting a flat – and a utility bill to prove that he/she is the landlord. The landlord has to file papers with the police that include a dark legible copy of your passport with the entry stamp and visa. Tracey and I had to go to the Xerox place several times as the copies were not good enough. Many things have changed. But many things remain the same.
India. The general kindness of the people, the beauty in their eyes. The liveliness of the streets, the craziness of the traffic, the cacophony of crows, and the good food! One does not know Indian food until one has traveled to India. The Indian food in Los Angeles is like pointing to a meal in a window, and I like many Indian restaurants in LA! But the variety here is amazing, and delicious. Within the first three days, Tracey and I have eaten two thalis – at the Shreya and Asha Dining Halls – and hare baba kabob, methi korachoan (don’t ask me, it was fenugreek with a little paneer and wonderful spices), bhindi (okra) fry, rava dosas, and more. They know how to enjoy food!
This morning was our first class, with Gulnaz. It was a ladies class, on Saturday morning. Perfect for people arriving recently and recovering from jet lag. Supta Padagusthana series, Jattara Parivatanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Sirsasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Salamba Sarvanagasana, Savasana. fab….
I will post every few days, so tune in for Pune Play #2 in a few days. Sweet hellos from India…