India Take Two

Healthy confusion. That is how I can best describe the current state of affairs.

What I want is a bit unclear. What I need is beyond me. What is meant to be will be. I have come to peace with this idea and for now, I am living on the question.

INDIA TAKE TWO has a whole new wonderful script. Here are some stories:

I had a frightening wake up call last week when a dishonest auto man decided to take me spinning in the pouring rain. I had to shout at him to stop and quickly leaped from his little cart. The experience was scary. But what was more startling was the reaction from my yoga boys. When I told them, they paused whatever pose they were doing and their eyes widened in shock. Krishna gave me such a firing. “India no safe. All men, bad here. Very very bad. You no trust anyone!” Asharaff told me awful stories of things that have happened to people close to him. They were so grave and upset and serious about it. It gave me the shivers. The boys got me home safely and said I must learn from Pallavi how to drive. Whether it be a bike a car or what. I think they are right. I understand now why people say that India is not exactly the safest place. I must be careful. The next time I went in an auto, I held my umbrella tight, ready to smash him if he pulled any stunts.

I started teaching private yoga lessons. To housewives who want to get back in shape while their husbands are at work and their children are sleeping. So rewarding to make people feel good through movement. Sometimes the babies wake up and want to do yoga too :). Ah I love baby yogis.
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I’ve slowly been shifting to new place down the street. It is tough with these monsoon rains, but luckily I found a maid, Parvati, and she scrubbed the place up. I need to find a good plumber and a hot water kettle. Eventually, a place with kitchen access would be nice.

My Hindi has drastically improved. I have had to use it a lot more often these days and I really enjoy speaking the language with the people. I’ve fallen in love with the “humble India“, usually found among the lower working classes. Our maids, the driver, my yoga boys, the chai walla, the lady at the salon. These people really make me tick. There is no judgement from them. Just genuine hearts and such interesting stories.

Kashi bai, our maid is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever seen. Her face holds a kind tiredness and her eyes just gleam with stories. Even though she speaks only Hindi, she puts things in a way that I can understand. She is patient. Last week she took me shopping for cleaning supplies for my new room. She walked just a step behind me, and expertly fired off the items I needed to the shopkeeper. She made me dump the ugly curtains hanging in my room and told me to buy nya new. She works so hard. She is much older than me, a young grandmother, but she addresses me as didi, sister vs baby, which I really appreciate.

Pallavi has taught me a lot. I really love her. She is not a part of the lower class but she connects with genuine people no matter what their status is. The yoga boys from the slums are just as much her children as her real son and daughter are. Our 5am bike rides to teach yoga are something I will never forget. We always usually stop for 7 rupee tea at some sleepy shack from a barefoot chai walla, and she always says with a mischievous grin, “no one must see us here or they will shout at us!

BKS Iyengar. A very sick and poor child healed himself through yoga and now is world-renowned. A rags to riches story. His humbleness from life reflects in his character and his yoga. His center is not big with marbled floors. It is not boastful. It is not lavish. The classes are not expensive. But it is clean. His yoga teachings are phenomenal. Humble. Yesterday I took my Granny to the institute and we to see Guruji BKS Iyengar practicing! Ninety-five and still practicing! Amazing.

Getting Krishna, one of our yoga boys, out of this country has been an adventure. Pallavi got him another job offer in Thailand. Good job. Good pay. Totally going to pull him out of the society rut that he is stuck in India. It took two months for his passport to get renewed. Two months! I went with him to the passport office and watched him wait in this endless line. People of his class hardly get acknowledged for these matters. When I asked him if he was excited about going, he just shrugged. I realized that he has made himself unemotional to the situation because he doesn’t want to get his hopes up – the possibility of going somewhere is very tough for people of his class. Miracles happened and the day his passport came, he beamed and shot up his hand for my high-five. The visa also miraculously happened in two days. Wow. I am so thrilled for him.

Today we all leave. Pallavi is off to drop Krishna in Thailand and get him set up there. I am off to Chennai to spend a weekend resetting myself at my spiritual meditation ashram. A beautiful way to celebrate my twenty-fourth birthday, don’t you think?

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Much love,
More later,

SONIA

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