Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making Friends

The atmosphere here at the institute has been so friendly and congenial. It's really been wonderful. There are probably about 150+ people in most classes, though they are getting smaller and smaller as the month winds down and people need to leave. It's so exciting to be in a room full of people who are so passionate about and dedicated to the study of yoga. Not only that, but there are people from all over the world: France, Italy, England, Ireland, Argentina, Spain, Japan, Russia, South Africa and beyond. Not to mention plenty of Americans and Indians, of course!

We've met so many wonderful and friendly and kind and interesting and inspiring people on this trip... it's been such a joy. Here's a small sampling...

First up... Manjish!!! Our most special Airplane Family! We met Manjish on the flight here... which was adventurous and complicated enough that we bonded with each other. He's a Pune local, studying for a masters degree in the US. He is such a wonderful, wonderful person. We got to hang out together a few times here in Pune, and it was such a super treat to have such a fun and friendly local to show us around. One night he and his cousin Naranjan took us out to a really fun spot to play pool and arcade games and such... followed by a dinner at a really cool spot called "Up and Above," with a view of the city.

Another night we all got together for a trip to the movies and dinner. We saw a hot new movie called "Dhobi Ghat," which Jane and our friend Mimi and I all enjoyed very much. Manjish and Naranjan and their buddies Sarvesh & CD didn't like it quite as much. Maybe it's more a 30+ lady movie than a 20+ guy movie! ha ha. Anyhow, as always, it was so fun to spend the evening with Manjish and his buddies. Now we will be awaiting his visit to Santa Cruz so that we can return the favor!

Back at the Yoga Institute... Sometimes there's time for a little chatting with people next to you before class, and maybe a little exchange of ideas during practice time, but there's no real area or zone at the Institute to chat and socialize after class... so the coconut man across the street has become the place to be. You can grab a fresh coconut, rehydrate, and chat with folks... all while standing in the street with motorbikes and rickshaws whizzing past!

Speaking of rickshaws, here's Mimi, Jane, and me ... grooving in a bright yellow rickshaw together! I love how our hair is flying all over the place! Mimi is a super fun New York gal and she is just great. She has been one of our number one pals on this trip - she's kind and fun and smart and all-around wonderful. I'm so glad I've gotten to know her! We've shared all sorts of various dinner dates and walks and expeditions and talks, and it's always a pleasure to be with her. Tomorrow will be our last day to hang out together before she takes off, so we'll have a nice little until-we-meet-again dinner tomorrow night. :)

I love this "Sex & The City"-style picture of Jane, Mimi, and our sweet Aussie pal Claire. On this particular day - we were heading home from a lunch date together at Vaishali - a local favorite for South Indian food. You can also see the semi-completed state of the sidewalk on FC Road.... some areas have these nice tiles, but many tiles have become loose, and there are plenty of pitfalls along the way... it's a bonafide obstacle course! Under the hanging wire, down the big step, around the large tree blocking the sidewalk, watch out for that dog poop!, into the street to avoid the people working on the sidewalk, back onto the sidewalk to avoid the cars and motorbikes zooming right at you, step down into the open pit carefully, step up out of the open pit... and so on! Walking down FC requires one's full attention, despite the carefree moment I miraculously captured in this picture!

Carlos and me at the annual anniversary celebration for the Institute last weekend. Friendly, friendly Carlos is a Columbian-who-lives-in-Barcelona. Such a sweet guy with two really great roommates too. They live in our neighborhood, and we often see each other on the way to class or home from class.

Here's Jane & Khaled... Khaled is Algerian, but has lived in London for many years now. He is a really great guy, fun and interesting to be with. On this particular occasion, he took us off on a rickshaw ride to a really great restaurant across town. SO GOOD. Jane and I are the original freaky food freaks - oooohing and ahhhing our way through every meal. Hee hee.

Jane, the luminescent Pat Deacon, and me... again, from last weekend's anniversary celebration. Pat is a long-time student of Mr. Iyengar's from South Africa. She is a beaming source of joy and friendliness and good spirits. Even with a fairly recent hip replacement, she's joined in our classes with an inspiring combination of realism, caution, and gusto. She is also an old friend of our beloved teacher Kofi's, and Jane & I first met her when she taught at the Yogacharya Yoga Festival that Kofi organized a couple of years ago. We were so thrilled to see her registering alongside us at the beginning of the month. It has been such a treat to get to know her better... and I look forward to future Pat-sightings, for sure!

This is just a small sample of wonderful folks from all over the world who we've been spending time with this month: practicing together, mat neighbors in class, lunch dates, dinner dates, and so on. What fun it is to meet so many great people in such a short time!

No comments: