I missed my train

Again I find myself just a bit too tired to give a just entry. To say the least I had an adventurous weekend. On Friday I left without knowing who’s house I would be sleeping at. Luckily for me, I’m blessed with a good group of friends that, in the end, I had several offers. I didn’t meet anyone on the train. I think it’s getting harder and harder to meet folks (although I met a really interesting guy on the bus today). Maybe India is getting used to me.
This time around in Mumbai I stayed with Priyanka, the girl who I became much closer with in Goa. We had a great time. It was nice having some girl time. Priyanka lives a bit farther away so we met in Andheri area and then took a rickshaw to her house. We hung out, ate dinner, and decided along with her brother that we wanted ice cream at 12:15pm. We called our other friend Zorro with the joke that I was stranded in the mall with her phone and she left me over an hour ago. Without thinking twice, he said he would be there in 10 minutes. I’m not sure how he believed me with my giggles in between; but before he seemed too worried I let him know that he should come anyway because we were on our way for some sweets.
The next morning after a nice breakfast, some news with her dad, and some straightening in up, we went to the mall. I’m not one for shopping. Anyone who knows me well knows that I get frustrated quite fast. We managed to dump a bunch of sale items in a bag, try them on (meaning I tried on clothes and she tried on a shirt) and were out of there with smiles on our faces and one purchase each in hand. It was a fun shopping experience. We then got to go hang out with Nupur and his mom who I haven’t seen in a very long time as well. (This was a nice catch up weekend). They were watching the first cricket match between India and Bangladesh. I still think cricket is boring. Half way through the game we headed towards class.
Mumbai is attempting some of the good initiatives from New York; not to say that they’re copying, but that both cities are taking some steps in the right direction. A few weeks ago Mumbai had “No TV Day” and this Sunday, a neighorbhood called Bandra, had a no car day. They’re trying to get bike lanes and hopefully one day a month where cars are not allowed along the long lane. The capoeira group performed on the street, once in the morning, once in the evening. In between we took a nap. This is one of the best things about Indian culture. I think everyone should institute naps after lunch. Baba has a great saying that goes, “after lunch, nap a while, after dinner, walk a mile.” I think the world should live by this policy. I felt amazing after my nap. It also helped with the fact that last night I missed my train and got home at around 2:45 am. Due to no cars on Carter Road (the road along the beach in Bandra) all of the other streets were completely jammed. The rickshaw driver tried several back roads, only to come to a traffic jam. At one point a woman leaned to our rickshaw and said that we’d be stuck in that spot for at least a half hour. I came to the realization that I was going to miss my train and joined my friends back on Carter Road for some street line dancing and plain old silly time.
The following story will go into the blog because I feel like I should be honest and transparent. No one is allowed to tell me how I should live my life here though, especially those in the US. So a while back, I met a family on the train. I remember writing about them. Vishal “saved” me when I didn’t make it into the general car and said that I should sit with his family. We’ve kept in touch here and there on facebook, on the phone when I’m waiting for trains, but nothing much. A few times he scolded me and asked why I was taking the train back so late and that if I ever wanted he could just drive back to Pune because he goes often to visit his brother. I finally took him up on the offer and we set off around 10pm. It was a great ride back. Everyone I meet comes with a different story, a different perspective on the way things are, different music tastes, different comparisons to make, you get the idea. Exhausted, I arrived safe and sound at my home, thanks to someone who I met on the train. No I’m not stupid, I met his family, I’ve been keeping in touch through a few mediums, and I’m a really good judge of character, so please, no one try to give me a mini lecture.
I was completely exhausted today, but I was at work.

Something else to bring up is the new visa rules that India instated in November. Apparently all foreigners need to make at least $25,000 a year. If I were living in New York, if anyone tried to pay me that little, I would laugh no way. However, $25,000 here is a huuuuge salary. The other American who works here, Susie, is going through some visa issues. I’ll have to go through the same in about 8 months. She read on the internet today that Save The Children is very upset about this as well. I say we should unite with them and say there needs to be a clause in that requirement for NGOs. Someone heard that they made that restriction so that more jobs could go to Indians. It’s going to be a big problem for many, many expats.

Something fun and unrelated is that I got my hair cut. This is the shortest it’s been in a very long time. Granted, it’s not that short, but it’s shorter than I thought it would be. It was also one of the fastest haircuts ever. I went to this place because the owner is my friend’s ex-girlfriend. She did a really good job. It cost 400 rupee ($5). I feel fresh.

Topics you can look forward to in an upcoming entry include seeing my first accident actually occur, less bureaucracy being a good thing for non profits, overcharging rickshaw driver, and possibly my bike and getting a new space to teach capoeira. I gave myself a time limit so I can make up some sleep time. We don’t have power nap afternoons in the wok place, so I’ll make the adult decision to go to sleep early. Happy Monday. Good night.

    • Naveen
    • February 22nd, 2011

    Hey Ana, till the time you get your new bike, one way to avoid overcharging rickshaw drivers will be to take bike on rental. These are available for 1500 Rs per month (50 Rs per day). I know of one Mehta Motors who rents out bikes and scooties in Pune. Pls let me know if you would like to explore this option.

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