I grappled with taking out the part about coming back to Pune several times today. In the end I left it in. Before I get to previous points I wanted to touch on from my last post, I thought about something while coming home from the gym today. Part of this experience is about the cliché term, growing and learning how to be alone. I think for a large part of my life I relied on others to push me. When I was a kid my mom always had to push me to practice the piano or trumpet. I don’t know if I ever really picked it up on my own. Of course I always hated practicing while other people were around; but I never seemed to be able to pick it up on my own. This goes for many things that I did growing up. I did things because my friends did them and I wanted to be with friends, but not really because I wanted to do the things they were doing. I’m not saying that I’m not motivated to do extracurricular activities, but I’m also trying to put some perspective on it as well. Runners, in my opinion, for the most part run because they like to run; there’s this intrinsic value that they get regardless or not if anyone is running with them. The point of all this is that I think I’m finally starting to do things that I like to do, or learning how to push myself. This comes in terms of learning Hindi in rickshaw rides. I’m not really learning the language because no one here really speaks with me in Hindi; I have no one to practice with, but this hasn’t stopped me from studying. I’m not sure I’m getting any better, but I sure am trying in my free time. I also spent an hour at the gym doing basic capoeira moves. I’ve done this before, but not in a place where no one else does capoeira. I have no one to practice with, I’m doing it just for the sake of doing it for me. I’ve also decided to restrict the amount of time I spend on the internet while at home (while the internet is on). I have a book that I’ve barely put a dent into, I have Hindi to study, and I have much needed sleep to catch up on.
Next on my independent of last blog’s list is that I realized that this Sunday marks 4 months, a third of one year. I know it doesn’t sound that significant, but it kind of is. I’m not saying I want to leave, but to know that I’ll be home in 2/3rds time is a nice way to think of going home. I’m pretty sure (at this point) I’ll have to go home to renew my visa; this is based on the new visa restrictions. This means I should be home in October, latest. It’s a long way off, but it’s a goal. I got to skype with my parents for the first time last night. It was really nice to see their faces. Two friends will be here in 12 days. I’m so excited to see them. Lately, while writing emails to friends I started imagining their voices or reactions to things that I’d say. I’m not crazy, but it’s nice to know that I know my friends well enough that I can hear their responses. Going to Mumbai is probably one of the best things for me because it gives me some really great friends. But during the week it makes me pretty lonely. I haven’t seen some of my non-work friends from Pune in a really long time. Jobs get in the way of a social life. This isn’t a bad thing, it makes me focused, but at the same time, it’d be nice to have a social network here in Pune.

Going to some points I wanted to get to earlier.

I’ve mentioned the amount of construction in Pune. There’s so much that it’s worth mentioning again. I’ve heard several times that in five years Pune and Mumbai will almost be the same city. To accentuate the amount of construction is the amount of road signs that advertise new building complexes. Many of them say ½ sold, many of them advertising for buildings that haven’t even been built yet. All neighborhoods have some sort of construction, some new building, some roadwork. It’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing an up and coming building. It’s a pretty amazing time to witness. Most Punites are not so happy about this once small town turning into a big city. I don’t look forward to the traffic becoming like Mumbai. In Mumbai you don’t say how far things are from each other, you say how long it will take to get there. Sometimes 5 km can mean 15 min, sometimes it can mean 2 hours depending on the time of day and the traffic.
Comparatively speaking, it’s much easier to get involved with volunteer work. At any of my old jobs in education, there was a pretty massive amount of paperwork one had to fill out to even volunteer. At HCZ you couldn’t volunteer to tutor kids unless you got cleared with the Department of Education, Department of Health, and passed through a couple interviews. You would have to get fingerprinted at both city agencies. It was a process that made doing a good deed tedious and unpleasant. Here, we get volunteers who go through a training, they find a center that’s close to their houses or workplace, and show up for the center. It’s just nice that there’s not a million hoops that we have to put them through in order to do something nice; something they’ll enjoy and something that will benefit our kids.
I like my local rickshaw drivers and will be sad once I finally get my bike. I was supposed to get it today, but tomorrow is the next d-day. Last week I went to a center that I always go to, except this time the driver (who I know pretty well now because he’s taken me several times – we don’t talk, but we smile and he knows how to get me to my destinations) didn’t put on the meter. I figured that he figured I give him the same amount every time so why bother. I was wrong. He tried to charge me 10 Rupee more. I was upset, appalled, and frustrated with him. This made me look forward to getting my bike and getting rid of people who keep trying to take advantage of me. I was also upset that I forgot to use my new Hindi phrase, Muje gori samajki ooloo mat banao, which means, do you think I’m a fool. The next day I had no choice but to take another rickshaw, as I was going a long distance. I ended up getting the same rickshaw driver. He saw me and immediately got up, smiled, and said, chelo (let’s go). There were no hard feelings. I couldn’t help but smirk and laugh inside.
That’s enough for now. I’ll update you on my bike progress, my teaching capoeira space progress, and “personal growth” soon enough.

    • gaurav
    • March 10th, 2011

    hahahahahaha, is that what you have been told about the phrase “mujh ko gori samjhke ooloo mat bana” hahahahah its a fantastic phrase, more people should say it…but the meaning of the phrase is a little more than, “dont think I am a fool”

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