here and there

Again hot weather and mosquitoes are plaguing me. It’s definitely not as bad as it was in the other room, at least I’d like to think it’s not. I was especially exhausted today so after getting some food and unsuccessfully trying to buy a pair of shorts, I tried a power nap, which ended up being a real nap and now I can’t fall asleep after getting into my PJs.

I realized why I was so miserable last night…apparently it was 104 degrees yesterday and didn’t cool down that much in the evening. It was the warmest day of the summer. Driving around in the heat is pretty bad as well. If you cover yourself, you’re hot because of layers, if you don’t cover yourself you’re hot because the sun and heat is directly hitting your body. It’s kind of a loose loose situation. It’s also warm on the bike because here in Pune, girls put a scarf around their face. I’ve adopted this habit while riding my bike for a few reasons; it’s harder to tell I’m a foreigner, it keeps me from breathing in and having my face be in direct contact with a lot of pollution (or at least it does in my head even though my dad says that I would have to get a special mask in order to really keep out the pollution), and it give a barrier between my sweaty head and the helmet – I’m not ready to think of ways to wash the inside of a helmet. Needless to say, it’s hot no matter which way.

I’ve almost been here for 7 months and mustered up the courage to go to a Hindi class. I haven’t actually gone yet, but I called to figure out where and when classes are; it’s a first step at least. Tomorrow I’m going to register – hopefully.

I’ve moved onto a new book. It is a compilation of works by Rabindranath Tagore, a contemporary of Ghandi. Although they had similar wishes for India, I think I like Tagore’s philosophy first. What I learned in Sen’s book is that Tagore saw people before he saw nationalities; first and foremost we’re humans, then we are citizens of a country. I like that idea much more. He was a writer before anything else. I needed a good book, and this on has different sections including his writings on Nationalism and some short stories. I’m excited.

Tonight I went to an engagement party for my friend. He’s wanted to get married for some time and it was great to see him so happy. His fiancé is lovely. Engagment parties, at least for Maharashtran weddings involves a bunch of family and friends coming together and sitting in a big room. At one end is a stage with the couple and the couple’s family taking turns at partaking in different pujas (ceremonies), any of which involves flowers, praying with different foods (especially sweets), and touching the feet of elders as a sign of respect. The two people I knew there asked on several occasions if I was bored; it was a cool new experience for me, so it was very interesting to watch. Then after the bride does a puja with the groom’s family and the groom does a puja with the bride’s family, everyone takes pictures and then everyone eats. If there’s something fun about weddings and wedding related activities, it’s definitely the food. I met some of the wives of my friend’s friends. One of them even invited me home for some time as well as to visit her native state of Punjab. That is one place I would love to go!

This brings me to my last point of the evening. People here are friendly, very friendly. You can meet someone only a few times and they become very, very good friends. For me, at least, this is really nice, as I don’t have that many connections here. At any point in time you can be invited to someone’s home, out with their friends, or anything, without any deep friendship with the person. It’s not just courtesy either, at least I don’t think. People truly mean that you’re welcome in their homes and such.

On the biking front, gas prices have increase to 68.5 Rupees per liter. It just increased Rs4/liter. It’s huge. We were wondering why there hasn’t been a strike yet. Gas companies keep raking in money, and people keep paying. I expected people to be complacent more in the US, but even my coworker was wondering why there hasn’t been more protest to such things here. I am in the process of reading an article in Mother Jones about how BP keeps increasing their profits. I don’t understand. Due to farmers, diesel is also cheaper here. This causes folks to buy SUVs that run on diesel because the gas is cheaper; I don’t like the environmental implications of this at all. But what are people supposed to do?

I’m also interested to know the atmosphere in the US now that that Republican’s have announced who will be running for president.

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