rainy weekend in Pune

Last night’s capoeira demo class was conducted in a teeny tiny dance studio without lights. The lights had been out since the morning. It was raining pretty hard in the evening so the 42 response rsvp from facebook only ended up being around 10; that was even too many for the size of the studio. It was ok though. Everyone was eager to learn, even if in the dark; we had an emergency light to reflect in the mirror. It was successful in my head. It’s very hard to introduce something so new to people. Some people just heard it was something different; there’s nothing even similar to equate it to here. It only reached India 5 years ago when Baba, the instructor from Mumbai, brought it here. It’s just interesting to describe something I’m so familiar with to folks who have no idea what to compare it to. It’s different than describing it to someone in the states. The US and Brazil have similar histories and more similar cultures. It’s challenging in a good way, testing my descriptive capabilities, and ability to transfer something I love to do to a new culture.
Since I was with folks from salsa dancing I decided to go out with them to the Westin (a super duper fancy hotel which hosts salsa on Friday nights). I got to use my new rain gear that turns me into a grey blob. I feel super cool in it even though I probably look the exact opposite. If I were in New York, I’d make fun of myself a lot! It was a slow night, so even at 11 we were still up and ready for something so 7 of us went to eat at a terrace restaurant/hookah joint. It was sketchy but had really good food and the hookah wasn’t bad either. This was the first time that I went out to do a non-salsa thing with salsa friends. I feel myself getting more and more tied down to Pune. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but it’s just a new development. I’m finding some more “non conservative” friends which is making it easier to stay here and spend more time here. At the table there was myself, an NGO worker, a banker for Barclays, a stock broker, 2 I.T. people and 2 other guys whose profession I’m unsure of. All of us love salsa.
I officially woke up this morning – the first time was because my landlady’s son needed something from the room I’m staying in (they keep some stuff in one of the rooms), the second time the maid wanted to mop the floor – at 11:30. I don’t really remember the last time that I allowed myself to sleep in. it’s been at least 3 months or so. I made the executive decision not to go to Mumbai. It took a really long time to make that decision. It’s raining here, it’s raining there, I don’t really have that much to do here, all my friends are there, what if the train or bus gets delayed either a little or a lot, I have to be back here tomorrow for salsa night because I promised I would be and I want to be. I needed a weekend to myself. I went to the gym, worked out for a bit, and fulfilled the promise to myself that I would get a massage. Being an employee, somewhat, of the gym allows me to get a discount of 40%. I got a full body Swedish massage for about $10. It was absolutely amazing. The only thing that ruined it was the migraine that came and lasted for the rest of the day. But the massage was absolutely amazing. Can I say that again, Swedish massages are amazing!
While working out, I finally watched the TV as I ran. They have mini screens on each of the treadmills. I came to a channel with music videos. So far I’ve been super impressed in the authenticity of Indian music. Most of it is truly Indian and hasn’t yet been infiltrated by hip-hop as many of the other countries in the world have. I mean there are some influences here and there, but even in daily life in general, I don’t see as much influence as I have in other countries. Today I saw Bollywood type music videos with Indian guys in sweat suits, wearing chains; is it bad that this looked really funny to me? It was just such an odd combination. In some dance moves you can see the hip-hop influence, but these videos took it to a whole new level. It’s like the two cultures don’t really mesh at all.
I could say my day was ruined by my migraine but in reality it was probably really good that I rested all day. In the evening I found out that my good friend who has been not feeling well for a while was finally diagnosed with jaundice. I feel so awful for him. His dad came from his hometown to help take care of him. He’s on his way to recovery, but that’s so scary and awful. Another friend of mine in Mumbai just got over malaria, and another friend of mine had bacterial dysentery. When I think about those things, I’m happy all I had was a headache. It does make me worry when I hear about my friends falling sick. What if that happens to me? I’m all alone. My friend in Pune said not to worry and that no matter what happens I have people here to take care of me, but it’s not the same. I’m going to stop worrying for now though, I’m not sick, and I’ll cross that bridge when I have to, if I have to. I’ve done good so far.
Even with my headache I decided to call my parents. We had a lovely conversation. I explained to them about my new backpack and how it’s falling apart. I bought it 2 weeks ago from a nice store. My friend who visited last week said that I can’t buy anything made in India because it will fall apart. It took almost 10 years for my North Face to fall apart, this one took 3 weeks for the stitching in the strap to start to fall out. I eagerly await my early birthday present of a new backpack.
Lastly, today it the batizado in New York for my capoeira group there. I miss everyone there and feel a little weird about not being there. I’ve never missed an event before. Folks are coming in from Arizona, Brazil, California, and who knows from where else to go. I got a few messages via facebook asking where I am. I feel very far removed from that world for some reason. It’s a time where even if you haven’t been around, you go see the rest of the group, you catch up with folks, you get to play a lot of capoeira. Even though I’m training by myself sometimes (less so nowadays) and go to Mumbai on the weekend, it’s not the same. I’ve lost a lot of my abilities, I miss playing with my friends from my group, I wish everyone could come here for a bit.
With that, and the last sip of my tea, I’ll say goodnight and plan on waking up to a rainy Sunday morning in Pune.

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