Pre Diwali

It was a fun filled home weekend. I felt like I was having a nice relaxing weekend for the first time in a long time; no traveling, no big plans, just relaxing and relaxing. We watched Baraka at my friend’s place on Friday night. We brought Caxixi (our puppy) along with us. It was kind of hysterical to see grown people run away scared from a tiny puppy. Many folks here are very scared of dogs; I can understand being scared of big dog, but not of a puppy no bigger than one’s forearm. Manoj and I thought it was funny.
Friday was a grading party at the office. We just did assessments and as bad as going to a million different centers to test kids, it’s even worse sitting down and grading papers. It’s just not the best part of the job. The fun part was that everyone had to wear a saree. I draped my own from home – Manoj laughed at me in the morning saying that I am so not graceful but that it looked like I did a decent job – but at the office I was re-draped to look proper. I had everyone convinced that I came on my bike in the saree; everyone! I got a ride with one of the teachers who had to pass by my house anyway on the way to the office. Almost every teacher came in wearing a saree.
Saturday was perfectly relaxing and enjoyable. I went to my old home to finally pick up my deposit. I sat with my old landlady for some time; we spoke about how things are, that I should come and visit for dinner, her older son is thinking about marrying this woman who doesn’t live so far away. I saw her picture, they told me about her. I’m thinking of going back there for dinner some time this week. The rest of the day I spent with my friend and her family. We went for Rajasthani thali that filled us all too much, spent time at her house, went to her grandmother’s house, went to an exhibition where I finally bought a present for home (I’m starting to think about that now, I’ll be home in less than 2 months!!!!!), and her parents and cousin came home to meet Caxixi and see our place. I love her family. They’re really nice to me, they’re really nice and fun people in general, and make me feel quite at home with them as well. It’s nice.
Sundays used to be for sleeping in, but there’s none of that now. First of all there’s something called an internal alarm clock that I’ve developed that doesn’t really let me sleep past 8:00am. Second, I went on a run with a friend of mine on Sunday morning at 8. It was nice. My neighborhood has a lot of trees; it has a conglomeration of huge mansions in some lanes and then smaller apartment buildings and slums on the roads. It’s beautiful. The morning runs are great. Ritesh, my friend, brought some pohe his mom made and we enjoyed that and some coffee when we got back. Manoj and I walked all over for the rest of the day. It was my first long distance walk in India. The diversity is interesting. We don’t have the same sort of mix in the city in such short distances. We house shopped. It feels much more homelier now. We got a few wall hangings and things to put around and about. In the middle of the walk, we were joined by Ritesh and Kritika and went for some amazing South Indian thali at the South Indian place I love. After, we passed by the only synagogue in Pune. Having never been I thought it would be great to take a look; it was a frustrating ordeal. At first they said only I could go in, after asking if I was Jewish. For those who don’t know me too well, I’m not really Jewish; I had my bat mitzvah and then never went back to any religious institution; I’m spiritual and open to ideas but don’t commit to a religion or doctrine. Then I tried to explain that they were my friends and I wanted to show it to them as a cultural experience. They had to get the watchman, then they said it was fine but he had to come meet them. In the process the manager came and said that I needed my passport to enter and that my friends couldn’t enter. What is that? I argued with them, even yelled saying that I’ve never heard of a Jewish institution in New York ever doing that. Apparently they’re scared of terrorism. I can’t get over it. My friends saw me fuming for quite some time. I’m not sure exactly why I’m so angry, but I am.
Blog craziness happened! My friend Kanchan from grad school just posted on my facebook wall, “I had a very “meta” moment last week, thanks to you – my mum sent me a link to your blog about the ganpati post. She did not know you and I knew each other in real life(!).”Kanchan is also from Australia; I believe her parents shifted there when either before she was born or when she was very young, from India. The world is indeed a teeny tiny place. You never know when something will pop up. I responded to her in awe. She said she had a very interesting time explaining to her mom that we knew each other.

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