Capoeira Weekend with Mestre Caxias

This weekend commemorated a first of all time. It was the first time a mestre of Capeoira Brasil has been to India. It is also the first time any capoeira mestre has ever been to Pune. It’s this huge beginning. It started as a simple conversation between my teacher and me and all of a sudden it came true. A capoeirista from Holland who lives in Abu Dhabi also came and taught the class yesterday. We had a disgustingly full weekend full of shopping, eating, walking (a lot) and, of course, capoeira. It was amazing. My friend volunteered, at my request, to pick Caxias up from the airport. We left at 2am and came back by 10. Some folks from the Bombay group also came to show their support for his arrival at the airport. After a long journey to Bombay and back, we took a nap and ventured the city of Pune. We took Caxias and Paturi for their first food in India, a south Indian thali. A thali is like an all you can eat, multi sauce and vegetable, food smorgasbord. The food keeps coming. We took a walk in the peth area, the old part of Pune to show him a bit of MG road, what the city used to look like, something interesting in Pune. He enjoyed it but we went back exhausted to my flat to only change and go to class.
This was the first time I’ve been able to provide a big deal class to the capoeira group here. I’ve been fortunate that my friend (and who I consider a brother) Succuri has come to give classes in the past, but this is beyond a different level. It was also nice because it was before all of the Bombay people got here so they got a little more one on one attention. They got to hear about capoeira from someone from Brazil, from someone important and who knows so much and has so much to share. It was an amazing experience for then.
Even though we were exhausted, we enjoyed a “party” at a “club” where one of the students works. It ended at 12:00, probably to our benefit so that we could sleep. We didn’t give Caxias a moments rest. The next morning we left by 9am to walk the trek that my friend showed us a few weeks ago. Even though we got a little lost on the way down, we managed to arrive at Chatoshingi temple safe and sound. We met the Bombay CDO group for lunch. This was especially special because, as a group, they’ve never come to visit us here in Pune. It was really nice to see things coming together for a first time. Of course we had to take Caxias and Paturi to do some shopping for some India memorabilia, so after lunch we went to a mini-shopping exhibition. I didn’t mind because I finally got a few things for my family as little gifts. (This also reminded me that I’m coming home soon!)
The roda began late of course. The German who trains with us always asks me if we’re meeting Indian time or on time. I never seem to be able to tell him the correct answer. He’s almost always there before the rest of us. We went to the first park, where we’ve trained before, but never with music, only to find out that we’re not allowed to bring music. You have to pay Rs1 to get in, which doesn’t seem like much until you’re paying for over 20 people. We demanded our money back after the watchman made a huge deal about it, but he wouldn’t give it, saying that we’ve walked in and that we took tickets. It was beyond frustrating, but at that point not worth it; roda time was wasting, so we went to the not as nice, but still nice, park and had an amazing roda. This was the first time that the Pune group has had a full-fledged roda with more than just Jonas or myself playing the instruments. It was awesome. We got quite a crowd as well. It was great! One of the kids in the crowd is Akash. He participated in the workshop, came to class on Monday as well as today. He said that he has problems at home and that when he’s around us he can tell he’s a part of a family. It was beyond special to hear that. Sometimes I think that if I could dedicate more time to those kids I’d make a huge difference in their lives. I’m not a capoeira teacher in the first place, and I’m a bad kids capoeira teacher. It’s completely different than teaching them in a classroom; I have no idea how to do it.

Quickly after the roda we had class and of course did the going out for socializing afterwards. A friend of mine recently opened a restaurant/hookah bar and we were able to play our music (albeit very, very softly) and we basically had the place to ourself. One of the big differences is that we had to leave a bit after 1:30. This was much later than the place should have been open even. On Sunday we rented a car and one of the students from here took his car to Mumbai so that we could have a roda there. It was a great car ride to just relax, talk to my teacher and my friends. The roda there was along the beach (even though you can’t call it the same kind of beach you’d find almost anywhere else in the world (as far as I know) because it’s not quite beach-like.) The energy of the roda was beautiful. Everyone played together like a nice capoeira family.
Putting together events and hauling people around is extremely difficult; I am really happy though because it went off flawlessly, despite some of my stress moments. It also reinforced how much I know about being here, living here, surviving here, and making the most out of my time. I have a great network of people who can do some pretty amazing things such as helping out when necessary, driving insane distances, making you laugh when you’re stressed, etc. I happen to be in pre-thanksgiving mode at the moment so things like that will happen.
We took Caxias to the airport and drove back to Pune. It was a really, really eventful and special weekend.

Tomorrow I’m making my friends have a Thanksgiving dinner. I said that it can’t just be a time when we all just hang out and have a few drinks or watch TV or come in and out when we please. I’m making it a proper potluck dinner. Everyone has to contribute a dinner item. Everyone has to be there on time, everyone has to sit and eat together. Tonight Manoj asked if we had to do the Thanks part of it, I said yes. There’s no way I’m missing out on that.

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