Raste Wada, Rasta Peth

Because we didn’t get to go to the fair last week I opened my mouth to say that we should take the kids to this tour on Saturday of the Rasta Wada peth. It has an interesting history, the tour would most likely be in Marathi, they might like to go somewhere different, so why not. I regretted this decision last night when all I could think about doing was going to sleep and just lazying around on a Saturday morning/afternoon. I begrudgingly woke up this morning, stumbling around the house to get out. When we went to pick the kids up they were all almost ready and we piled in the car, Ishwar was on my lap.
When I said to get in the car he said he didn’t know how to open the door. It was a nice learning experience. It was Ishwar, Sabu, Lingapa (Chapel), Prakash, Avinash, and Ganesh. With the five of them in the backseat, Vineet on his bike, we ventured to the city for the tour. It was a great tour of the Rasta Wada which is the only peth that well planned. All the other peths are unorganized, the streets go here and there with no city planning feeling, and the Raste Peth is much more on a grid system. The Raste family still privately owns it. It’s falling apart (pictures to be added soon), but apparently, from one part of the tour I heard, the Raste family gave the government plans to make the space greener, to renovate, and the government has been sitting on that piece of paper since 1995. It was absolutely beautiful; it would be amazing if it were renovated. There are public spaces throughout the peth in random nooks and crannies, outside temples, through little passageways. In one building you enter to a courtyard with a gutter system (in the shape of flowers) on the top level. It filters down the water into a gutter that gets saved for rainwater harvesting. Much of the Raste Peth is sustainable. The tour was a mix of English and Marathi. It was nice for the kids because they’d get lost in the English. We even had a watchdog that accompanied us through the entire trip. It was awesome. We passed by this three-legged dog and he stayed with us till the very end. He growled at another two dogs when we were outside a temple and the other two bitterly walked away. It was awesome. We got to go into the house. It was very Indian colonial looking, or at least what I would think an upper class Indian would have in the early 1800s. It was actually built between 1779-84. Anyway, without getting into too much detail, the 9 of us had a good time.
We were worried the kids were going to get bored, we didn’t know exactly how the tour would be. They were amazing. The listened, they had fun. The tour was from 7-9:45. I was shocked. At about 9:00 I handed them my camera. They took off. They actually took really good pictures (again, they’ll come later because I forgot to bring my camera to Dario’s). Anyway, it entertained them greatly. Ishwar kept me close the whole time, telling me when to keep walking. At first he wasn’t a hand holder, but he soon started reaching for mine. He plays well with the other kids but is much quieter. We all have a soft spot for him. Also on the tour people kept asking me what foundation we were from. I said there was no foundation, there was no organization; we let the kids have fun in capoeira and then take them out every once in a while. They actually skipped school today. I want to say that I’m really, really upset, that I yelled at them to not come with us and go back, but I didn’t. The schools they go to the teacher might not show up half the time, they probably get hit (I’ve heard some stories from Ishwar about how if you do masti (mischief) you get hit), you might not learn much and this trip was quiet educational. After the tour, meeting the Raste family, and saying thank yous, we took the kids to the special South Indian restaurant, the really, really yummy one. It was fun. They’re less hesitant about us taking them out. I’m not sure that that’s a good thing or a bad thing but it’s fun. We ate and left. They did their share of masti, the owner yelled them at, but it was innocent kid stuff. I don’t like to yell at them except when I feel absolutely necessary. Their lives are too rigid and adult as it is.
Last night we went out for Susie’s farewell dinner. She’s leaving in 2 weeks. It’s sad. Although we’re not really friends, it’s nice to have a western companion. I feel like it makes a difference.
I’m at Dario’s, had an ice coffee and am sitting with a dying computer. Today I’m heading to Bombay in the afternoon and get to stay there through Sunday. Monday morning I have a meeting there. It’s hot.

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