A different way to spend Independence Day

Yesterday was India’s Independence Day. I honestly can’t remember what I did last year although I know I missed a flag ceremony, which happens at each and every school, but that’s as much as I remember. This Independence Day is not to be forgotten. At the last dance festival I was at there was a donation ride by the Pune Harley Davidson club. One of the guys lived in Kansas for quite some time and we got to chatting for a little bit. We met up the day before yesterday so that I could join on the Independence Day ride. My friend was late for the meeting so I ended up around a bunch of mostly 40something year old men, having a whiskey and talking with a few of them, answering the same questions where I’m from, how long I’ve been here, no I don’t ride a Harley but I do ride a bike, what do I do here, etc. I was certainly out of place but didn’t really feel like it. Two of them had also lived in the states, in Kansas and Missouri so we spoke about US things and some differences. I saw family pictures of one man; it was a nice introduction to yesterday’s ride.
We met at 8:30 for a roadside breakfast in my neighborhood. I got a Harley shirt that I had to wear, said hello to all the guys I met the day before, and we spent the morning riding around the city (on Harleys!) with Indian flags attached to the bikes. We made a couple photo and cooling of the bike stops. In the end we ended up at a small restaurant a couple miles outside of the city. It was like we entered a small village. I felt slightly out of place but ended up to the oldest member of the group. Bob (shorter for a longer Indian name that begins with Bob) was in the air force for 20 years before he joined Air India as a pilot. He loves New York. He’s also a part of the jazz enthusiasts group in Pune. Every third Sunday they get together. One person is in charge of learning something about an album or a song and they share it and other stories with the rest of the group. I learned how jazz played such an important role in WWII; I wish I could remember all of the stories he told me. It was such a nice conversation. We also discussed his one many anti-corruption scheme. He wears a blue ribbon every morning. He won’t pay a bribe, he won’t break the law, even if it takes a little longer for things to get done. I really appreciated meeting him yesterday.
When we left my friend dropped me off at Bhakti’s house for a lunch with her parents who were visiting from Indoor. It was so nice to be around parents, and fun and happy ones at that. Lunch was awesome. Bhakti pointed out that it was so nice to see me eating with my hands; at work we usually use spoons. It’s fun to say that it’s more appropriate for me to eat with my hands. We finished up some work and she said that it was a good time for a nap. Because her home feels much like home to me, I took her up on the offer. When I woke up she said that I was sleeping so peacefully, she didn’t feel like she should disturb me – this was three hours after I fell asleep. It was a great nap!
The rest of the day was with some of my Marathi friends who are a part of a hip hop group. They organized a flash mob at a mall, but the group of our friends missed it by 2 minutes. We decided to all go out for dinner with them. It was a really nice way to end a really long and exciting day. There was so much going on; I only now realized it after writing it all down.
This weekend I’m going to a salsa congress in Banglore. I’m excited to dance away the weekend.

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