Nana and His Rickshaw
I believe it was David Byrne (it’s possible he was quoting someone else) who said, “Rich people will travel great distances to take pictures of poor people.” Certainly by local standards, this was me.
The last few weeks have been some of the most evolutionary of my recent life. For those of you following along, you know I’ve been through some harrowing times and some adventures, had a good deal of fun and done some great shopping. A friend of mine from home, who has been coming to India for 40 years and still finds it quite challenging said, “India is relentless in its pursuit of forcing you to become who you really are.” His words carried me through much of this journey.
My Ego was obliterated on the mat and my days made needlessly complicated by the simple lack of infrastructure this country suffers. I was forced to phone a friend for some emotional support for what I was experiencing. And yet somewhere around day 13, I came through the dark night of my own soul and emerged happy, energized, and excited to go to my next class, buy yogurt from the little store on my way home, and cross the death-defying 6 lanes of traffic that separated my neighborhood from that of the Iyengar Institute in Pune. India has a pace all its own and it clearly took me some time to adjust. As I get ready to leave, I am simultaneously relieved and sad and anxious to come back, though next time I will make a point of staying longer and seeing more of the country. There is just way too much good stuff here not to spend more time.
I made some friends here who I will miss very much. Parvez and his wife Zarin sell CDs and books in the institute. Parvez was a pharmacist for years and evidently sleeps on my Eggs to help the severe curve in his back — perhaps from years of hunching over to fill prescriptions? He and his wife love the Eggs so much they want to be my Indian distributor. Rima tailored a dozen articles of clothing for me by way of contributing to my Indian makeover. And Nana, oh, Nana. Everyone needs someone like you if they’re going to come someplace like this. When Nana was with me, life was smooth. When he was absent, life was much more… real.
I have some parting advice I’d like to offer for anyone coming here in the future. Feel free to ignore it. (more…)