Day 19, Saturday March 4
Up at 6:15 before my alarm and got ready for yoga. Boy, it was cool outside but the yoga studio (an addition that was built in 2016) was hot! I don’t think hot yoga is for me 😉
Kirti is a yoga instructor but her passion is for rehabilitation for those with injuries and pain management. She uses belts and ropes and I didn’t receive any elaboration on that. Will have to look it up.
My stomach wasn’t feeling well. At breakfast I found out two of our group were up most of the night and still in bed. The food from the day before? The heat? Dehydration? Or a bug? We have encountered people with colds and sore throats. I had a light breakfast and chose not to do too much. Warli art was being taught to our group, I had to go lay down. I tried to drink a lot of water, just felt full. I had a couple of naps and was up at 4:30 to be ready for our neighbourhood walk.
The neighbourhood has changed. Single story homes are now 2 and 3 stories. We visited and peeked into temples and had an in home visit to the same family I had visited 15 years ago! Her kitchen is modern now with a stone countertop and a modern two burner gas stove. A few 30 pound red propane packs sat under the counter. Hmmm should they be kept inside? We are told in Canada to store outdoors.
Hurrying back, the tailors were waiting for us to pick up our saris and sewn Punjabi suits. It cost me 1/2 of the original purchase price to have them sewn. I wanted to wear one to our dinner out with an Indian Family. To my surprise, Kirti, the yoga instructor was where I and another woman were going!
We left around 7:00, walking to their place being guided by a Sangam staff member. So busy! Walking steadily forward there were were so many bikes and rickshaws and people about. I guess it WAS Saturday night. A white car honked its horn right behind us and the front tire came mere inches away from the other woman’s foot, it scared both of us! The car wasn’t moving fast, more like crawling past us on the right side which is the passing side here in India. Then it was time to cross several lanes of traffic. Our staff member was calm, cool and collected as she motioned for us to go NOW! Holding each other’s arms we quickly crossed as the bikes cars and rickshaws went around us one side or the other. It was scary and exciting at the same time. We laughed and were breathing heavily saying OMG!!! Soon we arrived at our destination.
As with all Indian families, courtesy is #1. The sisters had 2 German shepherd dogs in a gated enclosure and we were asked if we were scared of them. We were not. We took our shoes off outside and I loved the feeling of the cool tile on my feet as I entered the home. They are on the bottom floor of a 4 or 5 story walk up.
A drink was offered, I did tell them my stomach wasn’t feeling the best and Kirti suggested lime and ginger water for my stomach. Was it ever good!! I will have to make that at home!
Small talk ensued such as where do you live, do you work, is it cold in Canada. Then we were asked if we wanted to go help her feed the cows. Sure!
She gathered her vegetable scraps in a large plastic bowl and we set off in the dark. It was around 8:00 by this time and I was struggling to stay awake. We first saw a farmer within this village that was milking a water buffalo. I think there were about 8 cows and calves tied up in this area. On the side next to the lean-to shed where the animals were tied up was a pile of cow patties already formed. Beside them were disks waiting to dry out. We went in the darkness to the temple. A dim light was switched on and I could hear her talking to another woman, keeper of the temple. Next to the Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh statues area, was a cow with painted red horns. She was tied to a rope in this shelter next to the temple. She was so happy to receive the greens, she hungrily munched away. A very healthy looking animal. We were honoured that we were shown this insight to the Hindi religious practice.
Returning to the home, after washing our hands, we were given a tour of the kitchen, a very functional room with black granite countertops and stainless steel cupboards. Everything had its place.
We were motioned towards the table and sat down. Another lime and ginger water tasted amazing. I still didn’t feel like eating but did my best. I apologized for not eating more, the rice, corn patties, rice chapatis and spiced okra was delicious. I will attempt to make that at home.
These women are sisters to the jeweller I visited the night before. I had recognized the entrance to the building, and when he popped in to see his sisters, he was surprised to see me. He offered to take us home instead of us hailing a rickshaw. What a treat! My friend and I sure weren’t wanting to attempt the 20 minute walk again. We had money to hail a rickshaw but a car ride was even better!
The streets were filled with people. It was about 9:30 p.m. Thanking the man, with best wishes and hopes to see each other again, we entered Sangam. The huge wall drowned out some of the street noise. I rang the bell and we were let in through the glass doors and they were shut and peace again descended upon me. Sangam has a way of doing that. My bed was welcoming me…