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Still Here..

INDIA | Saturday, 12 March 2016 | Views [428] | Comments [2]

Yes, I'm still in Pune and likely to be for a while longer as I need to see a notarary lawyer about my flat. Joy! 

If, however, I do not make it to Goa or Kerala, well, c'est la vie as they say in Quebec.

With all this I have had some of the most enjoyable days of my journey (I was shaking my head Indian style as I thought of the best word there). The outing with Omkar to visit a hostel for boys and girls in rural Maharashtra was a highlight. The countryside is beautiful, the children were gorgeous, the staff were gorgeous and the local people were, well, gorgeous too. 

During the two days I was away with Omkar I also gave two addresses (!), one at the World Women's Day festival at the hostel and another at an evening gathering given in honour of Omkar and his team and the work they are doing in the community. The first one was definitely sprung on me a few minutes before the start of proceedings. I should have anticipated the second..

I also attended another gathering of declassified (?) caste groups in a town about an hour distant from the hostel where thankfully I did not have to say anything, merely listen for a few hours to various talks and lively interjections in Marathi. After this and before catching the bus back to Pune we were invited for a fantastic lunch, cooked before our eyes by what had become one of my favourite Maharashtran families.

All in all I was treated with such kindness and hospitality that I was loathe to leave - ever! I also played an Indian tag game that I was just beginning to understand as we thankfully wound it up.

Reluctant as I was to leave I felt the pull of my travels with only three weeks to go and I also wanted to see a lawyer as soon as possible to sort out, hopefully (!) a detail to do with the sale of my flat. On the bus back I was befriended by two young Maharashtrans whose concern for me, though wonderfully kind, served somehow to undermine my confidence. How had I managed to get around Pune let alone India with no HIndi or Marathi? Suhas, one of the young men, then insisted on arranging a taxi for me, much as I insisted that I had got a rickshaw to the bus stand and could surely find my way back to Manusaki. He was having none of my increasingly irritated protestations and I finally caved in and accepted his unshakeable help.

Stepping off the bus, Suhas hailed an Ola taxi with my phone, arranged the pick up point and treated Nilish and myself to tea and himself and myself to a cigarette despite my weak protestations. In the end I was grateful for his kindness, generosity (he had earlier bought me a bitter apple like fruit and insisted I should go to his village next time) and help and was back at Manusaki in double quick time. I am only now, however, recovering my confidence that I can get from a to b and generally survive in India by relying on my native good looks, utter ignorance and the kindness of strangers.

Yesterday was spent getting a new Indian mobile sim card with the help of Vinod, Vivekmitra and other friends. I had finally given up on sorting out my old one, which apparently expires 90 days after activation on a tourist visa. Thankfully the Vodafone shop in Pune was far quieter, more helpful and far less pernitecky than the one in Calcutta where the assistant, Devdatta, had made me write and rewrite my signature as it did not match to her taste, even though she had my passport in front of her (ok I'm blaming). Even though the assistant in Pune, a man with the oldest and most battered Nokia I have seen, could not have been calmer and more helpful the process still took around two hours. BUT, I now have a new Indian number plus can tether my tablet to my phone thus avoiding the mosquitos in the dining room (the boys just do not shut the veranda doors - blame, blame..). 

Getting the Indian sim also allowed me my first visit to the Osho heavy Koregaon Park area, a place that both attracts and repels me, where I came across several purple clad westerners who were enrolled, I assume, on one of the several Osho courses available. The idea of wandering around in public in purple robes that mark me out as an Osho student strikes me with fear and loathing, maybe a good enough reason to go ahead and do it. Not on this trip though!

I did start talking to a nice Iranian girl reluctantly studying English Literature so that she can stay in Pune and India. This was In a burger bar in street 6 (I believe). She suggested a restaurant in lane B by Hotel O where I later went to have a great ABC (apple, beetroot, carrot) juice. She also offered that I could call her so I hope to meet with her tomorrow evening for another adventure.

Today, equipped with new Indian sim (working) I successfully (yes, you read it here) made my way to Pune Junction by auto-rickshaw and from there to meet with a solcitor friend of Vivekmitra at Vadgoan (map and instructions supplied by VM). It turned out that Milind, said solicitor, was not only astonished that I had made it to Vadgaon unassisted but also was not a notorary lawyer, which is what I needed. He is, however, a lovely and generous man and promised to speak to a colleague of his on Monday. I hope this will work out even though it will mean another train journey and a further delay to onward travelling. I am, however, trying to see this as all part of the package of my India trip and a good opportunity to develop patience. Que sera sera??

Milind also invited me to stay for lunch and for the second time in three days I had a stunning Indian lunch, cooked by his of course lovely wife, with some of the best rice I have ever tasted from Milind's grandmother's farm. All of it, however, from the subji to chapati to curd was great!

And now I am back at Manusaki (I know, I know, how did I manage - actually I was ripped off for around 10 rupees by the rickshaw driver which peed me off), a little hot but happy. Around three weeks to go before my return. I feel a little sad now even though I want to see everyone again. Good!

Comments

1

Hello David. I've been dipping into your journal from time to time, not every page by a long chalk but have enjoyed what I've read. Glad you made it to Elora and Baja and I think from your photo that you net with Ratvasambhav and maybe Such Andre too? Did you stay there?

I've been away too for February , in Africa, without WiFi so got out of touch with your progress.

So you must be either end route for home or in transit now so I'll wish you a safe passage and happy landings and I look forward to catching up properly with you soon.

With love from Rich

  Rich Mar 20, 2016 6:27 PM

2

Hello David. I've been dipping into your journal from time to time, not every page by a long chalk but have enjoyed what I've read. Glad you made it to Elora and Baja and I think from your photo that you net with Ratvasambhav and maybe Such Andre too? Did you stay there?

I've been away too for February , in Africa, without WiFi so got out of touch with your progress.

So you must be either end route for home or in transit now so I'll wish you a safe passage and happy landings and I look forward to catching up properly with you soon.

With love from Rich

  Rich Mar 20, 2016 6:27 PM

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