Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Divas 201: I'm allergic to leisure.

I woke up too early this morning and reluctantly Skyped with my overenthusiastic sister, who wouldn't let me hang up and go back to sleep. Once I was somewhat awake, I read a few pages of The Power of Now before Gaikwad Auntie and I ventured to Dadar market in search of a tailor to stitch a sari for me. The heat was stifling and the crowds were baffling, and this was not even close to the worst it gets. We wandered the street looking for a shop that would sew my sari into a shape that would allow this gringa to be able to wear it. As we slumped around the streets, I got to see a lot of uplifting arrays of colorful clothing.

About an hour into our quest, we came across a place that would do the somewhat unusual job. Hallelujah! We dropped off my cloth and headed past a row of tempting shops back towards the car. I was able to resist buying a single thing . . . except a bottle that looked like sparkles suspended in a cumulus cloud -- nail polish is my weakness!

We then stopped at a popular cafe for a snack, and I ordered the most Punjabi thing on the menu -- channa masala. It was love at first bite, except for the peculiar fact that the jeera rice had a strange rice-to-jeera ratio of 1 to 2 (i.e. too much jeera!). But still, my taste buds were pleased to be reunited with the north Indian food they always seem to be missing.

At home, I rested for exactly 8 minutes before venturing to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) office for a meeting with Ashwini Bhide, the eloquent and inspiring Additional Metropolitan Commissioner of Maharastra. She educated me for an hour on various transport projects being administered in Mumbai, and the effect they have on slum-dwellers who illegally occupy land needed for the infrastructure projects. The focus and structure of our talk reminded me of a lecture by Ms. Deveneau -- the highest compliment I confer, to be sure!

After this, she allowed me to sit in on a meeting with the board of trustees of a temple which needs to be partially demolished to allow for the building of Mumbai's monorail. This discussion, heated at times, was a great way for me to see in action some of the challenges she described to me during our discussion. I was very pleased with my "lesson" for today.

I returned home and started this post, but was soon interrupted by the world's cutest potato cutlets. I guess I can't complain!

In the evening, I got to hang out with Dr. Nitz! We went to a nearby hotel's patisserie (Nitin Uncle loves coffee shop-hopping) and unearthed a range of topics from the various corners of our respective minds. It was so nice to be able to talk at length like this, and I would also like to congratulate Nitz on killing his first mosquito! A good day for us both, to be sure.

Back home, I told Gaikwad Uncle and Auntie about the day's wonderful meetings before continuing to work on this post. (I guess packing will have to wait until tomorrow . . . ) Please wish me luck for my meditation course -- this chatterbox is intimidated! And so, so excited.

I'll talk to you all again on April 1st!


  1. Ratna - I think you are very brave to undertake to stay silent for 10 days! All the best - I hope it is an enriching experience for you : )

    1. Thank you, Sonya! I will tell you all about it when I return -- can't wait to see what I learn.

  2. I'm rather jealous of this whole meditation thing you are about to start.