Acquiring a taste for Indian food

In the past three weeks, I’ve eaten more Indian food than ever in my life. Truth be told, Indan was never among my favorite cuisines. Perhaps because I grew up eating Japanese food, I prefer lighter preparations, vegetables that resemble their original form, translucent sauces, and plain rice. Folks seem to gravitate toward unfamiliar cuisines just because they’re “different,” but to me that’s…… Continue reading Acquiring a taste for Indian food

Animals in the city

One day, walking home from shopping, I saw an ox in the middle of a busy road. He stood still and calm, engulfed by endless cars, auto-rickshaws, and motorbikes. He was unperturbed by the loud honking, directed less at him than at other drivers. I was amazed that he wasn’t hit. A couple of shopkeepers were watching…… Continue reading Animals in the city

Getting around in Pune

The day I arrived in Pune, I made two trips by auto-rickshaw. That night, my throat hurt. I didn’t notice the bad air in Mumbai. For one thing, rickshaws aren’t permitted in South Mumbai, city center. For another, I was staying with a friend who has a driver on retainer. As his guest, I myself suddenly had a driver, who…… Continue reading Getting around in Pune

Rx for India

Every morning I take Florastor, a probiotic, and Malarone, an anti-malaria drug, with my breakfast. I don’t know anyone else taking an anti-malarial. In fact, I debated about filling the prescription for Malarone, which cost more than CA$200 for a 40-day supply. But I decided to err on the safe side. Three or four months before I left, I…… Continue reading Rx for India

Crossing the street

Traffic is insane in Pune. Cars, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles swarm nonstop all around, honking, honking, honking. No crosswalks or stoplights for pedestrians, no designated safety zone. If you’re not careful, you’ll get hit. If you’re too careful, you’ll be stuck. One day, still new here, I was trying to navigate around the traffic circle by the Toyota dealer when a scruffy…… Continue reading Crossing the street

On the home front

Booking an apartment was my top priority. I was late to start, especially since regulars book their places a year or two in advance. I ended up choosing a new, untested listing in Bobby Clennell’s guide. The owner was prompt and articulate in his email messages, and it had the makings of a match: single apartment across the park, 200m…… Continue reading On the home front

Mumbai to Pune by bus

To get from Mumbai to Pune, I made a last-minute decision to ride a bus. I’d already booked a train ticket. Trains are the iconic mode of travel in India (think The Darjeeling Limited) and I figured that the three-and-a-half-hour journey would be a good initiation. But my host friend’s housekeeper strongly recommended the Shivneri…… Continue reading Mumbai to Pune by bus

A class with Amrish Mody

I was curious to attend a class at the Iyengar Yogashraya in Lower Parel, Mumbai. So I ventured there last Monday for the 10:30am class. I had no idea who the teacher would be. (The webpage is spartan, with no teachers, levels, or prices listed.) Located on a busy street, the place is old and unfancy, but fully equipped,…… Continue reading A class with Amrish Mody

Bombay in a day

With only three nights in Bombay, I decided to hire a tour guide on Sunday. This is not a city easily navigable for foreigners. Destinations are far flung, transport is daunting, and the flooding downpours are dismal. Further, while many residents speak English, “many” is a relative concept in a city of more than 18 million. I found a bunch of…… Continue reading Bombay in a day

Reading list: India

In late February, I got the green light to go to Pune in August. (Among Iyengar yogis, “going to Pune” means going to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.) Five months to prepare. To me, this meant buying Lonely Planet India, finding an apartment in Pune, booking flights, getting vaccinations, avoiding injury, and reading up on…… Continue reading Reading list: India

Have you ever cried in yoga class?

“I couldn’t stop crying in Savasana,” my friend Elaine once told me. She was struggling through a bad time and finally, in yoga class, she felt at ease. It was such a relief that she broke down. Yoga can catalyze emotions in people. I’ve witnessed spontaneous crying, during or after asana, most likely at all-day workshops. The…… Continue reading Have you ever cried in yoga class?