The other Indias
Some days ago, while observing a class, a lady from Israel was talking to another lady about going to a class with an excellent Iyengar teacher outside of the Institute. As I happened to be there, she also offered me to come along with them.
Today after the early morning session, 5 Israelis, two other ladies and me, we all set out to go to this famous class. Since the office building where this other yoga studio can be found was not so far away, we decided to go on foot instead of taking three rickshaws. Luckily, the organiser lady knew a shortcut and thus yet another face of Pune opened up to me.
We crossed a busy two times three-lane road risking our lives (I wasn't sure whether I'd better run fast or close my eyes while doing so) and on the other side of it we went through a rusty, metal tourniquet and found ourselves again in a hidden gem of Pune. This time, we entered the premises of the Agricultural College of Pune which houses a lot of greenery, as may be expected. But not only that, but also broad asphalt roads with no (or at least very little) cars and motorbikes on it, smiling students who look at you with awe and the desire to take a selfie with weird looking people (that is you). Apart from the nice Victorian-style building, you can find smaller houses hidden behind lush trees and bushes as well as more modern and functional buildings that house the hostels for the students.
I found a set of bamboos and a huge rock next to it, just like if somebody were trying to create a Japanese garden here.
When exiting this park on the other side, it turned out that we came almost to where the Shiva temple we visited on Sunday was. We could've spared ourselves a trip on busy, smelly main road, had we known about it...
After having crossed one more of the life-risking main roads, we came to a ten-storied, glass covered office-block and this space showed yet again another face of India. On the outside, a huge wall fountain with well-tended plants, on the inside clean spaces and three elevators that took us to the ninth floor. On entering the yoga studio (which is in a homeopathic centre, just like any office or rather clinic in Europe, with reception desk, children's corner, super clean toilets, drinking water, etc.) you find yourself in another world again. Air-conditioned quietness and cleanliness and a nice yoga room that overlooks the whole of Pune, slums and other office blocks included.
Our host pointed out a flock of birds that were flying around nicely outside the building. They were trained pigeons, their owner standing on the roof of a house, seven stories below us, waving a flag towards the pigeons. Once the flag disappears, the pigeons return to their cages immediately. And on each Wednesday, the best of the flock will be sold on the market.
But there were other, bigger and smaller birds as well. It was quite a sight to be just a few meters away from kites and eagles, while doing Tadasana and overlooking the whole of the city. You on one side of the glass, the bird on the other.
The class was excellent as well, a very calm and composed middle-aged teacher who taught us more in two hours than what I had learnt during the past 10 days, I felt.
Once the class was over, we went up on the top floor of the office block, where under the open sky, we found the Indian version of a classic cafeteria. I ate a thali (a special metallic tray with compartments in it for different types of food, lentils, vegetables, rice, dessert, flatbread, etc.) for 60 rupees, approximately 80 cents! People working in the offices come up here to eat their home-made tiffins or a quick bite in the cafeteria, men and women sitting strictly at different tables. Though the roof had a top, which was covered in plastic, I could imagine what it would be like to be eating there when a quick monsoon rain comes down.
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My month in Pune, India