Friday, July 24, 2009

Some more photos of our Khandala trip

Here are Uma L's pics from our stay at Khandala

The approach

Bright n shining


Tete a tete

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Misty Memories

The house at Khandala

The lasting impression of Khandala this time was of mist floating in and around and through the house and everyone constantly going "Ooooh, there's a CLOUD coming in!" The house turned out to be one of those structures, about a hundred years old with two large bedrooms with beds so high, they almost needed a ladder to get onto, a spacious dining room with an old wooden dining table in the center and a long broad verandah running along the of the house facing the hills. There were enough beds and sofas and chairs strewn around to enable us to comfortably loll around and we were taken good care of by the housekeepers, Narayan and his wife, both of them from Nepal. Every now and then a stringy looking but very sweet and noisy half grown grey and white cat would come running in, begging for food and then disappear again.

Sudha lost in reflection

The verandah, everyone said, was the stuff Bhoothbanglas are made of although nobody felt very scared. Maybe all those rain songs belted out by Sudha and Kalpana purified the atmosphere. Ha ha. Meals were on the whole very saatvik, no chillis, very little masala and oil (good for the system) though we made up for all the health food with chilled beer one afternoon and shots of some out of the world Scotch provided by Sean and Pooja which helped me to win at least three games of UNO.

Thoughtful Pooja

The morning after we arrived Uma L insisted that I accompany her, Sharat and Kalpana to "the ridge" from where it was possible to get a spectacular view of the mountains and valley. I just about made it though we had just reached when it started blowing and in no time we were being spattered by drops of rain. Luckily we made it back to the bungalow before getting completely drenched.

Sean trying to meditate

Uma L and Sudha

And of course there were a couple of deadly
rounds of"Taboo" which had everyone sitting on edge and of "Uno" which was good fun - as indeed games are when you're winning a lot of the time.

Pics: Kalpana, Sharat

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Inner Peace" In Pune

Time and again, you see that inner peace is quite simple. It's all a matter of letting go of your expectations. The first expectation that crashed regarding our workshop in Pune, was that the cook whom Jyotsna had hired failed to turn up. Somehow that didn't matter at all because cooking just became a part of the curriculum. When the evening meditation was over, the team took over Jyotsna's kitchen and within an hour and a half we had produced quite an impressive meal of bhindi, palak paneer, kala dal, and raita and pulao which we rounded off with some chocolate chikki which Jyotsna had bought in Panchgani when we were there in May.

I have to clarify I suppose that my role in this whole feat was to keep Sharat company at the table while he chopped bhindis. The rest of the time I read "My family and other saints" by Kirin Narayan who it turned out is an ex BIS (Bombay International School) student, whose sister Maya I'd briefly studied with and whose brothers Rahul and Deven I knew slightly, though they were much junior to me.

In between the bai coming and going and trains whistling as they roared past, we did in fact, manage to unwind with the help of some music and plain exercises in listening and had some good dialogues. The surprise element was Kalpana, a new addition to our group who kind of discovered us through the net. She came from Delhi and turned out to be a real good sport, pitching in enthusiastically with everything we did.

On the way back we stopped at Khandala, to visit Uma L who had invited to stay with her at a friend's bungalow about which there will be more in the next post perhaps along with some pictures, yet to be sent by Sharat and Uma.