My day usually begins around seven when the chartreuse parrots that live in the tree by my window start to twitter and converse. If the parrots are still sleeping by that time, my little host sister, who coincidentally reminds me of a brightly plumed tropical bird, usually takes over their role as my alarm clock. As a morning person, I rarely mind. Depending on my energy level, I try to do a few modified sun salutations and come back into my body. According to Ayurveda, the healing system known as the science of life, morning time is sacred and should be treated as such. As much as I can, I try to respect this time and start my days slowly and intentionally.
While I try to take mornings slow, arriving to school in the old part of the city quickly reminds me that the rest of my day is going to travel at a different pace. The overwhelming smell of butter and throngs of students enthusiastically shouting “Didi Didi Didi” welcome me to school. At school, I help with 5th grade reading comprehension and teach 7th grade literature and reading comprehension. I find the most work in assisting students with their English which takes form in more structured lessons and simple conversations about life. In the middle of the school day, the teachers and students go downstairs for “tiffin break” which is a snack break that includes little hands sharing and trading roti, vegetables, and other snacks. I look forward to this time of connection and conversation with the students.
After school, I meander through the curving alleys and snaking streets that make up the old “peths” or neighborhoods of central Pune. Vendors sell prize cauliflower and jewel-like pomegranates. Someone else leads chants at the Hindu temple. Among the sea of motorcycles and rickshaws, cows stroll leisurely towards an unknown destination. Nothing makes sense, yet everything makes sense. Somedays I go straight home and eat a late lunch. Other days I explore something I haven’t experienced like city hiking on Parvati Hill or sampling 10 rupee samosas and sugar cane juice.
Evenings offer many choices. Want to try yoga? Curious about Ayurveda? Need to find some Wifi? Sometimes I do it all, but sometimes I just take a nap instead. After this time, I arrive home ready for a nightly cooking lesson with my host mom. Golden turmeric always make an appearance and decorates the pots. The fragrant smell of lentils and other spices permeate the house. We usually gather around the TV to watch Marathi soap operas. They feature the worst acting I have ever seen, but for that reason always seem to amuse me.
Somedays are more exceptions than rules and somedays are more rules than exceptions. I’ve learned to appreciate both the luxury of boredom and the little moments that quickly develop into big moments. Every day is like a real life Wikipedia rabbit hole that entices one to follow their curiosities and discover something novel along the way.