I’m living in “serviced apartments” near the Worli Sea Face (I’ll post about this location later) – I will say that I’m directly across from the Police Headquarters, so I’m feeling very safe. This apartment building has residencies that are essentially a hybrid between apartments and hotel rooms. Just like any hotel, everyday, while at work, the building staff takes care of tidying the apartment and exchanging out towels/linens. A couple of differences related to dining:
1. Every morning breakfast is provided. This breakfast is not a continental breakfast, available from 6-10am in the lobby. Instead we have two people come to our apartment every morning to cook fresh eggs or Indo breakfast items and serve us. Their kindness and patience is completely over the top but exemplifies the service driven culture in India. I am not used to being taken care of in this way. It can be uncomfortable but is obviously a nice privilege as well.
2. For 150 rupees I can either have a veg thali dinner or have a cook come to the apartment and make a meal of my choosing, so long as I provide the ingredients. I, so far, have not indulged in this option but it’s great to know that it’s there since I don’t see myself cooking much.
I was pretty lazy about unpacking yesterday, so I’m still living out of suitcases. Excuse the mess in the pictures of my place below:
Clockwise from left to right: 1. my bedroom – I have a small tv, closet, bed, and window seating, 2. my bathroom + me (bathroom is attached to bedroom which is nice) – there’s a sink, toilet and shower all in one space, 3. our living room + my roomie – comfy seating, window seat and wifi (the wifi range unfortunately does not extend to the bedrooms), 4. our dining area.
Not shown are the kitchen and two other bedrooms (we have another roommate arriving two weeks from now to take the third bedroom).
In other news, my roommate and I went hunting for ways to stay active while we are in Mumbai. Our coworker Isha recommended a small yoga studio – Yogacara – near Haji Ali across from the Cadbury House (everyone describes locations by the landmarks that they’re near – Mumbai is NOT a grid so this is essential). The yoga studio is about 5 km away from work. Naturally, it took about 45 minutes to drive this distance. (Sidenote: I can no longer complain about the SF to south bay commute. While the start time here is 10 or 11am, people who live and work in Mumbai commute anywhere from 60 min – 90 min, one way, daily.)
Let me start by saying we’ve been to Yogacara twice already this week. This studio is heaven. I’m not trying to be cheesy but it is a little oasis away from the sounds and smells of Mumbai. Just check out this view for crying out loud:
The studio is impeccable. It’s small – the classes are anywhere from two to ten people. Somehow, even when all the windows in this space are open, it doesn’t feel humid.There’s a light sea breeze that keeps you comfortable. I imagine it’s a similar feel to doing yoga while at a tropical vacation resort. Below is a photo of Isha and I in class.
By the way, this class is not like what I’m used to. It’s less flow/vinyasa and more hatha style where you work on your alignment and hold the poses for longer periods of time. The beautiful scenery gives you something to focus on besides how badly you hurt – it’s blissfully distracting. Tasneem, the instructor, is a combo of intense/hilarious. She’s constantly coming around saying things like “Ami, what is this? Properly karo yaar.” or “Gautum, what man? You lost your practice?” before pulling you deeper into a pose.
Interacting with the people in this class also reminded me how honest conversation in India can be. Example of totally normal conversation:
Tasneem: “You haven’t been to class in a while”
Student: “I know. I’ve gained weight. 10 K-G’s”
Tasneem: “That’s a lot. You’re looking [it] man”
The sun has set by the time class is over. Walking out, you get this great view of the Haji Ali mosque:
I can get used to this…