Month 12: Of Rotis and Cobras

This past month has gone by fast and completely shaken up any semblance of a daily healthy routine I might have kept. One thing I have learnt, if my routine is disturbed, it takes a long time to get it back.

We reached Nagpur; cold and green with an impressive metro in construction just in time for the Vipassana Course. We were greeted everywhere with huge aggressive saffron banners of Shiv Sena plastered all over.

The course began and, since there were not enough female servers, I volunteered to serve. I had never before been surrounded by so much Hindi and Marathi. Around me were strong Marathi women who worked very hard and five pattis (grandmas) in the kitchen making more than a thousand rotis a day. I got to help with the roti making on occasion which was a huge treat! On the eighth day, as always, animals start appearing around the center and in Dhamma Naga this meant that I was greeted by a cobra. It was quite a magnificent sight and probably the highlight of my month.

I completed the ten-day course with new friends, a fever, tonnes of garden-grown Nagpur oranges, and an increasingly strengthened fervent admiration for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. (Every person I met in Nagpur greeted me with an impassioned “Jai Bhim” and regarded him with such god-like admiration it was goosebump-inducing.)

Out in the real world, you could almost taste the tension in the air as soon as you entered the city and I learnt that there had been a week’s worth of nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) while we spent ten days in silence. Before leaving Nagpur it only seemed fitting to visit the Deekshbhoomi; where Babasaheb Ambedkar and 600,000 followers converted to Buddhism on the 14th of October 1956.

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Deekshabhoomi (From wikipedia)

We then made our way back to Chennai. Our family friends from Ireland were visiting and we spent Christmas day with them and a crowd of disappointed school children in cloudy Tiruppur — unable to watch the total solar eclipse because of grey skies. We attended a book launch for Fióna’s book “a compound of words at the Madras Literary Society, attended a கச்சேரி (carnatic music event) and a பரதநாட்டியம் (carnatic dance) performance and brought in the new year with a re-viewing of Se7en.

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Total Solar Eclipse in Trichy -photo by Dominic, Fiona’s book launch at Madras Literary Society- photo by T.R.Govindarajan, Bharatnatyam performance — photo by Deepthi Govindarajan

Finally I have at-last succeeded (on my third attempt) at using a menstrual cup. Thanks to Nivedita Priyadarshini for her useful article and Deepthi Govindarajan for buying me Christmas prezzies of the cups and accessories. I do not know if it was the presence of a sanitary space and access to running water (the other two times I attempted this were at a cabin in the woods) or if it was a Christmas miracle, but It worked! Added to this great news, since the menstrual cup also has measurement markings, I have a new google docs with information regarding amount of flow and monthly nutrition and exercise information (my interpretations to follow at a later date).

A Quick Recap and a Prospective

This past year I

Over the next few months,

  • I will be working on a fellowship in Public health expenditure data at CivicDataLab.
  • I will read more Tamil literature
  • I will complete the applications for Canadian permanent residence and academia
  • We will be attending the Jaipur Literature festival and then moving to the mountains for a few months

Books Read Recently

Silk Roads — Peter Frankopan


Writing about a deep dive into Vipassana meditation

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