I’m proud to say that I can now cross the road by myself. That’s no mean feat in Indian cities where crossing a road means negotiating your way through more cars, buses, auto rickshaws, dogs, bicycles, scooters, fruit-carts and people than you usually see in a week. (not to mention the occasional elephant.)
Every time I step out of the door in Pune, it’s a learning experience! I’ve been here four days and it feels like four weeks because of the variety and intensity of experiences. The highlight has been finally meeting Suneeta, who I first connected with online through the SOLE project.
She has shown me so many sides of Pune. She has introduced me to all sorts of interesting people, some of whose stories I will share in future posts. I’ve seen an experimental play at Pune University as well as music and dance performances at Symbiosis College. At the other extreme, I have visited a SOLE at Yeoli village and met the group at Khelgar, where kids from a local slum gather after school to learn through play.
I’ve ventured out into the city, both on foot and by auto-rickshaw, usually with Suneeta’s son Anand as my cheerful guide, sharing his colourful stories and helping me cross the roads. He needs constant reminders to slow down so that I can absorb everything around me… unfamiliar and now-familiar sights, smells and sounds.
Best of all, Suneeta and I have had endless conversations about education, culture, language and religion, about disability, poverty, inequity and making a difference, about theatre, books, food and saris… conversations about life.
I can’t wait to come back.