I have spent a lot of time the last few days with Dushyant’s son Adi, he is 12 and a wonderful, goofy kid. We talk a lot together, so that he may work on his English, but mostly just because we enjoy running around together. The last few days I have been teaching him songs on harmonium in the morning/early after noon and today his friend came over, so Adi showed off all that he had learned and then I taught his friend a song too, they were both excited to be able to play and sing. It was super cool that Adi was able to play for his whole family and we sang together with his great grandmas, he has such a beautiful, loving family. Adi’s great grandmother told us how when she was young she also loved to play harmonium and to sing chants, but many years ago she had to sell her harmonium for 20 rupees in order to get money for something.
Everyone in Dushyant’s family has been so incredibly kind and has gone out of their way to make me feel as comfortable as possible. They have been so gracious to me and have already taught me so much. Last night I went on a nice long walk and talk with Dushyant’s mother and father, it was a lot of fun. Later, I also went on a walk with Dushyant and his wife Bhumika. The weather here is perfect, it was nice to be able to just walk around and appreciate it in good company. Dushyant’s father also took me the other night to the park in their community to sit with his friends, this is a sort of long standing nightly ritual of him and his friends to meet to socialize in the park in the later evening after dinner. They were super kind people and it was fun to be able to speak with them for awhile.
They live in a beautiful tenement in a gated community, I actually would love to live in a place like this in the states, I love the way it is set up and there is a beautiful court yard in the front with a chair swing that we spend time in off and on throughout the day, it has quickly become one of my favorite spots. In the court yard there is a Rudraksha and Bael tree that are sacred to the god Shiva, each day we will grab a Bael leaf to offer at the in home temple to Lord Shiva. There is also a Tulsi bush that is also considered sacred, both as the goddess Tulsi, but also in relation to the god Krishna.
Dushyant’s wife and mother make the most amazing vegetarian food! My tastebuds have been in total bliss, soaking in all of this wonderful homemade cooking, I am already dreading my return to American food, how will I survive knowing such wonderful food exists??? I guess I will just have to learn how to cook Indian food for myself… luckily I have plenty of good teachers around!
We went over to Dushyant’s uncles house two nights ago, it was so awesome to be surrounded by so many loving family members, the food was out of this world and it was endlessly being brought to you. Every time they would come around to offer you another portion or two of each dish individually and on your third time of saying “no, no more” you would accept your next serving joyfully, haha. This went on for quite some time, so as you could imagine I was sufficiently in a food coma by the end of dinner. They lived in a beautiful gated community about 30km from Dushyant’s home in Ahmedabad. Often community’s are walled in and have gates for security, as well as to prevent wild animals from entering. Wild dogs are a common sight all over Ahmedabad, so far I haven’t really had much experience with them, but it is typically recommended that you don’t interact with them, even though you will walk or drive by them everywhere you go.
Dushyant’s mother and grandmothers taught me the saying Jai Sri Krishna, which basically means victory to god. This is used as an affectionate greeting and farewell to those you know or hold dear, so this is how we wake up, how we greet and say farewell every day. It is beautiful to be amongst people and in a culture that has such reverence for the divine that exists within all things.
Truthfully, I could not ask to be a part of a better family, I would be lost without them and I am so appreciative for all they are doing to make my time in India the most memorable and life changing as possible. It has been such a blessing and I could not have asked for a better transition into living in India.