Monday, May 29, 2006

daily rhythms

My life in Pune has taken on a rhythm of its own, dictated by weather as much as by my study demands. April and May are summer here, and we are just coming to the peak of the hot season. I am out of bed by 6:30, and immiedately open all my doors so the room can cool down before the sun heats things back up. It has been about 90 degrees at night in my room, though I sleep with the window open. It cools down to 85 or 86 in the morning - and even less these days as we moved into the pre-monsoon period. Once the sun starts to flood my room, I shut everything - windows and doors - and close the curtains, which I bought especially for this purpose. By 7:30 I have had breakfast, and then I plunge into my text. I have been translating from 7:30 or 8 until 1 am daily, then lunch, or tiffin, which is delivered to my room. At 1am on the dot the electricity goes out - we have scheduled daily outages to allow for load sharing across the power grid. This means no fan and a full stomach, so often I just rest for a bit. Then, sometimes (when he has time for me) I read with MG Dhadphale, professor emeritus of Pali and Sanskrit at Fergusson College here in Pune, and currently head of the very venerable old Pune Sanskrit research institute, Bhandarkatr Institute.

After that, I turn to Sanskrit study in general - memorizing more vocabulary and working through the Paninian grammar that my Sanskrit professor in Visakhapatnam, Prabhakara Shastri, is composing. In the evenings, I open the doors once it is cool again to help bring down the temperature, and at 10 i call Professor Shastri and he quizzes me and gives me more assignments to work on for the next day.

I have a neighbor named Anna who is an anthropologist from Vienna studying female priests (purohitas) and she very wisely feels I should explore the city more (see below for one successful effort on her part to get me to go out more!)

On Sundays I try to take the morning off, and we go to visit a local temple or market. Anna is here with her four-year-old son Christopher and ten-month-old daughter, and Christopher likes to visit when my doors are open. He speaks to me in German which i only sometimes can understand and I answer in English. We get along exceedingly well. He brings bits of his snacks and fruit to me, and I share with him my peanuts. Last week he put his hands around my arm and said, 'wir sind freunde' - we are friends.

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