One of the most interesting things about being in India is that, while Buddha was born here and thrived here for a time, there is very little Buddhism practiced in India today and, while yoga is one of India’s oldest practices, yoga is practiced by very few people in India. It’s kind of like jazz. Jazz was founded and once enjoyed popularity in America but now jazz is a remote subculture of American life.
Today I did yoga at Rekkha’s Yoga Studio. There were about 7-8 women in the class, none in “yoga” pants. But then I hadn’t noticed until then that Indian women are basically wearing yoga clothing all the time (not sari’s, of course). I also noticed that yoga in India is not like yoga back home. It’s kind of like water aerobics instead of doing laps. It’s very gentle with more emphasis on breathing then on how many asanas you can do in a session. Neverthless, it’s good to have a space for stretching and quiet reflection.
But I wouldn’t have found Rekkha if I hadn’t taken a wrong turn the other day and found Saptaparni. Saptaparni is a remarkable place. It’s card says that it is a bookstore and cultural center but it is much more than that. What drew me to the place was a poster for the yoga class at the entrance but when I spoke with the receptionist she said those classes weren’t there and gave me a number to call. It turns out they have a range of activities including traditional music concerts and dance, Karnatic singing classes and even Ikebana exhibits!
I had an encounter at an art gallery where I met a man who said his name was Saad Bin Jung. I asked him, “Any relation?” He said, “To Karl?” We laughed and then his phone rang and that was it. I knew that I had walked into a major bubble. That night as I read the paper with Rahul, I ran across the society pages and I saw a picture of that same man. I thought, wow this guy is a mucky muck. Here’s the picture I saw. The woman seen with him here is Princess Esra who is the wife of the last Nizam.