I have a friend who grew up in a small rural town but came to Pune for her education. With that and her parental support , she aimed for something more than as she describes what people , especially women do. She aimed for more and found a career. She also wanted to eventually find a partner who supported her career and her ideals. This is not an easy task when you come from a certain place and family.
One day I introduced her to an American here to help her improve her English and his Marathi. A few months later, I got an email from her father asking me all these questions about the american- his family, his job, his position. They had fallen in love. This I had NEVER expected. Looking back, it didn’t seem much connecting them up for language lessons but I was ignorant of the implications of an unmarried couple meeting even for education. Things developed secretly and quickly. There was talk about eloping because her family was hard set against this relationship. She dreamed of breaking some traditions but her loyalty to her family could never be altered.
This year she got married to a guy her parents introduced her to. She chose to marry him, her parents actually don’t really like him. She is expecting their first child.
My friend works for the government in what she described boring government clerical job where there is little creativity and a lot of following orders. “just like at home,” she adds. Her previous jobs demanded her intelligence and creativity.
She desires to break free of compulsory demands of her class and gender. ‘The problem is that women have moved forward but men have not, they still want a slave.”
She wasn’t able to marry the foreigner and chose the safer route but says “Sometimes I wonder why I did get married.”
At this point, the decision has been made and so she has got to figure out a way to make it work or continue being unhappy.
She is a pioneer slowly changing what she can, coming up against internal and external obstacles. The fact is in just a few months time she will have another role, she will be a mother to a child.
Ok, the rajasthani thali was TO DIE FOR> I have NO idea what i was eating, spicy, soft, cruncy, sweet, green, yellow everything was so delicious i can’t even describe it. It was nice to go to a new place. It was PACKED!
Another mind blowing class with Gulnaaz. Not only did she shed bright light on doubts and confusion she sliced and diced through the rigidity of what is perceived as “the method.” So we rotated and spiraled in Parvritti Trikonasna and she gave me a shoulderstand set up because she said “you have a problem here.” Shoulderstand is a non-negotiable posture. It must be done but it must be done comfortably. So she told me to listen to what I need not necessarily what someone else has told me and find a way to sustain shoulderstand .
When is discomfort to be avoided and when is it part of the process. On the ride home, my friend Robin so aptly said when is it resistance (physical or mental) and when is it just fear. How to know? Class on Wed sure was far from comfortable on my hamstrings as the teacher shouted to us in Uttansana to “extend more, go down more” But afterwards, it felt amazing. And my properly supported Shoulderstand (sarvangasan) today was neck strain free.
Then I watched her handle a student with such precision and ease. Nothing gets drawn out in her class she cuts right to the point. We all have our issues, needs, problems but when this student came back with all her own stuff, Gulnaaz lovingly and sharply reiterated her saying, ” madam, you need to practice, this is the point, this is the only point, then later you come ask me about that. but only after you practice more. ” She took this woman from her limited state to a completely other zone with firmness and care. I know the student felt seen and taken care of but more importantly directed toward self-action. No b$%#$. To the point, sharp, directive, awakening, crystal clear. Mary Dunn had this gift as well.
When I’m in her class I’m brimming with questions because she knows so much but you have to take a pause and really determine which questions are worth asking, if any, and which are just coming from “our stuff.” If I remain quiet, observe, listen what I can learn is immeasurable. Can I just come and live here for 6 months under her tutelage?
Back to the student in class with all the questions and reactions to class, to India etc. You know I can really say this now having lived both experiences, when you come here from another developing country it less of a shock. She was describing all these things that really are the effect of going from a developed country to a not so developed country. I use that word , developed generically because there are things much much more evolved in a “developing”- it’s just a matter of perspective and paradigm. For me, there is so much here that I don’t have in Mexico that I’m super happy. The pollution, not so happy about and so I spend today resting because it’s just too much on the system without ample rest.