Pune, cricket, and transportation in India

I’m dedicating this blog entry to my grandma, in honor of her birthday last week. Happy (belated) birthday!

———

Why do we only get 24 hours in a day?

I wish I had more time for this blog. I’d like to be able to post a new entry every day. This last week has been so busy, I’ve been clamoring to share everything I’ve done immediately after I’ve done it.

The irony is bittersweet. When I have less free time, it means I’m busy, doing something I want to share. But the less time I have that’s free, the less time I have to write.

Let’s get caught up.

I’ve spent the last five days in Pune, a large city 880 kilometers from Nagpur. The second largest city in Maharashtra, Pune is beautiful. Tall, green, coconut trees line many of the streets. I stayed at the house of my host dad’s brother with his wife, his sons Prajyot and Saket, my host mom and dad, my host brother Mayank, and a German Shepherd named Rocky.

School doesn’t start for about two weeks, but I’ve been doing something interesting every day. On Thursday we visited Sinhagad, a fort just outside Pune. Words do little good in describing the view from the top of the hill. I’ll post pictures from that trip here soon.

Twice, I played cricket in the alley beside the house with Prajyot, Saket and one of Prajyot’s friends. To play, you only need a ball, a bat, two tires and two people. Prajyot, eight, enjoys cricket about as much as I enjoyed baseball at that age. As we played, Prajyot frequently hit the ball into the neighbors’ yards, just as I did with wiffle balls in my backyard in Champaign.

I’ve found the learning curve for cricket to be short. With the game on TV, in the newspapers and in the streets most of the year, it’s hard not to immerse in cricket. Just as my fondness for baseball was parlayed into baseballbaseballbaseball, you now may as well turn to me and say cricketcricketcricket at any mention of the sport.

This morning I got back into Nagpur after an overnight train ride with Mayank and my host mom and dad. (Saket took a bus back on Thursday.) The contrast between that ride and the Indigo flight into Pune was vast. Tuesday’s one hour flight was uneventful – I doubt the rectangular bags by each seat reading “Get Well Soon” are ever used.

The return trip, however, was a 16-hour affair. Even the relatively less-crowded AC sleeper car we were on had nine beds in a nook of about 18 cubic meters. Do the math.

That said, I enjoyed the experience. As I stared out the window at the cities, the trees, and the fields of sugar, I felt a part of India. From 30,000 feet at night, India hides behind the clouds, with only the city lights shining through. From the ground, India is close. You’re pulled in. As the train rattled along, India no longer seemed a faraway place. It was, and is, a second home.

In Pune, I had access to the internet only once in five days, but I didn’t miss it, save for this blog and those of you reading it. Keep asking questions. So long as I have the time and the internet connection, I won’t stop writing.

🙂

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7 Responses to “Pune, cricket, and transportation in India”

  1. allthingsbiological Says:

    Enjoying the reading, Chris. Keep in posting so we can all experience India vicariously, though there’s no need to feel obligated to post weekly (or even less often!) if experiences keep on presenting themselves with the frequency they have thus far!

  2. Shawn Says:

    being used to metric here in Canada, and having travelled on sleeper cars in Europe, 18 cubic metres seems quite huge. (It equals over 630 ft3) Are they really so roomy?

    • cyoder Says:

      Perhaps not…but I’m including the nine beds in that space. There was very little space for me to sleep. It was probably under 400 ft^3, but that’s an estimate.

  3. Gibson Says:

    What’s the party going to be like for Independence Day?

  4. Lissa and Brent Thompson Says:

    Hi, Chris. Thanks for taking the time to keep us all up-dated. Sounds like Pune was a great experience for you. You’ve really gotten immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of India as well as the warm hospitality. I’m looking forward to your descriptions of school.

  5. John Says:

    HI Chris!! Tennis has been missing you sorely; we are all lazy slackers now :).

    It sounds like you are having a wonderful time and getting to do lots of interesting things. You’ll have to teach us cricket when you get back, as it sounds more fun than baseball to me 🙂 . –wrigley field? huh?–

    Access to the internet that infrequently makes getting your work and important stuff like keeping in touch easier I’ll bet.

    Are you picking up any lingo?

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