Peggy Smith, India and the Commons Jan-Feb 2011 travel blog


Varsha and Rucha entering the club

Entry to VCA Recreation Club

Heading to the restaurant

Olympic-size swimming pool. Wish I'd brought my bathing suit!

Rucha Ghate

A donation to SHODH for goats

Dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Rucha on the phone over a crisis...

Trees in full bloom

Wednesday, February 2, 2011, Nagpur, India

Things have settled into somewhat of a routine since our return from Chandrapur. I follow the rhythms of the Ghates who are up at 7, have warm water with honey and lemon, then tea and biscuits while reading the Times of India. Brunch, before heading to work, is at 10:30 with chapattis, vegetable dishes, and rice, polished off with buttermilk. We then head to the SHODH office and work for a few hours, returning home for some quiet time, including every few days a massage (have one scheduled with Usha for later this afternoon). Supper is around 8-9 and I’m usually in bed by 10:30 at the latest.

A couple of evenings ago Rucha took me for a walk around the park at the end of their block. A sidewalk rings the park and it’s a popular walking spot. I’ve been going every morning now, walking 8x around which is 4 km. I feel much better now that I’m getting some exercise.

Other highlights include:

•Shopping trip with Deepshika and Rucha’s Mom on Sunday (bought kurtas and leggings). We also visited Tanishq, a gold and diamond jewelry store. Exquisite stuff, but out of my price range!

•Lunch on Monday with Varsha Manohar at the exclusive VCA Recreation Club next to the new cricket stadium. Varsha is a Director on the SHODH Board. She helped to design the VCA Club with its Olympic pool, restaurant, bar, billiard and card rooms, library, hotel suites, gym facilities and gardens. I enjoyed a cold bottle of Kingfisher beer with lunch, something I’d been hankering for for a few days.

•My foray out to the neighbourhood shops by the SHODH office by myself. Went back to the fabric store I had visited with Rucha earlier and picked up some goodies.

•Dinner out last night with Rucha, Suresh, Rucha’s Mom and Ana, Suresh’s brother at an outdoor restaurant on the outskirts of town.

I’ve been working on papers at the SHODH office and put together a slide show of the Kolzari project, which still needs some fine-tuning. Rucha and I have been discussing writing a paper comparing the impacts of conservation decisions on Indigenous communities in India and northern Ontario, based on work she has done with relocated villagers from the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve and recent decisions on the Far North in Ontario.

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