[After sleeping pondering over how to draft this post, here it is.. finally…!!:)]

The 3 awesome weeks – [28th March to 22nd April] that i shall remember forever…[atleast as long as i dont get memory related problems…:)]

Where i went
what i did
how it was……………

Spending time with friends… Catching up with some who i’m meeting the 1st time [ absolutely wonderful, dint feel like the 1st time…]

Helping a dear friend [who is more of family set up her house [ tiring, draining but worth the effort… the joy of seeing the house become a home is a lovely experience… but hats off to her for doing it oh so often… they live like nomads, moving every couple of years… – earlier it was just the 2 of them, then their son, then their daughter, and now Ginger, the adorable naughty Lab ]…:)

The place they’ve moved to is called Karanja, and its almost like an island [ connected by road to Navi mumbai, closest place being Uran and Vashi]… While her hubby and movers brought the stuff and the doggy via road, we[me, my friend and her son] took the boat across… Yep, it was quite an adventure, that had me initially a bit anxious, but by the end of my trip, i was a pro at it!!! 🙂 the boat ride takes 40mins, road takes 3.5hrs..!!!

Probably the 1st holiday where i travelled via various modes of transport..

  • Flight [ from chennai to mumbai- booked on Jetlite, but flew Jet Airways  and back- sada$$ Spicejet]
  • Cabs [ to airport, and around Mumbai]
  • Auto [ few places in Mumbai & Pune]
  • Train [ within mumbai and then to pune & back!!]
  • Boat [ ha, beat that.. to get to friend’s place :)]
Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for… The HIGHLIGHT of the TRIP – VIPASSANA, Pune !!

5th Apr –Woke up around 6, go ready and left for Jetty to catch the 7am boat… Train- Koyna express was at 9am… Reached Pune at 1pm, dragging our bags managed to find an auto to take us to a decent

resto for Lunch… Hotel Nataraj was where we ended up, which was about 200 yards from the Vipassana center..!!! 

Thought we’ll kill some time before heading to the center, but alas, the place was freaking hot, and nowhere to go sit [read air conditioned place to cool off in], and so we headed to the center, thinking it is the best option…!!

Walked in, welcomed by a guy who had a sheepish grin on his face – “you’ve come for the course right?, go to the dining hall” he asked in hindi with a smirk

Wondering what that was all about, we went around the corner, and found the registration booth…

Filled out forms, surrendered our Phones, Reading/writing material and Cash [they said they would keep it safe, less worry for us..] and took our room details, and made our way… Since i had gone with my

friend, they put us in different rooms [ she was in 17 and i was in 20- 1st floor]

Checked into the room, it was decent – a granite slab with a mattress and pillow [we had been asked to bring sheets, pillow cover, etc.], a small loo, fan, mosquito nets, clothes line to hang our stuff to dry and

a nice big window…!! if one wanted anything – soap, powder, vicks, goodnight mosquito repellant, etc etc  we could purchase it from the center…!! fill out a small request form, and voila, products waiting for you…

The course began on 6th April, 4.30am…
The routine was pretty much set from thereon… out of bed at 4.15 so we can brush, wash and get ready and hit the bed by 9.30-10pm[ we would be out in a matter of seconds.. totally dead to the world till next morning….]

Thru the day we had meditation sessions – which totalled to nearly 10hours [ 1 hour sessions spread thru the day]

At the end of the day, we had to sit thru SN Goenka’s discourse where he spoke about vipassana, Buddha, Dhamma and what was in store for the next day.. [ some of the examples he used made too much sense, and we could all actually relate to what he was talking about… very practical]

For ex:
When someone throws an insult at us, they walk away after spitting it out.
but we sit and simmer in it for hours, days to no end… and the next time we see that person, hatred oozes out of us…

[This is because of the image we have created within us about this person!!]

So he says-
Think of the insult as a gift you dont want, tell the person – i dont want it, take it back..
That way, you are not hurt, upset and dont simmer in it..

By the end of it, me and my friend were quite proud of ourselves and realised that being SILENT and NOT USING PHONE,etc was not so tough after all.. And we were able to get up at 4.30, sit thru hours of meditation, walk a lot[ the place is serene and calm, with plenty of greenery] and generally unwind….

Something we have vowed to practice for as long as possible….!!! 

Those curious about how big a hole the course made in our pockets, you can relax – its FREE.. yes, the concept is one lives like a monk/nun the 10days, totally dependent on the center for food, shelter and basic facilities.. so we dont have any of the “i have paid, and so i expect this this and that attitude”… At the end of the course, one is free to donate how much ever they wish/can afford/desire to!!

After the course, spent a couple of days with another friend, and now back in Chennai….

Bombay was hot, but not like this.. Jeez, here we melt, there it was hot … Pune was nice.. Sun was blazing, but air was cool…!! 🙂

[My bsnl is acting up once again, so pictures in next post…hopefully :)]
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