Letter from DC- II (When I learnt about Itadakimasu and shared Bhagavad Gita’s wisdom on food)
Hello! 10 days of being in DC, although I miss you all a lot, but I am beginning to feel settled now.
It helps to walk around the place and make casual conversations. You feel more at home when people start recognizing you. It starts with casual nods, goes to greeting and then making conversations. Apart from the class people, I’ve made friends with the guards, the cafeteria cashier, the accounts guy. I learnt this from my stay in Delhi- 10-15 days before I was leaving the Green Park house, most of the people I knew in the locality seemed to know that I was about to leave- the sabziwala, the doodhwala, the iron guy, the pujari. That’s how i make a place home generally, by making friends with people in the neighbourhood.
I must say there is a lot happening around and I’m trying to make the most of it and keep my sanity intact. I’ve made friends now and the people who I feel most comfortable with are Akhikho (my flatmate from Japan, who is a very pleasant person to be around), Ameya (Indian, who was supposed to be my flatmate but changed her mind), Sanvid (Indian, from Symbiosis, has a mind of her own and doesnt get swayed by people- doesn’t like partying or meeting lot of people), Sandra (Ecuadorian, studied from France), Joni (New Zealander, she is a transgender and is one of the sharpest in the class), Tara (Indian, who is my prospective flatmate), Wataru (Japanese, very quiet and deep person), Richa (Indian, very carefree and full of energy, doesnt know why she is here, Judge’s daughter and loves to flaunt her wealth). There are other people too who I speak to.
The class is a good mix, with wonderful people from around the world. I am learning things about other cultures that I never knew about. This is what good conversations with people from diverse backgrounds does- it lets you reach to places which you didn’t know existed.
Professors blow my mind here. Prof Abernathy who taught us some classes in Powers of President, Judicial Review, Jurisdiction etc was incredibly good. He is a ruthless cold-caller, but set the tone for the year ahead. He prods you to read between the lines and get subtle connections. People were really stressed before going for his class, staying up and preparing late in the night. He is quite old but full of energy. The day he took his last lecture, everyone stood up and applauded for a good 5 minutes and requested him to sign their textbooks (we use the textbook written by him- he didn’t). Prof Cedrone is very cool, he was Abernathy’s student at some point and very grounded. He was a fireman’s son and always harps on the importance of hard work. I quite like Prof Cedrone too.
Prof Puder is the funniest- he is a German who has been living in US for very long. He is a professional concert violinist too. He used to teach violin in his initial years when he was a research scholar. Very passionate individual and makes reference to music all the time.
My routine of waking up at 5 am has been paying off. I finish my readings in the morning before class. Also following my old ritual, I have been cooking basic Indian food and inviting people for dinner. That’s the only time in the day when I get to relax and wouldn’t want to take it off the schedule. Akhiko has become a pro at having Indian food, there are days when I need yoghurt to wash down the spicy food and she eats it without it with a lot of relish. Nitesh, you’re not the only one who is blaming me for their weight, Akhiko has started complaining too. During one of our meal times, Akhiko told me they say Itadakimasu before their meal- which translates to ‘to eat’ but they mean that they are grateful for the food they are receiving. I told her about this verse from Gita that I had read in Devdutt patnaik’s book:
It says the one who offers food is divine, the food that is offered is divine, the one who receives the food is divine and the one who consumes food is divine. Everything will become divine to one willing to expand the mind.
So I am entering this week with lot of hopes and willing to take as much as possible out of it. I have my exam on friday, after which i can relax for some time.
You guys, have a great week and know that I am away but please please call any time you want to speak.