Jasmine Patel with her grandmother Roshan Irani at Aulbless Bavg.
I’ve been working with an acupuncturist here in Pune who trained in India under the acupuncturist whom I’ll be working with in Bombay. He also trained in China for a couple of months in Beijing as well. He practices straight TCM, but at times mixes in a lot of ayurvedic medicine principles, sometimes prescribing ayurvedic medicine instead of Chinese herbs. So I am learning many new things from him, which is always fun! He lets me use his second treatment room to treat patients. I’ve gotten a following of patients now who are already saying they’ll be sad to see me leave and are telling me I should just live here. But don’t worry, you’ll all be dealing with me back in the US soon!
Christmas in India is not as commercial and the country isn’t all decorated and decked out like back in the US. The weather isn’t cold either, so it really doesn’t feel much like Christmas. My grandparents and their neighbors are planning a big tree trimming party and a Christmas dinner party, which should be a lot of fun. I’ll be making egg nog and spiced cider for the parties.
I just returned from a trip to Panchghani and Mahebleshwar. These places were breathtakingly beautiful. When my mum was little, my grandparents used to rent a cottage in Panchghani, which I visited. I sat on the steps and could just imagine my mum as a little girl running around there playing. I also did a lot of hiking and trekking there. There was a natural spring where people were stopping to fill up their water bottles. I have one of those bottles with a filter that will make filthy gutter water safe to drink, so I filled up and enjoyed the cool, spring water. I wasn’t brave enough to try it without the filter.
In Mahbleshwar they grow lots of berries and have some very well known jam-making factories. I really loved walking through the strawberry fields, and visiting the factory. I even got a VIP tour since I was visiting from America. There was a heavenly smell of berries all around the factory.
I’ve also been busy setting up some money-making ventures for my grandparents’ co-op in Pune. It’s a totally new complex, so the society is trying to figure out ways to earn money. They’re already doing the basics like recycling newspapers, bottles and cans to collect money. But as you know, that doesn’t make much money. Since the entire co-op is a Zoroastrian co-op, I suggested we contact one of the Zoroastrian bakeries about supplying products at a discount. They will supply the bread, milk, eggs and any other staples for the entire co-op with like a 50-cent discount per loaf, per dozen eggs, per liter of milk, etc. The products will then get sold to each person at regular price. So every 50 cents profit goes into the society fund. This arrangement will make a lot of money quickly, so they’re all very optimistic about it. It’s a win-win situation all around! I was really glad to be able to set this up and get it going for them.