Monday, January 10, 2011

Nana Waghchaure


Nana is everyone’s favorite rickshaw driver.  He is not only reliable, informative and speaks great English, but he offers assistance in so many ways.  He bargains for us with the shop keepers, takes us to the Xerox booth that has no line, makes sure that the promised 24 hour activation of the cell phone (EVERYONE has a cell phone here) does indeed happen even after 72 hours of waiting and makes sure we buy only the best quality saffron.

Bill Mosser discovered Nana when he arrived in Pune during his first visit to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.  As I remember it, Bill was deluged by rickshaw drivers trying to grab his luggage and offer him a ride.  Nana was in the background.  Bill chose Nana that day and he not only took the ride, but also befriended Nana.  Because of Bill, Nana’s life has changed exponentially.  Word of mouth has a powerful effect.  Nana is now the rickshaw driver of choice for many of the international students at the Iyengar Yoga Institute.  He is mostly punctual; he says that it is the cell phone that makes him a few minutes late.  On my trip with him yesterday, his phone rang four times within about 10 minutes!  Each time he pulls over to answer the call.  These calls are friends requesting his services.  He even asked specifically about his Portland yoga friends.......Terry, Barb and Care. 

Among Nana’s finest attributes is that he has a generous heart.  Upon my arrival in Pune, he came to where I was, transported my jet-lagged self and my luggage to the flat that I had rented sight unseen, and made sure I was settled in before he left.  The twinkle in his eye, his words of wisdom and his generous heart are what I love most about Nana.

Pune Practice tip for our Portland Iyengar Yoga students:

Level 1:
Pay attention to your simple, normal breath in all poses.  Move into the pose on the exhalation.

Level 2 and 3: 
First….move into the pose on the exhale.  Do all of your refinements on the exhale.  Then…. move into the pose during the pause after the exhale.  Do all of your refinements during the pause after the exhale.  What is the difference?


  1. It sounds like you're in good hands with Nana...and gosh, rickshaws don't look like I pictured them!

  2. The riskshaws used to be 2-cycle engines like lawnmowers here, often beat up and very polluting. Air pollution in India is incredibly bad, makes LA seem clear. In 2003 the Indian government started requiring conversion of buses, taxis & rickshaws to natural gas in 11 cities, including Pune. It looks like Nana has a new vehicle.

  3. Actually, Nana converted his two cycle to run on natural gas to comply with the new law. However the rickshaw (affectionately known as 3242, the registered number painted on the front) doesn't have as much power with the natural gas so he opted for going back to petrol. It's easy to convert the engine back and forth. Also, at this time there are only a few stations that sell the natural gas and the lines are very long (hours) to get the tank filled. As more rickshaws convert (mandatory when it becomes 14 years old) there will be increased availability.
    Also I can confirm I 'discovered' Nana, but others played a big role in helping Nana on his way. In particular Garth McLean and Christian from Colorado. Most importantly, Nana is a smart man and a good man, and he enjoys working, so he was easy to help.
    When I am in India he is my Ganesh - the remover of obstacles. I also refer to him as my guru. But that's another story.

  4. I would love to hear your "Nana as my guru" story, Bill.