Sunday, March 15, 2009


Capitalizing on some of the best weather in India, Pune is home to many swimming pools. Tilak Tank, part of the Deccan Gymkhana recreational wonderland is just a few blocks down the street from our house so we've joined.
The pool was established sometime in the 1930s and was at that time just a huge hole in the ground, full of water. Today the complex includes an Olympic size lap pool, a smaller, shallower "beginners" pool and a "natural" pool fed by underground springs which is a lovely shade of green. Note the high wall immediately behind the water polo net. People jump off this wall. Often.

Everyone who joins the pool has to take a swimming test before being turned loose. If you fail you automatically are placed in "coaching". Ben isn't quite up to swimming a full 50m yet, so he's in coaching, which happens everyday, for an hour. There are 3 coaches and maybe 50 kids in coaching at any given time. A wide range of ages and ability levels but somehow everyone seems to be learning, or at the very least, not drowning. Its a far cry from the highly organized and intensively managed swimming lessons that Ben had back home, but he really seems to like his coach a lot and has made visible progress in the past week or so.

You'll note Caitlin's swim cap in the first picture. All females are required to wear them, as are males with longer hair. Women seem partial to extremely conservative swimming costumes - high neck tank suits with bike shorts underneath are popular, as are skirted numbers with the bike shorts. I bought myself a VERY conservative tank suit (swimsuit shopping in India - let your imagination soar!) but still haven't had the guts to wear it in public. A white lady's thighs may be more than the venerable institution of Tilak Tank can handle. Gotta find some bike shorts.

There are also regulations for men's attire, but I think I'll leave that for Chris to blog about...


Grandpa George said...

This reminds me of the pictures of swimsuit attire worn by my parents and other older relatives in the 1930s and 40s at Virginia Beach and Ocean View. Also, I remember how the cool jams-wearing set in the 1980s and afterward would look with wonder at European and Canadian men who wore Speedo-type suits at the beach.

Swimsuit styles and other cultural habits should look much different in India's not-too-distant future.

Hi to all. We're just back from seeing the Brooklyn contingent. It is quite a treat to watch Lucy walk and hear her learning to say "bye bye,,,,," Once she starts, she will continue for five minutes or so.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog from Sunflower Hill Farm. While originally from the SW of WI, we now live in Maine. I am VERY interested in your journey to India, but especially the aspect of traveling with kids. My husband and I have been to India a few times sans children and he hesitates to take our 11 year old daughter. I'll peruse the blog further but would love to pick your brains a bit on the subject. I don't see an email address but if you have a moment to contact me at I would be delighted!


katie said...

Glad to see the kids are hitting the pool across the world! Has Caitlin had the chance to play Swizzle Cheese in India yet? :)