“As a Yoga teacher, who beat a a chronic pulmonary condition with Yoga, teaching yoga to adults and children is a constant source of joy. I’m inspired when my students are immersed in the moment and come out of a class calmer, peaceful and feeling physically better. And joining my husband, Robin’s, start-up (Pondicherry Dry Goods) that offers pure, calming artisan teas, alternative to plastic tableware etc., seemed a natural extension of my wellness journey for myself and others.
When the pandemic hit, all best laid plans went awry. As we struggled like many others, it became apparent to me that the only way to go through this Pandemic was to face it and fight it as a community. But all we had to offer to our community was our time, our skills, our products. And so started our efforts in supporting our communities – donating our palm-leaf takeout containers & teas to the ER staff (Through “Dine11”), organizing Sunday Pandemic Lunches in our neighborhood, running supply drives for the homeless, book drives, teaching free yoga classes etc. When our friend Auntie Grace Lee, posted about AUNTIE SEWING SQUAD, their wonderful work and how they, were supporting communities and needed to be supported – through treats/food and other care, it immediately resonated with us.
ASS and us, we were both trying to help communities in this a pandemic.
In India (and in my faith-“Sikhism”), the concept of “Langar” (a kitchen for the community, to feed whoever needs it and keep communities together) is very strong. So here was a community of Aunties, who were selflessly working to protect people from COVID 19, and they needed to be supported through food – the “Langar”. And this started our bond with ASS .We started by cooking an Indian meal for the Aunties, met Auntie Gayle Isa and learnt more about Auntie care. Joining the group, I was introduced to an amazing, selfless, resourceful, innovative community that supported, cared for each other and had fun together. Since I don’t sew (though it is my goal to learn), all I can do for the amazing aunties is offer my yoga classes, share our delicious calming teas, some food and collect fabric (if I’m lucky). And the Aunties have given back many fold by sewing masks for the vulnerable communities we work to support – The Center, Hollywood, Project Room Key, Hollywood food Coalition etc. And also sending me care items! Thank you Aunties! Where the system has failed the people, you have stepped in to help – Navajo Nations, communities of color, border communities, so many more, helping protect many lives in this pandemic. I am humbled & inspired to do more – for you, with you.