MOSCOW: Misha, 24, was sitting near a metro station eating a cheese sandwich, his foot scooter at this side. Misha said he grew up in the mining town of Norilsk in the Arctic, where he first studied martial arts. He said he was initially inspired by Bruce Lee, whose movies Misha watched. However, Misha said martial arts were wearing his body down and he switched to yoga. He said he taught about 50 people, adding that yoga isn't very popular in Norilsk. Misha sold his apartment in Norilsk last year and moved temporarily to Moscow to take a one-year yoga course. He hopes to move next to India to continue his studies.
‘Siberia’ and ‘Yoga’ are two words that don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, so I just had to visit a yoga studio in the provincial town of Chita in Eastern Siberia. There, I met Anastasia, a mother of two girls.
Anastasia said she wasn’t happy with her physical appearance after the birth of her second child, having put on some 10 kilograms. So, at age 30, she signed up for Yoga classes.
She hadn’t regularly done a physical activity since gymnastics some two decades earlier and, at first, she was frustrated. ”Initially, I didn’t like it. I said, this is boring. Why am I doing it.”
Voldemare and Tanya were having a smoke outside their store in Rostov, where they sell clothing and accessories from India and southeast Asia. Voldemare said he got into the business accidentally....During a trip to Asia, he bought a bunch of goods and gave them away to friends when he returned home. Two and a half years later, he opened up the store. One of his customers was Tanya, who stopped in because she liked the bright colors. ''I bought something and we started to talk. We found a lot in common.'' A few weeks after I met them on the street, they flew to Southeast Asia...where they got married.
Aniket, 16, was standing near a metro in Moscow dressed in a colorful outfit. He said he was half Indian and half Russian. ''My dad came from a poor family in Rajistan. He was studying and working as a courier, when one day, a friend said to him 'Want a job in Russia?' It was right after the Soviet collapse and Aniket's dad took the opportunity, working about 10 years for a company in Moscow that sold Indian tea. Aniket said his dad met his Russian mom at that job. Now his dad runs his own business selling Indian tea and spices in Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada. Aniket, who plans on studying economics, said he may help run his dad's business when he finishes his university studies.
I remember how some friends in NYC changed their look and image rather substantially after one or two years after highschool...Anna, who grew up in a provincial Volga town, entered university as an architecture student in Sept 2013 with brown hair. By January 2014, she had black hair. By June, when I first past her at a bus stop, she was blonde with dreads and 'India-inspired' clothing. She said she was on her way to a weekend-long outdoor music festival and dreamed of visiting India. When I saw her again at end of 2014, she said she was taking time off from university, spending her days drawing India motifs and doing yoga.
I have bought chewing gum from him at his very small kiosk stand near a Moscow metro for the past 11 months, but only recently asked him about himself. He said his name is Habib and came to Russia more than a decade ago from Calcutta, India to study medicine... following the steps of one of his relatives, who studied medicine in Russia during Soviet times. Habib got his medical degree and would have returned to Calcutta he says .... had he not fallen in love with another med student from Russia. He says he works at a hospital in addition to working at the kiosk.